Live service games typically get shut down for one major reason - they are unable to find or sustain a sufficient player base to keep development going. Any live service game needs players playing the game and some number of them paying into the game. That money pays for the developers to continue building new content updates for the game, plus some profit for the publisher.
Game publishers aren’t charities. Live service games need to earn their keep. If there aren’t enough players playing the game or there aren’t enough players paying into the game to sustain it, the publisher makes a choice - if they think that the game is salvageable (usually if the numbers are close enough to target), they’ll give the dev team a chance to save it. If they think it’s a lost cause - if the numbers are too far below target - they’ll pull the plug.
There were a good number of live service games that are ending their run, but that doesn’t mean that the model is failing. Just look at the longtime franchises that have been successful live services for years, and are continuing to sustain themselves year over year:
- Call of Duty
- Grand Theft Auto Online
- The Sims
- League of Legend
- World of Warcraft
- Elden Ring
- Assassin’s Creed
- Apex Legends
- Genshin Impact
- … etc.
Live service games being a strong business model doesn’t mean that everyone who tries their hand at it will succeed. It means that the rewards are great if the game can manage to reach sustainability. Unfortunately, not all games will reach that point. It is an unfortunate reality.
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