Over the past five years, more and more video games have jumped on the Game as a Service (GaaS) bandwagon. But that wagon can only hold so much weight.
GaaS is the latest business model to wring as much revenue from a video game as possible. Essentially, it involves crafting mechanisms within games to keep people playing and paying for as long as possible, thus extending the game’s lifespan into something more closely resembling a service. The model holds that the longer a player sticks with the game, the more money they will conceivably spend. Think World of Warcraft, Fortnite, Destiny, Overwatch, Madden and Candy Crush.
GaaS do this through a variety of different, purchasable components like DLC, season passes, microtransactions, loot boxes and subscriptions. Many big new games now have some variation of these components, either cosmetic or gameplay-affecting.
For now, GaaS seems to be really paying off, hence the reason why so many publishers and developers are incorporating it into their games. However, this particular model seems to have a definite saturation point; if every game wants to maximize the player’s time, and there are only so many players, then only a certain number of games will succeed and recoup investments.
2019 is shaping up to be an extremely interesting year for the video game industry. Not in the slightest because there are a number of GaaS coming out that must contend and wrestle away players from the high number of existing GaaS. Judging by the limited nature of the business model, will 2019 be the year that the bubble bursts?