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Randy Pitchford: “Gamers Aren’t Interested in Services,” Games As Hobby Model FTW

Games as service is the “it” model for big-time publishers who are always looking for new ways to squeeze more money out of their IPs. While companies like EA and Square Enix are going good with the concept and are implementing it in many of their games, others are not very supportive of the idea.

According to Randy Pitchford from Gearbox, he does not endorse “games as service” in his studio. In fact, he is an advocate of “games as a hobby.” He explained that the relationship between a game developer and the player should of that of an artist and an audience. However, currently, we are seeing that the relationship is like something between a tobacco company and an addict.

At least one decade ago, I began saying that the relationship we should strive to have with one another is the relationship between an entertainer and an audience. The relationship we need to avoid in our medium is like the relationship between a tobacco company and an addict.

Gamers aren’t interested in services, we’re interested in fun. Sometimes a service is a necessary piece of scaffolding for some types of games, but it isn’t the goal – it’s a tool. At Gearbox, I advocate GaaH – “Games as a Hobby” – as our label for the idea.

While this model is working well enough for Square Enix and even Bungie with its Destiny, games as service make more sense for annual franchises like Call of Duty. Releasing a new game every year isn’t as beneficial for the publisher than releasing an ever-evolving game. But the problem comes in the form of loot and shady implementation of microtransactions that puts a bad vibe on the term.

Do you support games as service model if done right? Or do you agree with Pitchford’s “games as a hobby.”