Developers Worries Live-Service Models Aren’t As Sustainable As They Seem

New survey reveals significant developer worries about the sustainability of live-service game models.
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Image: Activision

A recent survey by the Game Developer Collective (GDC) has revealed concerns among video game developers about the sustainability of live-service game models. The survey, which involved 600 developers between February and March 2024, found a sense of unease about the long-term viability of this monetization strategy.

As reported by Game Developer, Live-service games, known for receiving lots of updates and allowing in-app purchases, have become very important in the industry. However, developers are becoming more doubtful. According to the GDC survey, 39% of developers had some worries about the current live-service model, while 31% had significant concerns. Only 29% said they were either unsure or had no fears. That’s a lot less than complete support for the unifying idea that a previous survey showed (where 90% of studios planned on live service)

Interestingly, even though many game developers are using live-service models, only 35% of the 600 developers surveyed by the GDC described their most recent release as a live-service game. Additionally, only 10% of those who are not using the model expect to transition to it for their studios.

The survey revealed mixed sentiments among developers regarding the impact of live-service games on the gaming industry. Many developers expressed concerns about sustainability, with a majority fearing potential player disinterest and the risk of players being attracted to competing games. Additionally, a significant portion acknowledged the challenges associated with maintaining long-term player engagement.

The worries are reasonable. In 2023, many live-service games shut down, leading to the closure of studios. Even popular titles like Destiny 2 seem to be facing uncertainty.

There appears to be more interest in paid DLC in response to current challenges with live-service models. According to a recent Griffin survey, 30% of participants are open to this option for upcoming games, marking a significant 9% rise compared to their latest offerings. Moreover, 76% are inclined towards a one-time payment model for their next game, while 22% are even contemplating a physical release.

The future of game monetization is unclear, as developers don’t seem to agree on alternatives to live-service models. However, since there are no other alternatives, this is still the path.

Jorge A. Aguilar

Jorge A. Aguilar

Jorge A. Aguilar, also known as Aggy, is the current Assigning Editor.

He started his career as an esports, influencer, and streaming writer for Sportskeeda. He then moved to GFinity Esports to cover streaming, games, guides, and news before moving to the Social team where he ended his time as the Lead of Social Content.

He also worked a writer and editor for both Pro Game Guides and Dot Esports, and as a writer for PC Invasion, Attack of the Fanboy, and Android Police. Aggy is the former Managing Editor and Operations Overseer of N4G Unlocked and a former Gaming editor for WePC.

Throughout his time in the industry, he's trained over 100 writers, written thousands of articles on multiple sites, written more reviews than he cares to count, and edited tens of thousands of articles. He has also written some games published by Tales, some books, and a comic sold to Telus International.


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