Live service games have become extremely popular in recent times. Not only this, many big gaming companies from Electronic Arts to Epic Games are betting fiercely on this genre.
If you’re unsure what live service games are all about, fear not! Here’s everything you need to know.
What are Live Service Games?
A live service game is a type of video game designed to keep people engaged, so they play it for as long as possible. This means that instead of making one game and moving on to the next, companies make a game they can update for years to come.
How do they do that? It’s fairly straightforward. Game companies just keep adding content to keep existing players “connected” and entice other players to pick up the game.
You may have heard people refer to these as live service games, but they are also known as games or as GaaS for short.
Live service games have been around for a while, even before there was a name for them. In the early 2000s some old live service games devastated the world. Some great examples are World of Warcraft, Team Fortress 2 and League of Legends.
But it wasn’t until games like PUBG and Fortnite that the live service genre rose to another level.
How do live service games work?
Live service games will usually release new types of content in the form of skins, weapons and maps on a seasonal basis.
The most popular games have different themes for each season. It’s also common to see developers give away some free content to all players and additional content for those who decide to purchase the game’s season pass.
Of course, that isn’t always the case. Other games offer their content through an expansion pack that also brings various skins or weapons.
What makes a live service game different?
Regular single-player games often release additional content after launch. But that doesn’t mean they count as live service games. Although they may sound similar, there are some differences between these types of games.
First, single-player games often receive additional content in the form of downloadable content (DLC). This content can be big or small, but the end goal is not to keep gamers playing for an unlimited amount of time. This is usually only to provide additional content for those who are willing to purchase it.
Furthermore, a live service game is more than just an online multiplayer experience in which you can play with or against friends or strangers.
Another feature of live service games is that they are usually free-to-play, unlike most single-player games. Some games like Fortnite or Apex Legends make money with in-game microtransactions.
The pros and cons of live service games
Live service games give people the opportunity to play with friends and family at low cost or for free, which is great for gamers on a budget.
Some live service games also offer cross-platform play. You can play them on multiple platforms including mobile devices, even against players using different consoles. This makes them more accessible to casual and hardcore gamers around the world.
However, it is not all good news. The downside of free-to-play gaming is that companies rely on microtransactions and in-game purchases. Players regularly complain that some games give an unfair advantage to those who spend money. They buy access to better weapons or characters that free-to-play players will take longer to acquire.
The future of live service games
Due to the massive popularity of great games like Fortnite, Apex Legends and League of Legends, live service games are big right now. Gamers are increasingly interested in multiplayer games that are affordable and addictive.
Also, big game companies like Sony are constantly working on new live service games due to their huge popularity. One thing’s for sure: Live service games are here to stay.
Live service games for the win!
Like any other game genre, live service games offer many advantages and disadvantages to the gaming community. But regardless of what you think about these types of games, we can all agree that they can be a lot of fun to play.
The good news is that the gaming world is big enough for all kinds of genres. You can still find great online games to play with your family and friends for free.