A report from the analytical group DFC Intelligence suggests that EA and Activision’s combined $79 billion growth can be largely attributed to their use of the “games as a service” business model.
The firm’s definition of games as a service includes any game that regularly receives post-launch premium content and regular updates. It’s a broad definition, but it covers most major games as a service titles from these companies such as Destiny 2, Madden, FIFA, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Call of Duty, Hearthstone, and Battlefront II. As you might have noticed, those are some of the biggest and most lucrative titles in that particular field.
Educated estimations suggest that the value of Activision’s games as a service business grew from about $10 billion in 2012 to about $60 billion now. EA has grown from $4 billion in 2012 to about $33 billion at present.
Those are huge revenue jumps that tell us several things that some gamers aren’t going to want to hear. First off, it doesn’t look like these games as a service titles are going anywhere as long as they keep generating this kind of growth. We hear the cries for more single-player games that offer all their content in one package (and perhaps a couple of single-player expansions), but the truth of the matter is that these figures are going to speak louder to most companies than all those crimes combined.
However, there is some hope for those who are not a fan of these kinds of games. First off, more and more countries are considering loot boxes and loot box equivalents to be an illegal form of gambling. While not all games as a service titles utilize loot boxes, some of the bigger ones do. If similar laws go into effect in more countries, it could cut into these profits quite a bit.
The second thing to look to is the fact that there is a growing, viable market for more traditional single-player experiences. Sony’s God of War and Spider-Man sold incredibly well earlier this year even though neither features a multiplayer element or many of the other marks of the games as a service practice. If those games continue to do well as pressure mounts on the games as a service industry, then we could see a shift in the balance of power.
Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014.
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