As you may have heard, EA and BioWare’s Anthem is in a bit of trouble. There are numerous reasons why, but one major contributing factor has to do with the way it was launched. It being a live-service game certainly complicates things, making the experience dependent on the stability of the online infrastructure, among other circumstances. EA just had its Q4 2019 financial results conference call, where the company acknowledged that Anthem under-performed and that it has a lot to do with the game’s launch, and that they will look to do things differently in the future.
Aside from just the difficulties of Anthem’s launch, EA CEO Andrew Wilson also pointed out that there are other issues that need to be addressed, too:
As games have gotten bigger, that system isn’t working as as well as it has done in years gone by. So what you should expect from us is that it’s not just about changing the development processes in the game, it’s not just about changing the QA process in the game—although both of those things are being changed dramatically inside our organization right now—but it also comes down to changing how we launch games.
You should expect that we’ll start to test things like soft launches—the same things that you see in the mobile space right now. And it also comes down to changing how we communicate with players. Our entire marketing organization now is moving out of presentation mode and into conversation mode, and changing how we interact with players over time.
This notion of a “soft launch” has been around in the console space for a while. Games like Battlefield and Call of Duty typically have something similar in the form of a beta, or more recently, the early access version of Dreams. Doing so will ensure that the development studio gets a feel for what the player-base will look like, making the full launch go a lot smoother.
The lack of a “proper” launch could be why you see so many problems when some live-service games at first, so experimenting with new methods of putting the product out there could help a lot.
How would you like to see future live-service games launched and handled? Let us know!
[Source: PC Gamer]