Square Enix: Players Don't Like "Games as a Service"

Square Enix: Players Don't Like "Games as a Service"

Final Fantasy XIV screen

Square Enix has become more focused since its overhaul of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.

The "games as a service" model is gaining popularity within the industry in which some games are free to play but require microtransactions to gain access to content further on and require an internet connection. Players often don't want to hear about a game being a service rather than a product. Square Enix recently released Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, an MMORPG in which, like other MMORPGs, the player must be connected to the internet and pay to play the online game. Phil Rogers, Square Enix's CEO of US and Europe, wants to set apart what "games as a service" is to Square Enix.

"There's lots of talk in the industry about games becoming services - to be honest as an expression this doesn't always resonate with people, especially gamers," Rogers said. "For us, online is a way to facilitate how we're looking at the word service to build on a game. So we're focusing on regular content updates, engaging gameplay mechanics, replayability, and deep community."

The online business is what united Square Enix because the whole company was working on a single product, Rogers said. The company plans to continue working on the online business, prioritizing online play and components in well-established franchises and new projects.

"We know that an MMO is all about the content and FFXIV is no exception," Rogers said, "and we have a robust content update plan in place to ensure we are offering huge updates on a regular basis, with the first scheduled for this December."

While some games launch and quiet down once most people have finished playing, some games in the service model have active engagement for years. Rogers points to Avalanche's 2010 gameJust Cause 2, which half a million active users still play.

"That's a lot of people still engaged in the game," Rogers said. "So it's incredible to look at facts like that and to challenge our teams building new games to think about long-term engagement."

Source: GamesIndustry International

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Translation: "Games as a service" has become associated with things that people hate about F2P games, so what we're doing is semantically different because reasons.

None of them being good reasons, mind you, and it's a fair argument that games that require monthly fees are even more "games as service" since you're constantly paying for them than many F2P games are.

I am very much in the belief that most of the people working on the FFXIV development team are some of the last SANE people left at Square Enix. The game has a healthy chunk of content at the moment but definitely needs some major aesthetic tweaks. You can't change Quest priority, name changing isn't available yet, there's a small portion of PvP content and the Duty system seriously needs some overhauling, as it has a 'huge' problem right now with people exploiting a certain Trial by selling runs where those hired will agree to not DELIBERATELY sabotage the trial right as its about to be completed.

The good is significantly outweighing the bad when it comes to ARR though. It just bummers that it's a work in progress and it means we have to wait until they have the content finished.

I can't believe I'm going to say this especially since I actually do believe that the hobby of games at least on the consumer end should be more focused on ownership but....

I'd honestly say people are more used to in western society that what they access to be a service based practice rather than an ownership based practice.

I mean from a business perspective pretty much any MMO and a good deal of F2P games are based on service and not ownership. This is why you can't trade content, sell content and doing so would get you banned. You are essentially paying for access for the experience and if you stop paying then you can't access that experience anymore(in F2P games certain parts of access may not be available).

Even the online realm has become service based and plagued with ads. Even Twitch is now a service based business. You want to stop seeing ads or support the streamer? Gotta pay those monthly subscription fees.

Why is this good? Well it all comes down to money, or more importantly a consistent cash flow which is the wet dream of any business. I mean there was one time where blizzard alone was producing more than 50% of the Activision-Blizzard's revenue from WOW alone. Meaning if WOW wasn't around you'd see Activision-Blizzard go the way of THQ. You are allowed to have so much risk with your other products because WOW was there and it was a service.

I haven't even touched STEAM or any of the other online retailers which in of themselves are service based as well. That is why I still look for DRM free game versions when I can and burn them to disc.

In the end though what I would like is for the majority of games to recognize the ownership of the game to be that of the owner again and not just a service where the game then becomes a brick.

EDIT: Seems like I had a case of the herp and derp this morning. To clarify, I do use Steam but only if the game is exclusive of I cannot find another place that offers the game to be DRM free. Or the best of both worlds where I buy from the dev directly and get a steam key from them AND a DRM free copy.

The GabeN and Steam/Steams users would beg to differ

Square Enix: Gamers will like what we effing tell them to like. Lightning in effing everything! iOS Microtransactionfests for everyone! Localize NOTHING!

AstaresPanda:
The GabeN and Steam/Steams users would beg to differ

Ya steam is a service, that provides me with games in exchange for money. They think a game is a service and I should provide them with money. Kinda a big difference there.

