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Study finds 70% of developers are concerned about sustainability of live-service games

Study finds 70% of developers are concerned about sustainability of live-service games

70% of developers are worried about the video game industry's drift towards live-service products.

You’d think that with the video game industry being as popular and as financially lucrative as it is today, it would provide a high level of sustainability but sadly that is not always the case.

We understand that a business exists to make money otherwise it would cease to exist. So when a video game company announces mass profits, it should be good news for the entire video game industry, right?

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Yet, whenever we see video game publishers sharing news of big profits, it’s instantly met with a feeling of dread. It seems that when a publisher announces record profits, it’s a perfect excuse to sack staff from the workforce so that new record profits can be announced the following year.

The finger of blame could be pointed in any number of directions but perhaps one contributing factor to the continuation of mass layoffs (other than executives and shareholders not content with making all the money in the world) is trend-chasing.

Trend chasing can come in a variety of forms but when talking about the video game industry, it could be to get a slice of another company's pie such as the success of free-to-play battle royales Fortnite and Call of Duty: Warzone. Yet, just because a company attempts to copy another’s formula doesn't guarantee success.

In particular, the loop of live-service games that the likes of Fortnite publisher Epic Games implement so well to maintain player engagement that hopes to encourage spending on the latest new skin has other publishers such as Warner Bros. Games with the recent Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League looking on in envy.

We’ve seen it way too many times over the years, a new game comes along attempting to make loads of that live-service money to ultimately fail miserably which can in turn, result in the saddening news of further mass layoffs.

With that in mind, as reported by Eurogamer (via Game Developer Collective), a recent study has revealed that 70% of developers are concerned about the sustainability of live-service games. The survey was conducted with 600 developers who were interviewed between February and March this year.

The survey revealed that 39% of the developers interviewed had “mild worries” about the current live-service business model while another 31% were “very concerned”. Developers are worried about maintaining player engagement for the long term as well as rising acquisition costs.

Furthermore, the survey revealed that 30% of developers are exploring the prospect of creating new DLC for upcoming games and there is an added emphasis on releasing video games digitally instead of physically, which will surprise no one.

Whatever the future may have planned for the video game industry, we just hope for more great games and job security for those that bring us such joy.

Featured Image Credit: Epic Games, Warner Bros. Games

Topics: Free Games, Indie Games, News, Nintendo, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox, Xbox One, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X