This is why live-service games like Skull & Bones should be released for free

Since the success of games like Fortnite, countless studios have begun vying for a piece of the pie live-service. However, while many games of this type follow the path of free release, others still force players to pay to buy the game. Studios want to make as much money as possible, but forcing gamers to pay a high price to buy games like Skull and Bones may cause them to fail.


A live-service game lives or dies entirely based on how much money players are willing to pour into them, which is why many of these games are designed to keep gamers engaged for as long as possible. Skull and Bones is no different, but many players will have an unpleasant impression from the beginning with the price of 70 USD (about 1 and a half million Vietnamese Dong). On top of that, the content these games offer rarely matches the AAA price they charge players (or ‘AAAA’, in the case of Skull and Bones). It should be noted that, after a period of time, many of these games will be converted to free or heavily discounted. Therefore, more and more players are hesitant about paying a AAA price to buy live-service games.


Skull and Bones isn’t a bad game, there just isn’t much for players to do in it. The sea is fun to explore and it offers players a lot of customization. While the experience is far from perfect, all things considered, this is an enjoyable pirate game. However, its content is not worth the ‘AAAA’ price it forces players to pay, and it is completely understandable that many people have turned away from this game.

$70 is a steep price for players, so the game’s content must justify that price. But games like Skull and Bones, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League or Redfall don’t really show players why they should spend that money in the first place. In some cases, even if live-service games have an enjoyable initial experience, by the time players reach the endgame, they are often forced to regurgitate the same content over and over for hours.

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is underrated because of its boring, repetitive content

Games like Skull and Bones feel like they would be better off as a free-to-play experience. If players could continue without spending a dime, the actual gameplay and content might be a little less controversial.

For some reason, major studios have approached the live-service genre like any other genre. Instead of going the free-to-play route, many companies have forced players to pay for games. That’s not the only reason why many of these games fail, but it’s certainly a big part of why players turn away from them. If players have to pay $70 to buy a game, they usually expect a worthy experience. But the typical characteristics of the live-service genre such as repetitive content or microtransactions do not meet that expectation.


As of now, it seems that free live-service games often live much better and healthier than paid games. Games like Fortnite, League of Legends, Counter-Strike 2, Apex Legends, and Genshin Impact have been extremely successful with this model. Other games like Fall Guys, Destiny 2 and Rocket League have all adopted it after initially forcing players to buy the game.

There are many reasons why live games fail, including lack of content, repetitive gameplay, and technical issues. But setting a price that’s too steep will certainly make it harder for such games to succeed, especially because it raises player expectations. If games like Skull and Bones had been released for free from the start, it’s likely they would have been received a little better at launch. As for the current ‘AAAA’ price, many gamers simply choose not to buy and not play.​

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