I prefer games to be a service, rather than a product which I have to buy again to get the latest patch (See Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Director's Cut for clarification).

Truthfully, either a product or a service will be fine as long as the publisher/developer can commit to one, and not change their mind when it's inconvenient for them. For example: a service means that the game should always work as long as there are no problems on the user's side, and every issue in it must be patched and a product means that the user should be able to resell the game.

Tenmar:
I can't believe I'm going to say this especially since I actually do believe that the hobby of games at least on the consumer end should be more focused on ownership but....

I'd honestly say people are more used to in western society that what they access to be a service based practice rather than an ownership based practice.

I mean from a business perspective pretty much any MMO and a good deal of F2P games are based on service and not ownership. This is why you can't trade content, sell content and doing so would get you banned. You are essentially paying for access for the experience and if you stop paying then you can't access that experience anymore(in F2P games certain parts of access may not be available).

Even the online realm has become service based and plagued with ads. Even Twitch is now a service based business. You want to stop seeing ads or support the streamer? Gotta pay those monthly subscription fees.

Why is this good? Well it all comes down to money, or more importantly a consistent cash flow which is the wet dream of any business. I mean there was one time where blizzard alone was producing more than 50% of the Activision-Blizzard's revenue from WOW alone. Meaning if WOW wasn't around you'd see Activision-Blizzard go the way of THQ. You are allowed to have so much risk with your other products because WOW was there and it was a service.

I haven't even touched STEAM or any of the other online retailers which in of themselves are service based as well. That is why I still look for DRM free game versions when I can and burn them to disc.

In the end though what I would like is for the majority of games to recognize the ownership of the game to be that of the owner again and not just a service where the game then becomes a brick.

sad thing is, Activision never takes risk's with the money they make T-T...

"Games as a service" and "free-to-play/pay-to-play" do not necessarily go hand-in-hand.

In fact one could argue that any game, purchased as a premium one-time item, that receives relatively constant[1] updates and new content is the very definition of a "game as a service". Especially if that game is an online, multi-player title.

This notion that "games as a service" equates to "free to play", which in turn automatically gives the "games as a service" a bad rep, is as annoying as it is ridiculous.

[1] But not necessarily consistent. <.<

McMarbles:
Square Enix: Gamers will like what we effing tell them to like. Lightning in effing everything! iOS Microtransactionfests for everyone! Localize NOTHING!

And let's keep the PSP version Of Persona 2: Enternal Punishment to ourselves! (Insert Demonic Laughter Here)

GamerMage:

McMarbles:
Square Enix: Gamers will like what we effing tell them to like. Lightning in effing everything! iOS Microtransactionfests for everyone! Localize NOTHING!

And let's keep the PSP version Of Persona 2: Enternal Punishment to ourselves! (Insert Demonic Laughter Here)

Persona 2 (and the Persona series in general) has nothing to do with Square Enix though, unless you think they're part of some evil cabal of Japanese developers who don't want people to get PSP games at the very end of the PSP's lifespan (especially the barren twilight of the North American market). Atlus actually gave us the original English PS version on PSN to compensate. It's clunky and the translation had piss poor proofreading but we weren't totally deprived. And if you mean how Atlus games never make it to Europe in a timely manner, blame Ghostlight.

I kind of wonder how things will work out for Square Enix. I think there are a lot of people burnt out on microtransactions in games these days, who don't want to be bothered with nickle and diming from every direction, but there are quality services out there that are F2P, have regular large content updates, and can be played without eventually succumbing to the cash shop. Not all of those games are MMORPGs, but they're still fun and I don't feel tied down by paying a subscription fee. Still, SE learned a lot from the failure of the original FFXIV and have put a better game on offer than what a lot of "subscription for quality" games. If I had the time to commit I probably would have bought the game too. I suppose the fate of the game will become more evident as it approaches the end of year 1.

I prefer my games to be products that I own that come supplied with services like patches and free dlc because I paid you guys money.

I'm sorry SE I still can't take you seriously after FF: all the Bravest. You would have to cure cancer for me to want to buy your games now.

I know I don't like the idea of games as a service
The aim of a service is usually provide what the customer wants
Games as service appears to be taking what was, leaving it unfinished and then updating it at a price where some devs die the same for free

 

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