What a surprise, the new content to Marvel’s Avengers is mediocre to dull and does not manage to upgrade the mediocre to dull main game so much that it suddenly becomes a misunderstood pearl.

Who could have guessed that? So, except for absolutely everyone?

The genesis of Marvel’s Avengers is symptomatic of perhaps the most annoying trend in the gaming industry over the past few years: live service games.

Most players should be able to relate to the term, but for the uninitiated it should be in a nutshell: Live service games are an attempt by developers, or more precisely in the vast majority of cases by publishers, who give the developer appropriate specifications with a game To pull money out of people’s pockets beyond the purchase price and DLCs. This is done by regularly publishing new content, sometimes packing it into seasons so that people don’t stop playing and, if necessary, loosen up toads in the in-game shop that happens to be also present and mostly prominently advertised.

The trend was born out of the MMOs, where constant content replenishment makes sense. Enough people lead in World of Warcraft quasi a second life, most MMOs are designed by their nature to be played more or less forever.

Live service games, as I mean them, are not.

About the author

Live service games: If you have to, then please do it right!  (1)

Live service games: If you have to, then please do it right! (1)

Source: Lukas Schmid

Lukas Schmid has been working in various functions at Computec Media and thus at PC Games since 2010, first as an intern, then as a freelancer, then as a volunteer, editor and now as chief editor for pcgames.de, videogameszone.de, gamesaktuell.de and gamezone .de. He loves action, adventure, action adventures, shooters, jump & runs, horror and role-playing games, you can hunt him with strategy titles, most rogue likes and military simulations. Every Saturday at 9 a.m. he tells you in his column what is annoying or happy about him. Hate comments and love letters in the comments under the column [email protected] or on Twitter @Schmid_Luki.

Sure, there are positive examples, see Fortnite, see generally the successful Battle Royale titles. They have the fact that they are almost constantly changing products, written on the flag and are more comparable to classic multiplayer shooters.

My other columns recently

They all look the same: Why do modern graphic styles bother me?
Nintendo Switch 2: a flop with an announcement? That’s why Nintendo has to be careful …
Electronic Arts vs. Creativity: At the end of the day, everyone is screwed up
Is violence awesome? Why some games go too far for me …
Remakes, remasters, and reprints are a mistake
Well-known on the PS5: Sony has a creativity problem
Whistle on creativity: Dear developers, steal ideas!
Achievements, trophies and co .: Stop doing stupid tasks!
Realism is annoying: Why games should just be games

Live service games: If you have to, then please do it right!  (4)

Live service games: If you have to, then please do it right! (4)

Quelle: Square Enix

Behind it, however, lies the second row, the large majority of the self-employed who also want a piece of what they believe to be an easy-to-get cake, and who are almost always devised by large publishers who want to create products out of the hell out of it that simply cannot be what was conceived in any management floor.

Destiny appeared and thus one of the first successful live service games according to modern understanding, it was announced loudly that the game would now be supplied with new content for a full ten years, and suddenly all the other studios thought after Destiny was a success: “Great, we’ll do it too!”

Not considering that Destiny was well received because it was new. And also not considering that the ten-year statement was quite a shot in the oven. Two parts and much less than ten years later, with the number of players falling significantly and publisher Activision, who was apparently so enthusiastic about the success that he and developer Bungie split some time ago and the Destiny brand was also given up, it can be said: it probably didn’t quite work out.

But it just sounds so nice, ten years! Or alternatively five, if you are modest, or “for many years” if you would rather pile up small. Hey, why not pack a little more what is spilled, then someone will clear away!

Destiny – ten years!

The Division – 50 years!

Anthem – 100 years!

Fallout 76 – 76 years, 1000 were planned, but the rest were bugged!

Marvel’s Avengers – until the sun dies down, the universe cools down and mankind has built the first McDonald’s on Alpha Centauri!

Live service games: If you have to, then please do it right!  (6)

Live service games: If you have to, then please do it right! (6)

Those: PC Games Hardware

Am i cynical Yes, but it’s hard not to be when almost every widely announced live service game falls in the face with its plans for the next decade, including canceled roadmaps, disappointed to angry players and much, much scorched earth.

Not only is such a situation catastrophic for developers who have to fear for their jobs, even though they basically just delivered what was asked of them. If a live service attempt is a financial debacle, it is almost always accompanied by layoffs.

And the games are mostly of poor quality because all the resources are simply put into creating this constructed, never-reachable, eternal gaming experience, so that the actual game testing, gaming fun, creative design, all the things we play games for, fall behind .

And when the other games jump off the cliff …

Live service games: If you have to, then please do it right!  (5)

Live service games: If you have to, then please do it right! (5)

What: Bethesda

Destiny and, to a similar extent, The Division and the sequels at least worked. But Anthem? Imagine if Bioware could have focused on what the studio is known for, namely great stories and complex game mechanics. Now you have a pretty, but dead world and funny flight mechanics, but no incentive to experience both for more than a few hours.

Fallout 76: This could just have been a really nice post-apocalypse RPG. But since it is only important that you invest real money diligently, you can deliberately do without NPCs (later patched in), important elements such as VATS, something that essentially corresponds to an exciting story and of course bug testing.

And then there is Marvel’s Avengers, which is probably the biggest pop culture brand of our time popping the nose with so much of a run-upthat earthquake warning is issued. And Avengers was also developed by – well, who knows? -, Crystal Dynamics, a studio that has proven several times that it can do really great single player adventures.

You can feel that in the beginning in the campaign of the adventure. But well, don’t invest too much time, the alternative color skin for Captain America’s underpants then has a bit higher priority.

Live service games: If you have to, then please do it right!  (2)

Live service games: If you have to, then please do it right! (2)

What: Ubisoft

And then mostly the inevitable end of all these live service escapades: canceled plans, shutdown servers and the realization that it is not that easy to reinvent a game over and over and keep it constantly interesting. Because what then comes as big content updates is rarely more than a mild breeze of content before the creators then miserably turn to their next, hopefully more successful project.

Another bad thing: games that actually have nothing to do with live service, but still want to snack on. I rarely have “content updates” more uninteresting than that River Raids and the two festivals in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla experienced. The plan was that I would keep playing and hopefully invest in cosmetics from time to time. The result is that I’m so annoyed by my last couple of experiences with the title that I’m actually significantly less keen on the upcoming real DLC than before.

It could be better – hopefully …

And now it comes: Still, I don’t think live service games are bad per se. The idea of ​​keeping the world of a game alive, expanding and changing it, introducing new game elements, all of that sounds charming.

But it takes a lot of money for that, a small studio cannot afford such continuous development, and with the big manufacturers it is not the most creative minds who decide, but those who have to give account to the shareholders.

Live service has to be rethought so that it elicits different reactions from the players than just annoyed groans. It has to come from teams that have a vision and who are provided with the means to implement it.

However, this vision will hardly ever be compatible with excessive attempts to financially exploit the last aspect of a game.

Advertising: Games order now from Amazon


    • pcgh.de

      Image for PCGH advice recommendation for less than 3,000 euros

We have marked affiliate links with an asterisk. We receive a small commission for a purchase via our link and can thus partially finance the website, which can be used free of charge, with this income. There are no costs for the user.