Various trends in the global game market indicate that digital games are transforming from "fire and forget" commodities to long-lasting services benefiting both customer and developer.
This emerging trend is highlighted in the research project conducted by the University of Tampere and Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT.
With the advent of digital distribution, contemporary games witness a constant flow of content updates. New levels, characters and other forms of downloadable content importantly lengthen the lifecycle of digital games. In connection to this, subscription-based models and virtual item trade have recently become viable business models that already challenge the traditional distribution logic.
Games as Services project, funded by Tekes and Finnish companies, has examined the mentioned transformation and its effects both from the perspective of development and design and that of players and game cultures.
- Compared to the traditional retail, the emerging distribution platforms supports a much closer relationship between developers and players, project manager Olli Sotamaa from the University of Tampere explains. Detailed monitoring of player behaviour allows game design to better tap into the rhythms of everyday life.
Supporting play within digital environments in which people already spend their time has produced new forms of digital play and entirely new player segments as for example recent Facebook games with dozens of millions of individual players exemplify.
- The transitions described are not entirely unique to the games market but similar developments can be identified in other media markets, Sotamaa points out. It is, however, noticeable how easily and successfully many sectors of gaming have already shifted towards a service-based economy. In this respect, all the traditional media industries have a lesson or two to learn from games as services.
Games as Services – Final Report