A lot of AAA Game Studios are pushing for the ‘Games as a Service’ model. But a lot of people are confused as to what games as a service is and if it’s good news for the consumer.
With this model, games will be released much less frequently but with purchasable content slowly added to extend the lifespan of the game.
The idea of games as a service isn’t a new one. MMORPGs have done this for the longest time, with the World of Warcraft coming out as far back as 2004. And while developer Blizzard stopped giving subscription numbers around a year ago, even then, over ten years in, the numbers were still in the millions. The difference, then, is that WoW is a paid service, while the other titles that are going down the ‘service’ route are one-time purchases, offering content at a later date to keep you playing. One upfront cost, no subscription: how can that not be appealing? Knowing your beloved game is going to stay current and culturally relevant? That’s a big deal, and once word of mouth gets out about how well supported a game is, half the work is done and you’re going to want to get in on the action.
Ubisoft’s strategy for the past two to three years has been simple: Release fewer games, but stick with them longer, hooking players for months if not years after launch. From Ghost Recon Wildlands to Assassin’s Creed Origins, Ubisoft’s whole lineup is full of these service games, designed to be supported with a regular stream of updates and downloadable content.