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Can live service games be saved?

 These three words are the phrase of doom in our gaming cycle “Live Service Game”. Every time a game mentions this a wave of groans can be heard across the land. Combine it with the dreadful “Early Access” and you’ll have a bad time. Live service has been around for a long time, but it has been mutated and turned into the worst part of gaming, I think the tide is about to change.

Initially, Live Service was how MMORPGs kept connected for PC gaming. The internet allowed gamers developers a chance to fine-tune the game and add features and weapons & quests. Meanwhile, if you had a console whatever issues the game had been staying there and not going anywhere. They came to re-release the game with all the errors fixed.
If you are from the golden era of the FGC (Fighting Game Community) you remember all the variations of street fighters. But if it were online all modifications would have been an update away. For a time, it was good. Xbox was the first console that had a game patched up (updated) via the internet. Not too long after a new concept entered the console wars DLC or downloadable content.

As tech evolved and massive amounts of data can be transferred, we now have Early Access games. Early access games were playable versions of the game that wasn't complete yet. The purpose was to get feedback from gamers on what works and what doesn't. For a time, those games were not expensive since you purchased them early. You would also be rewarded with some great in-game items. But that’s not the case anymore. Now we have games that are early access live service games that are woefully incomplete and demand an upfront high price to pay. Games that once upon a time had a lot to do with them or had a lot of looks in them are locked behind a paywall. I’m not talking DLC either. Games that are requesting money for content that is ALREADY in the GAME!!!
Then you have these one-player games that are live service that is just giving them a reason to release an unfinished game because they can fix it later.

Cyberpunk is the biggest culprit so far. But there is a good side to Live Service. Devs only want a chance to show what they can do. The suits just want money and don’t care about the outcome of a game. Let's look at cyberpunk the suits and the Devs were like oil and vinegar. The devs said the game wasn't ready the suits didn’t care. Now after that debacle, the devs could have cut their losses and moved on. Instead, they hunkered down and after a year of updates Cyberpunk 2077 is one of the best games of the generation. Sure, the updates have stopped on Xbox one and PS4 but if you are in the generation, you are having a great time and DLC is coming.

Then you have a game like Final Fantasy 14 was a catastrophic failure. There was nothing good to say about the game across the board. A new game director stepped in, and they completely redid the game. They called it a realm reborn. It's now a fan favorite that still has a few million people playing it today. If they didn't have access like this, I think the game would have ruined the company.

I’m just saying, not all live service is bad. Fortnite sad to say is an excellent live service game. There some much you can do without spending money. What you pay for only affects the look of the game, not the gameplay. The game Grounded had early access which has been innovative and fun. Now that the game is officially out the developers have been changing things for the better. When live service becomes a pay-to-win scenario you open yourself up to a whole new can of worms look at Star Wars Battlefront which was gambling in which a few states and countries filed lawsuits.

There's some middle ground when it comes to live service gaming. I think the industry is starting to catch on. If you need to delay your game because you don't want it to be an empty world like Fallout 76. Let the developers work on it before launch not after telling your investors to sit on their hands and stop meddling with the artists. If you put a paywall behind something that is already in the game, you're an asshole and you tarnish the goodwill of the game and you disrespect the fans who eventually will stop spending money with you. Live service games at the end of the day are not going anywhere but there is serious room for improvement. These companies are going to feel the pinch when we're not paying 60-70 dollars for games that are incomplete or have to be connected to the internet for a one-player game. Would you buy a movie that was 65% complete, how about a car with ¾ tires, or a pizza pie with 2 slices missing? Why should we get that from our video games?


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