Square Enix: “People Are Too Focused on the Problems”
Whether you like it or not, the “games as a service” business model in the video game industry is really only getting started. Games like Destiny 2 and Grand Theft Auto V Online are examples of mostly healthy and thriving game communities that rake in a ton of dough for both developers and publishers. Ubisoft has embraced the model in several games like Ghost Recon: Wildlands and Take-Two have also promised that future titles like Red Dead Redemption 2 won’t be exempt. Square Enix sees the business model becoming the norm for many companies moving forward. In fact, in May 2017, Square Enix CEO Yosuke Matsudo had this to say about games as a service:
“Titles that have become global hits recently have tended to be offered via the ‘Games as a Service’ model, and we believe this is going to be the mainstream model for gaming in the future. In developing future titles, we will approach game design with a mind to generate recurring revenue streams.”
His comments received groans from longtime Square Enix fans. But now, Matsudo has chosen to clarify his last statement while also giving his thoughts on what games as a service means for his company and for fans.
“I think a lot of the time when people hear the phrase “games as a service”, they always focus on the problem of microtransactions – they really close out the meaning to just being that,” Matsudo said in an interview in the latest EDGE Magazine. “We look at it in a much broader sense. If you look at the idea of adding things to a game after release to keep it fresh and exciting, to keep people playing over a long time, and all the different ways you can do that, it comes to express a lot more. People are too focused on the problems.”
Matsudo makes a good point in that the games as a service business doesn’t need to be anti-consumer and that it can be done right. But it’s also true for consumers to feel that microtransactions are predatory following recent loot box controversies.
“Games as a service” is still in its infancy, so only time will tell if it will be as mainstream as Matsudo thinks it will be. In any case, it’s clear game developers are trying to find the best way to handle them so players don’t feel like they are being disrespected.
What are your thoughts on games as a service? Share them in the comments below.