Live-service games aren’t a new invention. In fact, they have been around for years. It was only recently that the concept became popular and more manageable. If you were to look back into the earlier years of the decade, it would be difficult to find a live-service game. Nowadays, one simply needs to look at a game shelf or an online store to see multiple games with promises of long-winded life spans. The game is changing, and players are the ones who will be there to help guide it to a better tomorrow.
What Is A Live-Service Game?
Simply put, live-service games are a service that a development company creates to attract players and keep them interested. When a development company decides to take that leap of sticking with their creation for years and years, that is when the game becomes a live-service. Making a successful live-service game requires content, updates, and a player base that is willing to stick around. These games don’t just stay in place, they evolve over time. Sometimes these games end up being vastly different than what they were when they started.
Fortnite is a great example of this concept. It was created by Epic Games back in 2017. This free-to-play game became more than anyone thought it would. It became a community. It became the foundation of how a live-service game should engage its fans. Multiple attempts have been made to replicate the success of Fortnite, but none have truly succeeded in the way that Fortnite has.
Warframe is another free-to-play game that has been kept alive by fan engagement for years. The world is constantly evolving to the point that it is unrecognizable for players who have been there since the beginning. Open-world areas have been introduced, trading has been increased, and the game has been in the top 15 live-service games for the past six years. These games thrive on long-term fan engagement to keep them functioning. They also rely on in-game purchases to keep them profiting which allows them to make changes.
What A Live-Service Game Has
Live-service games can be anything. They can be a first-person shooter, RPG, or even a top-down dungeon-crawler. There is no limit to what they can be, but they do share a few features. The most common feature is a kind of loot grind. This can take shape in various forms like player skins, weapons, weapons skins, etc. This type of grind is set up to help keep players interested in collecting everything they can. Some games even set time limits to it so players feel more hard-pressed to collect everything before it disappears forever. This feature is what helps microtransactions take form. Players buy currency to get the items before they miss out on it. It is FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out) at its best.
Other common features in these games can be microtransactions, continuous updates, in-game events, etc. These other mechanics help make the game more interesting but also allow players to progress quicker at certain times. Continuous updates keep making the game feel fresh and new like the day it was first purchased. Despite the heavy criticism it received, Destiny is a good example of how these mechanics are used. There is at least one update each year that brings new items into the game, new missions, and more stories. Just when the game dries out, players are hit with a new update that keeps them playing. Destiny also utilizes in-game events and loot grinding to keep players coming back. To get that legendary assault rifle, all you need to do is complete this event and hope that it drops.
How Players Have Helped Live-Service Games Change
Fan feedback is always important. It is so important that many companies change their entire games based on what fans have to say about it. One of the most notorious live-service games is Battlefront 2. The launch of the game was so bad, combined with a terrible progression system and loot boxes, that fans were boycotting EA. Players immediately realized that EA’s multiplayer system was essentially rigged to make players pay to unlock anything. This led to massive public outcry. If you hop on Battlefield 2 now, it is almost nothing like it was before with a completely revamped multiplayer that doesn’t have the same lackluster grinds and pay-to-win aspect.
Destiny was also helped by the aid of fans everywhere who hated the voice acting portrayed by Peter Dinklage. Bungie realized their mistake thanks to fans that made countless videos, memes, and parodies of the horrible acting and replaced Dinklage with Nolan North. This brought more character to the game and helped players feel more immersed in the experience. These aren’t the only games. Games like No Man’s Sky have been completely reworked to the point that they don’t even resemble the original game. Even Anthem is on board and is currently on the road to being fixed after its poor launch, lack of loot, and bad level design.
How Players Can Continue To Help
If it wasn’t obvious by this point, fan feedback can make a huge difference in the world of gaming. Not every company is crazy about bowing down to their fans, but most are. Players have the power to fix games even if they aren’t the ones behind creating them. The most important thing any player can do to help their favorite games become better is to provide honest and constructive feedback. Big companies have already taken to social media to listen to fans. Some companies have released polls for fans to vote on upcoming features. Some have even had interviews with fans to get feedback.
Thanks to the internet, players have easy access to talk about their favorite and least favorite aspects of the live-service games that are being pushed out. These games have evolved and there is no better example of this than Fortnite. Epic Games has done some amazing in-game events for players who love the game. Epic Games has worked to change the map and keep things fresh over the years with little to no complaint. Destiny has become better because of its fans. Anthem might be on the road to success. All of this is possible because of the voices of the fans. Your voice. Remember that we all have the power to help guide games in the direction that they should be going. Use your voice and never forget that.