事实是，如果在今天你想要凭借一个百万美元的授权内容在电子游戏产业中获取成功，你便需要使用live service以帮助自己监管并对消费者的行为做出回应。我并不是说单人游戏正在衰亡或者趋于灭绝。我也并非认为每一款多人游戏都会成为下一款《命运》或《全境封锁》。恰恰相反，正因为如今单人游戏逐渐减少，人们对于它的需求反而大大增加了。但说实话，如今的AAA级游戏都在某种程度上依赖于live service。是的，这同样也包括单人游戏。如果你是一名独立游戏开发者，那这点对你来说更加重要，因为你需要更加努力去让玩家沉浸于游戏中并在你的游戏系统中获得娱乐（游戏邦注：实际上今天便有许多聪明的初创企业将直播服务整合到了自己的游戏中）。
所以为什么live service如此重要呢？对于新人来说，你需要去理解消费者的行为。让我们以超市为例，即我们都知道他们将巧克力摆放在收银台附近并将牛奶摆放在离收银台较远的地方的原因。而在数字领域亦是如此。在致力于电子游戏这么多年后，我可以告诉你人们总是会对excel表格中的数字感到骄傲。这意味着你需要去寻找能够提供给玩家他们想要购买的服务。从根本上来看，数字消费者行为便等价于像销量，用户黏性，用户留存，净推荐值等KPI。电子游戏消费者还拥有终身价值。而那些在小的时候玩过《超级玛丽兄弟》的玩家在今天更有可能与自己的小孩一起玩《马里奥》游戏。所以你应该确保将消费者与你那个有关终身价值和利益的等式连接在一起。而在这里live service不仅能够帮你销售产品，同时随着实践的发展也能够帮助你传递给玩家更多价值。
Why having a Live Service team is important!
by Casey Alkaisy
There is an evolution happening in the gaming industry that people are actually very silent about. We keep talking about new technology and how we can make video games better. Remember the 3D-TV fad that came and went away even faster? Or motion controls? And everyone is currently talking about VR, it might become a success, who knows (I do believe in this one though, it’s freaking cool). We definitely shouldn’t stop innovating or creating new ways to experience gaming. However, more importantly we currently do have technology to be able to make the player experience much better than it currently is. There is so much data to collect and read it is impossible to fathom. Yet, this is an untapped area of video games that even big companies are not paying much attention to (Free 2 Play games, mobile games, MMO’s have been doing it for years though).
Here is the deal, if you want to succeed in video games today with a multimillion dollar franchise, you need to have some type of live service that enables you to monitor and react to your customer’s behavior. I am not saying that singleplayer games are dying or that they are becoming extinct. Neither am I saying that every multiplayer game out there needs to be a Destiny or The Division. To the contrary, single player games are appreciated today more than ever due to the scarcity of them. But fact of the matter is, AAA games coming out these days all rely on some type of live service to a certain degree. Yes, that also includes singleplayer games. If you are an indie dev, then this should be more important to you since you will need to fight tooth and nail to keep players engaged and entertained inside your echo system (actually a lot of smart startups are incorporating live services in their games today).
Making your game for years, releasing it in to the wild and forgetting about it does not cut it anymore. People have higher demands and expectations of gaming products. So you need to make sure that offline or online, the player needs to be thinking of your game. We as humans also like to think that we are special these days, which means the shotgun method of talking to your users is out the door. You have to start thinking about segmenting your customer base and targeting them with appropriate messaging.
So why is live services such a big deal? Well for starters, you need to understand consumer behavior. Let’s look at supermarkets, we all know why they have chocolate bars so close to the cashier and why milk is always the furthest away from there. Well, the digital side of things is not much different. After working in video games for several years and daily monitoring data, I can tell you that humans are proud to be numbers on an excel sheet. That means you need to look for the trends and make sure you can offer your players the services they want or are willing to purchase. Digital consumer behavior basically equates to KPI’s such as sales, engagement, retention, NPS etc. Video game consumers also have a life time value. People who played Super Mario Brothers when they were very young, most likely do play Mario games with their kids today. Making sure the consumer sticks with you equates to a life time value. All of this equates to money and you need money to stay afloat. So to summarize this part, live services will enable you to not only sell your product once, but also twice and many times over as long as you deliver the value to the player.
So what do I need to run a live service? It all essentially boils down to three things, the people, the tools and the desire to accept, change and adapt.
The desire: This one is all about being truthful yo yourself. You have to accept that we live in a data based world where everything counts. So either you change and adapt to modern gaming principles or you perish like THQ (but I say this again, that there is room for quality singleplayer games if executed correctly). Even if you do not have the people or the tools below, you need to find ways to entertain your customers and keep them engaged (hacks work to a certain extent).
The People: Usually a Community Manager, an Engagement Manager, a Store Manager and a Data Analyst if applicable. If you are lucky, you might find people who can fill multiple roles.
The Tools: User-friendly back-end tools, I can’t stress this enough. Don’t make tools as an afterthought, be sure to include them in your game design from day one. Enabling your live service team powerful tools will make them react faster to trends and rely less on operation teams to help them with code.
Once you got these in place, you will have to ask yourself, what can I do to make sure my player base is happy and healthy?
Here is what most of us are accustomed to see on today’s gaming scene:
A game is released.
Paid DLC is released in year 1-2.
Occasional game update to fix bugs.
Game is done, move on to the next thing.
The last bit is the sad part of how some companies are dealing with their games. Why they are happy with lettings thousands of players loose only to try and reel them back with a brand new product is beyond me. We need to ask, what else can we offer the player to make sure we are covering all their needs and then some? Because ultimately, once we decide to work on that sequel, we will have better success if we take care of the players that are currently with us.
So think about things like:
Are you entertaining players with events (real life or digital)?
Are you actively changing aspects of the game during seasonal periods (real life or fiction)?
Are you improving the experience?
Are you adding free content?
Are you engaging directly with your community?
Are you curating user generated content?
Are you offering any kind of MTX based products?
Are you engaging your users on other platforms? Mobile?
And the list goes on…
A decent live service will extend not only the current products life cycle but also the franchise for years to come. We all know how people’s attention span is getting smaller and smaller, as life and the internet is getting faster. That is why it is crucial to have rigid and dynamic systems in place that can entertain your player, both inside and outside of the game.
What you need to do is create a plan on how you are going to take care of your player base for years to come. Because if you don’t, someone else will. This business is not built on sprints anymore, it’s all about the marathons. That is why you should include live services as part of your game design.（source：gamasutra）