Games as a Service

Turn around, and look at how many text updates you can see… One of the main challenges of game localization projects is to handle the avalanche of daily text updates that come with the localization of certain games. These requests are becoming more and more common. Particularly, for those games that fall under the GaaS (Games as a Service) model or live games. These are different from the traditional model of Games as a Product or one-time-purchase games.

How is GaaS different from traditional purchase models?

GaaS is an operating model based on ensuring the game becomes a continuous stream of revenue for the developer. Instead of selling a game once and earning money from that single purchase, GaaS offers game updates or rewards to gamers so that they keep playing ad infinitum (or until they get bored).

It is, therefore, crucial for game developers to create mechanisms to engage players and keep them hooked.

Some of those mechanisms are downloadable content packs (DLCs), subscriptions, season passes or microtransactions. Some of the most successful games, such as League of Legends or Fortnite, adopted the microtransactions model. These games are free-to-play. Yes, you can play without spending a single penny.

How do the game developers make money within the GaaS model, then?

One way is to sell in-game items or features to customize characters. These are cool but do not impact the gameplay, so it does not become a “pay-to-win” model (sometimes criticized by players because it is considered unfair).


Example of a “skin” or customized character appearance for one of the characters in League of Legends (Candy Cane Miss Fortune)

For other games such as Blizzard’s Overwatch, you pay once to get to play the game but then there are also content updates funded via microtransactions. 

Top 10 PC games by player share (percentage) over the last 6 months (globally) – Source: Newzoo Analytics Platform

Mobile gaming is also into the microtransaction model. King’s Candy Crush is one of the first and most successful freemium games on the mobile market. Of course, you can play for free. But you can also pay and buy more lives so that you don’t have to wait for so long to keep crushing those sweet candies.

GaaS is a widespread business model in the games industry. And it has a direct impact on localization operations that need to respond to fast turnarounds, managing different types of assets, highly culturalized content (for example, seasonal promos) and without compromising the quality and consistency across the game. In the next Nimdzi’s Finger Food of this two-part series, we will discuss how we can deal with the never-ending games’ requests. Stay tuned!

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