Many game developers create experiences that can be enjoyed over the course of a long period of time. These are known more commonly as service-based games, which keep players coming back to them months and even years after launch. Other studios focus on more concise projects, ones which deliver heaps of narrative in an engaging fashion.
There are many different business models these days in video games. Some of them are becoming more common because of how gamers are reacting to them. No matter how much gamers support a certain business model though, there will always be a wide diversity of video games.
For Microsoft, story-driven games aren’t all that make up the firm’s software releases. Xbox tends to create games that are a service and can be enjoyed for years after they launch. Xbox’s Phil Spencer recently talked about story-driven games and Sony’s approach to its first-party titles.
“The audience for those big story-driven games… I won’t say it isn’t as large, but they’re not as consistent. You’ll have things like Zelda or Horizon Zero Dawn that’ll come out, and they’ll do really well, but they don’t have the same impact that they used to have, because the big service-based games are capturing such a large amount of the audience.
“Sony’s first-party studios do a lot of these games, and they’re good at them, but outside of that, it’s difficult – they’re become more rare; it’s a difficult business decision for those teams, you’re fighting into more headwind,” Spencer told TheGuardian.
To their credit, Sony manages to produce titles that garner massive support from players. Last year’s Uncharted 4 is certainly proof of that, as is Horizon Zero Dawn. An upcoming Xbox game that will be an example of “games as a service” is Sea of Thieves. While we don’t know when it’ll launch, it’ll surely be an experience that lives for years to come.
Gaming is big enough for a multitude of game styles to live and be successful. Microsoft’s approach certainly isn’t to create just one type of experience, but a plethora of them. Spencer went on to speak about keeping a balance to ensure all games experience success.
“We’ve got to understand that if we enjoy those games, the business opportunity has to be there for them. I love story-based games. I just finished [LucasArts-inspired RPG] Thimbleweed Park – I thought it was a fantastic game. Inside was probably my game of last year. As an industry, I want to make sure both narrative-driven single-player games and service-based games have the opportunity to succeed. I think that’s critical for us,” Spencer said.
E3 2017 is less than two months away and the anticipation is building. Microsoft is expected to fully reveal Project Scorpio at their E3 briefing on June 11. Who knows what else the company will show off during the event? Stick around here at We Write Things for more on Xbox.