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70 percent of devs unsure of live-service games sustainability

With so many games fighting for players' attention and interest losing out over time, time sink games are at risk of losing steam eventually.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

April 16, 2024

2 Min Read
soldiers on a red field
Image via Sledgehammer Games/Activision Blizzard.

At a Glance

  • Despite the many killed live-service games in recent years, some of the surveyed developers still have hope for the genre.

A new survey from the Game Developer Collective shows concerns over video games' monetization methods, particularly as it pertains to live-service games.

600 developers were interviewed between February and March 2024. The live service label, according to a respective 67 percent and 53 percent of devs, are defined by their frequent updates and in-app purchases.

39 percent of participants had mild worries over current live-service business models. 31 percent were "very" concerned, while a combined 29 percent either had no fears or were unsure.


A February survey from Griffin Gaming Partners revealed most developers were making live-service games. Interestingly, only 35 percent (of the 600) told the Collective they considered their most recent release a live-service game.

And of those not already using a live-service model, 10 percent think their studio will shift in that direction.

How live-service games are affecting future games to come

When it comes to live-service games, developers are currently split on their industry impact. 44 percent have a mixed view on them, while 45 percent hold them in a negative light.

The chief worry, according to this survey, lies in sustainability. 63 percent of developers worry about players losing interest (62 percent are afraid of other games poaching their players), and 57 percent admitted the difficulty in long-term engagement.


We've seen those fears come true throughout 2023 as numerous ongoing games shut down, often taking their studio with them. And those that remain, like Destiny 2, are currently in a precarious position.

Amid the live-service unease, there appears to be a rising interest in the old model of paid DLC. 30 percent of participants said they were exploring that for their next game, up 9 percent from their most recent releases.

Similarly, 76 percent said they were eyeing an upfront payment (aka, digital release) for their next game. 22 percent were pointing toward a physical release (compared to 27 percent of current launches).

In general, developers appear split on what the future of monetization for games looks like. There's a 1-4 percent difference in future projects having battle passes, being included in subscription services, and so on.

The Game Developer Collective is a unique panel of over 600 fully verified game developers, created in collaboration by Omdia, Game Developer, and GDC.

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About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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