With live service games proving to be huge money-makers if and when done right, more and more companies are starting to jump in on the trend.
The latest to be rumored to do so is Warner Bros. with Hogwarts Legacy.
A recent internship listing proved this to be the case and we wouldn't really be surprised if the said interactive division detailed in the said listing means that Hogwarts Legacy could take a similar approach to games like Fortnite and Destiny 2.
It's important to remember though, that for every successful live service game, there've been a couple of duds.
Perhaps the most relevant and recent example here is Marvel's Avengers by Square Enix.
Square Enix had a seemingly perfect game in their hands with a franchise that's been part of the mainstream consciousness for the better part of the past two decades, but, because of a couple of crucial mistakes, they turned what should have been a cash cow into a financial mess.
Marvel Avengers- it looks like the total cost of the game is closer to $170m-$190m given they only expenses 70% of cost in the qtr plus marketing costs. Why someone didn’t say stop post the multiplayer beta will remain a mystery . Square are adamant they can make a recovery ....
— David Gibson (@gibbogame) November 7, 2020
With that said, Hogwarts Legacy could certainly learn a thing or two from Marvel's Avengers.
Where Exactly Did Marvel's Avengers Go Wrong?
Similar to what Warner Bros. has with Hogwarts Legacy and the Harry Potter franchise, Square Enix had a popular franchise on their hands with Marvel's Avengers.
Considering the continued success that the movies have enjoyed since Iron Man in 2008, it was safe to assume that Square Enix could do no wrong. But instead of making money capitalizing on the success of the MCU, Square Enix took a huge financial hit.
One of the biggest issues that plagued Marvel's Avengers was its lack of endgame content.
The key to a successful live service game is for it to keep giving players something to look forward to, in particular, more content to unlock. Although Square Enix did give players plenty of additional gears to earn and other cosmetics to buy even after completing the campaign, there wasn't really any reason to keep on playing.
The gameplay felt repetitive early on, with "new" areas and enemies feeling more like re-skinned versions of places you've visited before earlier in the game.
This lack of variety failed to keep gameplay fresh and interesting from a player's perspective.
It also didn't help that Square Enix and the game's developers, Crystal Dynamics, took too long to address all of the game's issues.
In addition to repetitive gameplay and uninteresting content, the game launched with multiple bugs and issues. However, many of these problems would go on unaddressed until December, four months since the release of the game. Obviously, this wasn't enough to entice players to come back to the game let alone attract newer audiences.
Are There Other Games Hogwarts Legacy Can Learn From?
2020's Marvel's Avengers and Square Enix aren't the only ones to fall victim to the temptation of launching a live service game.
Bigger studios have tried and failed numerous times before.
Two other recent examples include Bioware with 2019's Anthem and Bethesda Softworks with 2018's Fallout 76.
Like Marvel's Avengers, both games suffered from disappointing launches. This forced the developers into an unenviable position of having to climb out of the proverbial self-dug hole as they tried their best to reinvigorate player interest while retaining its dwindling player count.
You'd think that subsequent failures from well-known studios and publishers with established IPs with turn away most interested parties, but you'd be wrong.
If it's any consolation though, Warner Bros. will have multiple franchises to learn from.
Of course, for that to happen, they'll need to make sure that they focus less on winning players over with initial hype and more on retaining players for the long-term by making sure that there's enough endgame content to keep gamers interested