A particular business model seems to be taking over the gaming industry,having alreadytripledthe total market value of the industry in recent years. This model creatively imagines games not as products that you buy once once, but services that you payfor over time.
GaaS is the name of this business model, and it shows no signs of disappearing anytime soon. But what is GaaS? And how has it impacted gaming, for developers and gamers alike? In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about Games as a Service…
What Is GaaS?
GaaS is a gaming abbreviation that stands for “Games as a Service.” Games as a Service is a business concept that allows video games to be monetized beyond the point of sale. The GaaS concept often entails users paying subscription fees or in-game purchases over time in return for constant upgrades or unique content.
Related: What Is SaaS?
The Rise of GaaS
After the arcade period, video games became single-sale items purchased to be played at home on consoles or PCs. This business strategy treated video games like any other single-sale product. Once you purchased a game, you owned it in perpetuity and would incur no more charges to play it.
Even with the advent of digital distribution, video games were originally regarded as one-time purchases. Digital storefronts would sell digital versions of games in the same way that physical shops do. It wasn’t until the debut of a few massively multiplayer online games that GaaS became a recognized means to pay for games in the digital age.
World of Warcraft, which was introduced in 2004, is one of these massively multiplayer games that needs a monthly fee to play. This monthly membership charge provides developers with funds for server upkeep and upgrades. Furthermore, World of Warcraft is a buy-to-play game, which means that a copy must be purchased in addition to the monthly membership charge.
Team Fortress 2, which was published in 2007, was another massively multiplayer game that reinforced GaaS. To offset a declining player base, Team Fortress turned free-to-play in 2011, making it fully free to download a copy of the game. To commercialize the game under the free-to-play model, Team Fortress 2 includes in-game purchases like as cosmetics and loot crates.
Many other massively multiplayer games would ultimately follow suit, making money not just via membership fees and loot boxes, but also through things like season passes and downloadable content. To mention a few, major games that leverage the GaaS concept today include Fortnite, Rocket League, Destiny 2, World of Warcraft, and Team Fortress 2.
What Makes GaaS Unique?
GaaS is distinct in that the concept of video games as services that you pay for over time is a relatively new concept in the games business. The last time this kind of concept was popular in gaming was during the arcade period, when arcades were seen as a type of communal gaming service that paid quarters to use.
In comparison to arcades, however, this new GaaS paradigm is much more broad and adaptable. The GaaS model supports a wide range of payment choices, making it suitable for any kind of project.
Free-to-play games may use the GaaS model to monetise their product while keeping the barrier to entry low. This makes games more accessible to everyone and may lead to an increase in player numbers.
After their initial release, buy-to-play games may employ the GaaS model to earn even more money. Subscription fees, in-game cash stores, and downloadable content allow games to generate income long beyond their original point of sale.
What Impact Has This Had on the Gaming Industry?
So, now that we know what GaaS is and what distinguishes it, what has its influence been on the gaming industry? How has it impacted both developers and gamers?
One thing is certain: the GaaS model has almost quadrupled the gaming industry’s net worth. Video games have grown to be a multibillion-dollar business worth more than the film and music industries combined. The GaaS concept has significantly increased the profitability of video games.
The increased money from GaaS is a huge windfall for game makers. It offers a steady stream of revenue, which improves job stability and gives more resources for growth. This may result in better games, according to some.
The Impact on Different Kinds of Gamers
GaaS can give a steady stream of game updates to players. Certain GaaS-enabled games become perpetual services of seasons, upgrades, and new content. This may keep a game fascinating and new for years, ensuring that things never “end” or get boring. However, it might degrade the experience for players who prefer older material or just dislike trying to keep up with all the latest changes.
World of Warcraft’s player base was divided as a result of this. After so many changes, a big number of players started to miss the game’s old edition. Many players went to privately maintained servers to relive the glory days of the game. To keep everyone pleased, the creators of World of Warcraft decided to host two major versions of the game: a Classic edition and a Retail version.
When gamers return to their favorite GaaS game after a hiatus, they are presented with what seems like a totally new game full of fresh material that must be re-learned in order to play again. GaaS games might seem like a lot of effort to keep up with for them.
Another prevalent concern with GaaS games is that they have no genuine “ending,” since new content is constantly added to them. This may be off-putting to some. In contrast to conventional games, which have a beginning, a middle, and an end, GaaS games might seem like they have an endless middle that continues developing.
Some gamers, on the other hand, like frequent updates because they believe it keeps things new and intriguing. And, depending on how GaaS is implemented, updates may be as seldom or as regular as the developers like. These adjustments may appeal to some, thus GaaS isn’t always a terrible thing.
Related:The Best Cloud Gaming Services
GaaS: A New Way to Pay for Games
For different reasons, several games are jumping on the GaaS bandwagon. GaaS is here to stay and may be used in a variety of ways, whether to optimize earnings or to make a game more accessible.
Developers and publishers undoubtedly welcome the additional cash that GaaS may bring in, but players are split on the subject. Some players like this tendency, while others despise it. However, what gamers like or hate about GaaS may be determined by the individual implementation rather than the paradigm itself.
At the end of the day, GaaS is simply another method of selling games that developers and publishers may use anyway they see right. It may be used to help or harm gamers depending on how it is applied. More alternatives are never a negative thing; it’s all about how they’re utilized.
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