Live service games have become extremely popular in recent times. So much so that many big gaming companies, from Electronic Arts to Epic Games, are betting heavily on this genre.
If you’re unsure what live service games are, though, fear not! Here’s everything you need to know.
What Are Live Service Games?
A live service game is a type of video game that’s designed to keep people engaged, so they play it for as long as possible. That means that instead of making one game and moving on to the next, companies create a game they can update for years to come.
How do they do that? It’s pretty straightforward. Game companies just keep adding content to keep current players “hooked” and entice other players to pick up the game.
You might hear people refer to these as live service games, but they’re also known as games as a service or GaaS for short.
Even before there was a name for them, live service games have been around for a while. Some of the older live service games took the world by storm in the early 2000s. A few great examples are World of Warcraft, Team Fortress 2, and League of Legends.
But it wasn’t until games like PUBG and Fortnite that the live service genre grew to another level.
How Do Live Service Games Work?
Live service games will usually release new types of content in the form of skins, weapons, and maps on a seasonal basis.
The most popular games have different themes for each season. It’s also common to see developers give all players some free content and extra content for those who decide to buy the game’s season pass.
Of course, that’s not always the case. Other games offer their content via an expansion pack that also brings different skins or weapons.
What Makes a Live Service Game Different?
Regular single-player games often release extra content after their launch. But this doesn’t mean they count as live service games. Although they may seem similar, these types of games have a few differences.
First, single-player games often get additional content in the form of downloadable content (DLC). This content can be big or small, but the end goal isn’t to keep gamers playing for an unlimited amount of time. It’s usually just meant to provide extra content for people who are willing to buy it.
Also, a live service game is more of an online multiplayer experience in which you can play with or against friends or strangers.
Another feature of live service games is that they’re usually free-to-play, unlike most single-player games. Some games like Fortnite or Apex Legends make money with in-game microtransactions.
The Good and the Bad Side of Live Service Games
Live service games offer people the chance to play with friends and family at a low cost or for free, which is awesome for gamers on a budget.
Some live service games also offer cross-platform play. You can play them on many platforms, including mobile devices, even against players using different consoles. This makes them more accessible for casual and hardcore gamers worldwide.
However, it’s not all good news. The downside of free-to-play gaming is that companies rely on microtransactions and in-game purchases. Players regularly complain that some games give an unfair advantage to those who spend money. They buy access to better weapons or characters that free-to-play players will take longer to obtain.
The Future of Live Service Games
Live service games are big right now, thanks to the massive popularity of great games like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and League of Legends. Gamers are increasingly interested in multiplayer games that are affordable and addictive.
Also, big game companies like Sony are constantly working on new live service games because of their huge popularity. One thing’s for sure: live service games are here to stay.
Live Service Games for the Win!
Like any other game genre, live service games offer many advantages and disadvantages for the gaming community. But regardless of what you think about these types of games, we can all agree that they can be pretty darn fun to play.
The great news is that the gaming world is big enough for all kinds of genres. You can still find awesome online games to play with your family and friends for free.
Need free online games to play with friends? Here are the best two-player online multiplayer games you can play in your browser.
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