Former Destiny and Halo producer says live service is ‘better for developers and players’


The former Halo and Destiny executive producer at Bungie said the live services model is “much better for developers and players” than the one-time $60 or $70 purchase model.

I am talking with Computer playerTheorycraft Games CEO and former Halo: Reach and Destiny executive producer Joe Tung said that the customary method of purchasing video games, making a one-time payment of around $60 to $70, causes developers to make decisions that are not “in best interests.” players.

“I always felt like with a $60 boxed product, I had to make decisions that weren’t in the best interest of the players,” Tung said.

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Games as a service model is much better for developers and players.

“The best interest was, ‘How do I sell as many copies as possible in the first 48 hours?’ One of the huge benefits of games as a service model is that you can think long term, think long term in terms of what’s best for the player and how that aligns with what’s best for the company allows you to make much, much, much better decisions overall “

Tung referenced the now-defunct E3 and the trailers and gameplay clips that premiered there, promising what he called “bull vaporware” that gamers would never experience because all developers had to do was convince them to release 60 dollars.

“I bet every developer who ever worked on a $60 box model up until E3 was canceled has some story about the E3 build,” he said. “It’s like throwing as much vaporware into the build as possible over the next three months because we have to put on a big show at E3 because that’s our only chance to talk to our audience before the game launches.”

“I would bet that a very significant percentage of the work that went into E3 ended up in the editing room because it was half-baked, and people were breaking down and having to really sacrifice a lot to get it,” Tung added. “That’s my favorite example of a decision that had a huge impact and wasn’t about what was best for the player.”

On the other hand, a live service allows developers to continue working on games after they are released, communicate with audiences to see what players actually want, and so on. That’s why Tung believes that “the games-as-a-service model is much better for developers and players.”

The topic has proven controversial among gamers, with many frustrated by the fact that even single-player games now offer microtransactions, pre-order bonuses, early access periods, etc., resulting in a $60 purchase, which is more common in 2024 $70, no longer provides everything the game has to offer.

Ubisoft’s games Star Wars: Outlaws and Assassin’s Creed Shadows have recently faced criticism for this, as both have missions locked to more exorbitant editions and cannot be played on launch unless players spend at least $100.

Some developers have apparently managed to combine a one-time purchase with a live service, but the hit Helldivers 2 on PlayStation and PC is the best recent example of a successful game balancing both models.

It launched for just under $40 and still features microtransactions, but its live services components have incredible depth as the game’s story is woven around them and changes based on what players can and cannot achieve in time-limited events .

The combination seems to have worked, as Helldivers 2 has not only been well received by critics, but has sold over 12 million copies as of May 14, 2024.

Ryan Dinsdale is a freelance reporter for IGN. He’ll talk about The Witcher all day long.

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