Most Devs are Concerned About the Live Service Model’s Sustainability

Game Developer surveyed 600 developers about the live service model, and the results are worrisome for them, but perhaps optimistic for us.


Game Developer conducted its survey in February and March, asking about business models and monetization in games. It also asked how concerned they were about the live service business model, which is now very common. 4% did not know. 25% were not concerned. 39% are somewhat concerned and 31% are explicitly concerned that it is an unsustainable business model. Over two-thirds of respondents are concerned about the long-term sustainability of the live service business model!

Live service games tend to be titles that often receive content updates after launch, such as season-long battle passes, to keep players engaged longer in the hope that they will be willing to reach into their wallets or debit/credit cards beyond the price of the game to spend more through microtransactions or subscriptions. One such example is Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League from Warner and Rocksteady, which launched over two months ago.

Of those who are somewhat or very concerned about sustainability, two-thirds say they are worried that players will lose interest in live service games or that other games using a similar model will affect their own product (i.e. they fear competition, although it should be noted that we have limited time and money, so we can’t keep them all alive…). The cost of acquiring users is also a concern for developers, as is the cost of development.

Speaking of Warner, Warner Bros. Discovery recently said that it intends to put much more emphasis on free-to-play and live service games, using its four main IPs (Mortal Kombat, Game of Thrones, the DC Comic Universe and Harry Potter) to do so…

Source: VGC, Game Developer

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