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Developers Wary of Live Service Sustainability Per Recent Industry Survey

Sam Plaisance Posted:
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A recent survey showcases how developers really feed about the sustainability factor for larger live-service games. 

The live service business model is nothing new within the gaming industry, as games like World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV are some of the most successful MMORPGs within the genre that run with this subscription based service. In a recently published survey on Game Developer, most game devs are a bit wary of the live-service model becoming more and more popular as a whole, and are concerned that the future is really secure with more paid DLCs than a sub to pay monthly. 

The Game Developer Collective is a group of over 600 individual game developers that was initially formed by Gave Developer, GDC and Omdia. The devs within the group were given a survey about live service models during the months of February and March of this year, where 39% of the developers were “Somewhat Concerned over the sustainability for the live-service model being utilized. Whereas 31% of devs were “Very Concerned” about the model, with the main concern overall being players losing interest in the live-service games altogether. 

Live Service graph

Via Game Developer

Another concern of course was the competition from other live-service games within the space, rising user acquisition costs, rising development costs, competition from other forms of entertainment, and loss of investor interest. 

With the massive amount of negative feedback from game developers on the panel, it seems there may be a light on the other side of the tunnel as the original model of using paid DLCs to generate profit and keep players engaged is once again on the ride. According to the survey, 30% of the participants said that for their next game they were looking more into the paid DLC side of things. 

So why do all of these numbers and percentages matter? The future of the gaming industry can be affected by live service games, simply by players possibly losing interest more rapidly with that model compared to paid DLCs. This could mean less player base in general as they find other games to enjoy, or other content to indulge in. Though the future of monetization is still unclear, we will simply have to wait and see what developers follow through with live service, and who doesn’t.


Sam Plaisance