Sony Just Reminded Us It's Working On a Last of Us Spinoff That Nobody Wants
Please, no more live service games. I beg of you!
If you ask Sony, the future is live service games. Well now it looks like that future seems to be getting further and further away. As reported by VGC, Sony has delayed half of the 12 live service titles in development that were originally announced back in February 2022.
As companies like Sony and Warner Bros. Games (which also reiterated its interest in live service during a 2023 earnings call) keep betting on the genre, I can only be more exhausted at the prospect of endless live service titles. The genre demands too much, and gamers can only be stretched so thin.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy live service games — I do! Just like everybody else, I complete my dailies in Final Fantasy XIV and HoYoverse’s titles to get prettier outfits and better characters. But that’s my limit. I can only commit to so many games that want to take all my free time and I’m already struggling to keep up. So Destiny 2, Diablo IV, Valorant, Overwatch 2, etc. are just going to have to fall by the wayside. This highlights the biggest problem of a major pivot to live service from companies like Sony and WB Games.
Obviously as someone whose job is to play video games and make content about them, I most definitely play more video games than the average person. Most people have one or two games of choice that they stick to in order not to stretch themselves thin. But that's exactly the point, people don’t have the bandwidth to get into more live service games than they are already invested in.
Live service games are a steady cash cow for companies, and it makes sense why they’d want to make more. With seasonal battle passes, gacha mechanics, and microtransactions, they seek to hook the player into investing more time and money. And while some people may have unlimited money (how I wish that were me!), nobody has unlimited time.
Players can only handle a limited number of live service titles on their plate. For me, that limit is about two to three. Add to that the steady release of non-live service games that refuse to let up, especially in 2023. Not everybody has to play as many games as they can for their jobs as I do, but it is still a herculean task to try and balance the daily demands of Genshin Impact alongside trying to see a playthrough of Baldur’s Gate 3 or Armored Core VI to its end.
Who is even going to be the audience for this exponential number of live service games?
This is what Sony is pushing for with its promise of 12 live service games in development. That includes the already announced Last of Us standalone multiplayer game, which has had a lengthy and troubled development. For Warner Bros. Games, the company is doubling down, despite the poor response to the company’s already released live service title Arkham Knights.
If we’re being real here, most of the live service projects currently in development (half of which won’t be seen till 2026 at the earliest after the recent delays) will be spiked by the end of the year. That’s the fate of numerous live service titles in 2023, showing that fatigue for the genre already exists even while a select few titles seem to thrive. Not everybody can be Genshin Impact.
And that’s just 2023! Turning everything into live service feels like a years-old trend already, imagine how tiring this will feel in 2026.
As a player, the idea of a future dominated by live-service titles feels exhausting. But this isn’t just a player problem. Video game makers may also lose morale, as the push for reliable profit is put before artistic merit. Live service isn’t just exhausting, it’s boring.