Live Service Game

Updated: 11/18/2022 by Computer Hope
World of Warcraft logo.

LSG (Live Service Game) or GaaS (games as a service) are video games designed to keep people engaged as long as possible by frequently adding new content and updates. If done successfully, a game publisher uses these live service games to keep players engaged for a long time, often many years.

One of the most successful examples of an LSG is World of Warcraft, where users pay a monthly fee and a box price for new expansions to keep playing and receive new content.

How is a live service game different?

When playing through a typical game, players spend hours from start to finish. Once completed, they usually never play the game again and move on to another. Players usually only return to a previously completed game when a DLC (downloadable content) or expansion comes out, or they want to replay the game for nostalgia.

What makes a game a live service game?

Below are some features that make a game a live service game.

  • Online play, usually to group and compete against other users.
  • Often an F2P (free-to-play) game.
  • Frequent updates and new content.
  • Daily, weekly, and monthly achievements and unlocks that can be earned.

What's gained in a live service game?

Below are examples of the new content a live service game may introduce to its community to help keep them hooked.

  • Skins and other cosmetics.
  • New weapons, armor, and other items.
  • New types of characters.
  • New maps to explore.
  • New dungeons and raids.

Some games may require a battle pass to unlock all new content.

Examples of live service games

Below are a few examples of some live service games available today.

What are the advantages of live service games?

  1. Many live service games are low-cost or free to play while offering a refreshing experience.
  2. Users may play with friends, completing quests or missions together and accomplishing fun achievements as a group.
  3. Some live service games are cross-platform, allowing players to enjoy games on a computer, game console, or mobile device.

What are the disadvantages of live service games?

  • For live service games to continue to operate, the developer must be willing to continue to pay for the game's ongoing development. If they decide the product is not worth it, go out of business, or get sold to another company, the game may shut down and become unplayable. By contrast, a single-player game continues to work regardless of the company's status.
  • Battle passes. Although many live service games are free, some have battle passes or other add-ons that players must purchase to unlock everything. Making these purchases over the game's life can often make the experience more expensive than a game that only needs to be purchased once.
  • You can get left behind other players if you're not engaging constantly. If a game frequently updates and you don't log in for a few months, it can feel like you're playing a new game the next time you play.

Computer acronyms, Dribbleware, Early access, Game, Game terms, MMO, Service, TLA