While many playable games have a limited shelf life, there is another market for games that last as long as possible.
Players can immerse themselves in somewhat repetitive gameplay to enjoy additional updates, new content, and in-game transactions, known to many as live service games.
This type of game aims to build a player base over time by enticing players with new characters, skins, maps, and items to expand the offered gaming experience.
Most often, games are released as a service across seasons, allowing players to complete achievements in each “season” as they develop the next.
Here are the best live-service games that are popular right now.
What is a live service game?
The live service game is a game that sees a constant stream of new content added after its initial release and is specially designed to remain playable even years after its debut. This contrasts traditional single-player games, which can be completed in several hours.
This revamped content can vary widely. For example, you will find that some offer new cosmetics, weapons, and multiplayer maps on a seasonal basis – sometimes, you even get a completely new game mode. Additionally, some games will feature different expansion packs with new missions and story content.
With an estimated daily count of over 30 million users, according to the Fortnite stats page at ActivePlayer.io, Fortnite is still one of the most popular live service games.
It is available on most platforms, including Windows, Mac, Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch. In this cartoonish Battle Royale, players must compete head-to-head and be the last to be crowned the winner.
Six different Battle Royale modes are available: Solo, Duos, Trios, Squads, Arenas, and Party Royale.
After 100 players parachute onto an island with a new theme each season, they battle to obtain weapons and items to defeat other players until they become the last player (or players). As the match progresses, the playable area shrinks, leaving players outside the safe zone to escape the “storm” before their health finally runs out.
Combining the elements of building and strategy, Fortnite encourages players to earn XP to progress through their levels. Each tier displays different rewards, which you can further upgrade with Fortnite currency (V-Bucks) to purchase battle tickets, cosmetics, and more.
2. League of Legends
The MOBA-based game League of Legends remains a strong contender for one of the best live service games for Windows and Mac. The average player base they are attracted to is 117 million monthly despite its 2009 release, according to the League of Legends stats page at ActivePlayer.io.
Like Fortnite, League of Legends is free to play, with the option to purchase in-game character customization for real money.
With 140 characters, players form two parties of five on each team in a battle to defeat the other team’s Nexus before destroying their own.
League of Legends is a top-level strategy game, one of the most popular esports games in the world, with tournament matches broadcast every year.
Unlike some live service games, League of Legends greatly emphasizes multiplayer, and team efforts are rewarded with gold for leveling up player characters.
3. Final Fantasy XIV: A Kingdom Reborn
Since it received a complete overhaul from its original form (Final Fantasy XIV) due to player complaints about several issues, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn has become one of the most popular MMORPGs, with four playable expansions.
According to the statistics page MMO Population Stats, It receives an average of 3 million players daily (about 90 million monthly players).
The game is available on PlayStation, Mac, and Windows, where players design their characters by choosing between race, region, and combat class. In the open world, character level in EXP can be achieved through quests (Leves), events (FATE), dungeons, and defeating monsters.
As with many MMO games, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is aimed at gamers who enjoy playing with friends or larger groups of people. An enhanced social aspect to the game is only sometimes present in first-person shooters, where you can spend hours working with others to level up the game.
Although we are part of the Final Fantasy franchise, we can easily play this game live without diving into previous versions.
4. Impatto Genshin
For PC, PlayStation, and mobile gaming consoles, Genshin Impact thoroughly blends the world of RPGs with action-based combat. It boasts an average number of players, according to an ActivePlayer.io profile, 50 million per month.
The game developer, miHoYo, recognizes the growth and dedication of its player base by rewarding them with traditional celebrations, new content, and special events.
With vast continents to explore and characters to interact with, this cartoon-style free live-service game receives regular updates to keep players interested.
Real-time combat is incredibly appealing; Swapping characters in battle or dungeons is impossible, so planning and management are critical to each side’s success.
Developed by World of Warcraft subsidiary Blizzard Entertainment, Overwatch has grown exponentially in popularity since 2016. According to the Overwatch Stats page at ActivePlayer.io, It continues to attract more than 6 million players monthly.
With a solid player base, this MOBA-based live service game receives regular updates, introducing new playable characters (heroes), skins, and seasonal events.
Players fight in different maps and modes. There are over 30 heroes, each offering unique skills and abilities. From four-gun rolling hamsters to manned Guardian Angels, there’s a vast choice when it comes to mastering Overwatch.
Like other live service games, Overwatch encourages players to compete in esports competitions like the Overwatch League, Open Division, and Overwatch World Cup.
6. CS: GO
Counter-Strike Global Offensive (CS: GO) is a fan-favorite live-action game among gamers looking for a first-person shooter.
According to Steam Charts, the idea grew out of the Half-Life mod and now regularly sees 500,000 to 700,000 players a month. This is a massive jump from the average of 300,000 at the end of 2019.
The players are divided into two teams of five; Fight against terrorists and terrorists. The combat team has to stop the terrorists from detonating a bomb while defending their teammates from getting killed. It’s a simple concept, seen in many first-person shooter game modes, but it’s one of the most popular and competitive.
The game requires a lot of strategic skill, as players spend hundreds of hours before considering themselves worthy opponents.
In addition to the fun factor in CS: GO, it is also possible to earn money in the game by trading rare skins. This game attracts many seasoned pros as they can understand contemporary looks and market value.
Live service games that keep on giving
The charm of live service games is that they always stay young. With enough time and dedication from its developers, these games continue to deliver exciting content that grows and fulfills the needs of its players.
The natural appeal, and what makes these live service games so popular, is their low cost or small initial subscription, translating into hours, months, and even years of playability.