It feels like the term ‘live service’ is more divisive than ever. With Sony seemingly jumping on the bandwagon in search of its own money-printing machine — with titles like Fairgame$ — the live service model is under constant scrutiny here on the web. And when one of these games goes under, boy do you hear about it. Achieving a hit on the level of something like Fortnite or Genshin Impact is incredibly difficult — but there’s also no doubt that when a live service game truly succeeds, it sends shockwaves through the whole industry.
More often than not, though, live service excursions can struggle, whether it’s right out of the gate or later down the line. Diablo 4 is a recent example; a game that, while certainly enjoyable throughout its core campaign, has been bombarded with criticism post-launch. Some would argue that it simply released in an unfinished state — without a clear and enticing end goal for players to pursue. And so we wonder, is a live service model becoming something of an excuse for a game to release in an unfinished state?
It feels like it’s an increasingly common sight. An anticipated game releases in a questionable state, but developers quickly promise that things will get better via incoming patches and seasonal updates. And in some cases, that cycle never seems to end. Destiny 2 springs to mind — a game that’s not necessarily unfinished, but is entrenched in this unending tug of war between what its fans want and what they’re being given.
We suppose you could say that’s the point of a live service model; the game’s never supposed to be finished. Well, until the servers are eventually shut off and you can’t play it anymore. But you get what we mean.
It’s an interesting topic, isn’t it? And so, we want to hear your opinion on live service gaming. Is the model really being used to cover up unfinished games? Is that a bad thing, if they’re being updated anyway? Have your say in our poll, and then explain your stance in the comments section below.