Games as a Service is a problem. While some of the most popular games of today are in this category of gaming model it has created a toxic business practice at the expense of creativity and competition. Some of these companies make billions of dollars from these types of models.
We can see the effects on the caliber of games that we see nowadays. Most multiplayer FPS games fail to introduce many new ideas and instead produce much of the regurgitated ideas we see across different games. Games as a Service may be a huge contributing factor to that lack of creativity. Why take a risk on something new when the old model is still making you money?
What is ‘Games as a Service’?
Traditional games are typically a single ship release, based on a pay-to-play business model, then add DLC maybe once every couple month. As the Games as a Service definition suggests, the video games are “served” to the players rather than sold once. Essentially, a game as a service is published once and updated afterward regularly, as a subscription based model.
This type of business model is toxic to the players and beneficial to the companies and their shareholders. It allows companies to basically take no financial responsibility for their game and just release content as they see fit and make you pay what they think is fair. Its what some companies want the video game world to turn into. Where companies run the game and you buy as you go. Forever keeping you emptying your pockets.
Why has this become the new norm?
Lets think about it. Since the Battle Royale scene, the GaaS have introduced a HUGE number of copycat games and poor business models into the industry. Not naming any names because some of them are lots of fun, but we all know the games we’re talking about here. From there we have seen a huge shift in quality of games being produced. And not in a good way. Many of the games have become stale and predictable.
Well, it comes down to particular taste really. And there are many games that do some form of this business model. However, the gaming community itself is very clear on who the bad developers/publishers are. Here’s some of the biggest culprits:
- Amazon Games (New World)
- Activision (Call of Duty/Blizzard)
- Electronic Arts (Battlefield 2042)
- Ubisoft (Rainbow Six Siege)
And the list goes on… and on… and on…
But let’s break down these games and developers who have implemented Games as a Service business models.
Amazon Games: New World
New World was the most anticipated MMO to be released in the past 10 years. While it had nearly a million people following it, it crashed and burned hard. Their player count started at over 900,000 players to just over 21,000 as of last month according to Steam Charts. A new MMO with tons of potential. But content doesn’t seem to be grabbing players.
Activision: Call of Duty and World of Warcraft
Everyone knows by now that Activision is a crappy company to boot, but that still doesn’t blindside us for what it’s got up its sleeve. Call of Duty was initially textbook definition of a GaaS. That quickly turned into greed when they started releasing less and less then eventually Battle Passes and free updates that nobody asked for.
Activision is also parent to one of the most successful GaaS company’s of all time, Blizzard. Blizzard owns the world renown game World of Warcraft which is another, probably the poster child of GaaS games.
Like Activision, EA has also gone to the free updates with MTX inside and it’s not pretty. Battlefield 2042 is a prime example of this problem, and it hasn’t really done much to help the topic. Battlefield took a huge hit with the release of 2042. While many had high hopes for the game, the initial release of the game was a train wreck with very little content to excite a thirsty base. Battlefield sits at just under 15,000 players, up from a low of nearly 4,500 players back in April of this year.
Ubisoft: Rainbow Six Siege
Rainbow Six Siege was supposed to be the premiere Rainbow Six after Vegas 2 and in replacement of the canceled Rainbow Six Patriots. Ubisoft eventually settled for a CSGO-style game which we have now as R6 Siege. Some people like it, others don’t. But it was a solid foray into a fresh but familiar game style.
Ubisoft originally changed their business model for the game during Operation Health which was an entire operation slot of maintenance and game rebuilding. After OpHealth, the game was not the same under any pretense.
Once OpHealth finished and the game went on, Ubisoft loaded the game with microtransactions and Battle Passes/Season Passes despite the game being in it’s prime and continuously making sales daily.
We understand that there’s many games that fall under this. From battle passes to simply paid DLC,
Paid DLC is perfectly okay! People do not mind this so it seems. Though people do not seem to like where the whole Games as a Service system is going with micro-transactions and battle passes when the game becomes stale with no catchy content. We’d love to see a classic gaming model where we bought the game on release night and the game was enough. But we really have grown sick of the lack of creativity coming from developers. And maybe these business practices are partly to blame.
We will see if game developers start changing their tactics. But this only goes on as long as we allow it. This year will be the big year we see where they go due to the price increase of AAA Games from $59.99 to $69.99. More on that later.