2K Games wants GaaS for every game

“I sometimes think of it as an amusement park,” he said. “You go to an amusement park, the more rides they have, the longer you stay there. Then sometimes the amusement park has a nighttime event and I stay until that event; they keep me in there. And occasionally they build a new roller coaster, and I come back to experience that roller coaster. We’re building our games in the same way. We need live events, we need post-launch content, we need to keep the consumer engaged once they get in.”

As for specific areas where 2K will be applying these general priorities, Ismailer described China and the mobile market as “huge priorities” for the company. It’s also stepping up investment in the WWE 2K franchise, and hopes to broaden the offerings coming out of Firaxis.

“We did Civ, then we did XCOM, and now we’re looking hopefully to add one more to that portfolio,” Ismailer said.

In November, it brought new COO Phil Dixon on board from online gambling outfit Betfair, and in April it hired senior vice president and head of global marketing Melissa Bell from a similar role at Infiniti Motor Company.

2K is “looking at” real-money gambling after a recent Supreme Court decision lifting a US ban on sports betting and esports betting.

“I think the gambling industry has an understanding of information way better than we do.”

“If it’s acceptable in sports, I’m unclear why it wouldn’t be acceptable in gaming,” Ismailer said.

Oof… real money gambling in videogames, huh? I guess the hobby truly has arrived.

Bethesda seems to be heading in that direction, too, with the next Wolfenstein game being a co-op experience and the recent Prey update adding multiplayer. The fact that id’s Doom sequel is called Eternal rather than II suggests it will lean heavily on post-launch services.

Nonetheless, Hines is bullish about the future of epic single-player adventures. “Well, we keep doing it,” he says. “There was a lot of hand-wringing around [2017’s] Prey, but we just announced a huge update. Rage 2 is a giant single-player game, [the next Doom game] Doom Eternal is single-player, and Wolfenstein: Young Blood is single-player. Single-player is still a thing; it might continue to grow or evolve, but it’s part of who we are, and we still think there’s room to be successful. That doesn’t mean that we should keep doing things the way we did five or 10 years ago – we’ve got to continue to change how we approach it.

GaaS = Gambling as a Service? Maybe update the thread topic to be a bit more clear?

GaaS is Games as a Service. Think Destiny, The Division, etc. even Splatoon 2 and No Mans Sky fits.

It’s just shorthand for “we’ll keep building on the game for the long haul instead of immediately jumping to the sequel, and supplement that with revenue from dlc and/or micro transactions”

Gaming finally catches up to the rest of the software world. The results, long term, will be gaming mostly resembles what it does now. There will be some high profile “GaaS” wins, more flops, and we’ll keep on keepin on. There’s already some high profile successes, in fact. Fornite et al. It’s noteworthy that all of the examples that exist, save Path of Exile, are not repeatedly delivering story or classically single player content. Just skins etc, occasional new features and game modes.

Single player games are a different beast. I can’t wait to watch all of the producers/execs/etc who are salivating over this cock their efforts up while ignoring lessons from the rest of the software world (SaaS is a thing, but it’s not the end-all be-all that was predicted; of course the end-all be-all’s never turn out to be that). And even examples closer to home. We’re still waiting on Episode 3.

I know I’m in a minority around here with this, but I am fine with the concept of games as a service. Seeing how well Ubisoft has been able to build on games that flat out faltered or failed at launch when given time I am all for it.

R6, Ghost Recon, For Honor, The Division are all miles above where they were at launch because they are willing to pour money and time into retention of players and improvement instead of just bailing for a sequel right away. Only reason Division got a sequel imo is because they identified too many things they needed to fix that couldn’t be fixed without a ‘reboot’.

I’m sure plenty of companies will fuck it up, just like so many fuck up f2p even though it can be done well though.

The money they’re pouring in comes from somewhere…

haha, not from me…

For me they’re a really good example of bland unimaginative and repetitive open world game design that perfectly exemplifies why I avoid design by committee triple A games. Everything they make looks like the same game-loop in different settings.

I liked some open world games like Gothic and Jagged Alliance 2.

But the open world stuff was a weak point of the otherwise good game, Arcanum. And Morrowind was just a ‘meh pffffffft’ game with an amusing magic system, IMHO.

(No, I haven’t played any games younger than 15 years.)

I’m fine with GaaS if what it means is a long post-launch support cycle for well received games.

I like the idea behind the episodic approach to Hitman, DLC for Stellaris/EU4 that can radically improve the game, etc.

What makes me wary of GaaS: superfluous always online requirements (Hitman, Anno?, SimCity), and base games that are sorely lacking at 1.0 (Stellaris). In general I’m skeptical of the concept, especially if its advertised as GaaS, which reads like a pitch to investors.

Damn… Jagged Alliance 2 was open world, wasn’t it? You’d get your ass kicked going straight to the Imperial palace but it could be done.

You could sneak into the Imperial palace through a back entrance and bypass (most? all?) guards if you knew where to look.

I on the other hand would often save up all my LAWs and RPGs and storm the palace from the front making extensive architectural changes in the process. ;)

Which is what the article linked by the OP sounds like honestly. Funny thing that 2K has forgotten entirely about Bioshock and Borderlands… franchises selling better or as well as XCOM and Civ. Maybe they don’t want to remind investors how terrible they are at managing talent…

I realize I"m in the minority but I don’t replay games. Once I put a game down I don’t pick it up again, even for DLC. I just have too much of a backlog to revisit old games (with some exceptions like replaying Thief 2 decades later).

So for me I much preferred a “complete” state instead of slow drip content, because when I see slow drip content I put buying the game on the back burner until I can just spend a month on it and be done.

Which is a fine stance for traditional singleplayer games. The “gold standard” for a GaaS game right now would be something like Fortnite. Multiplayer, live events, heavy social pull, F2P, and a revenue scheme that never ends because the game itself doesn’t.

Where publishers struggle is in translating GaaS to other kinds of experiences. Assassin’s Creed Origins is technically GaaS as well as Far Cry 5, but you’d hardly notice if your game was completely offline. That’s great for the consumer, but not so hot if you;re looking to maximize revenue. On the flip side, you have stuff like Battlefront 2 or Shadows of Mordor which both were so reviled by their audience that the publishers had to step back and completely revise their plans.

Just for the record, Rainbow Six Siege is not an open world game. It’s a tactical combat game with really cool destruction that is a big part of the gameplay. The Games as a Service part comes from the Operators, which are the characters they regularly keep releasing. Each new character has new abilities. For example, one character can track enemies temporarily through walls, which is very relevant in a game where you can shoot through certain walls and destroy walls using explosives.

Also, For Honor is not an open world game either. It’s sort of a rock-paper-scissors type fighting game thing. Definitely not bland open world though. Ghost Recon is the only one out of those four that’s bland open world, I think. The Division is in New York City! Come on! That’s not bland! It is open world though.

Perhaps not to you, but to me Ubi is a good example of homogenized design by committee. They don’t make games, they ubify them. I’d be willing to bet if I talked to their C levels they’d freely admit they want nothing more than to appeal to an ever wider audience through smoothing off every edge and marvel movie adaptions are their role model.

Again, you’re probably only talking about The Division and Ghost Recon out of those four then.

I doubt your position is really a minority, honestly. But it’s worth pointing out that watching execs and leads get all hot and bothered about GaaS is hilarious because every couple of years they get all hot and bothered about something.