The live-service model has now become a staple of the modern gaming industry, for better and for worse. Popularized mostly by Fortnite, a live-service model essentially sees a developer add new content to the game via updates over the course of multiple months or even years, usually supported by some form of microtransaction or battle pass schema. While the live-service model can be the perfect way to keep players engaged for years after a title’s initial release, it can also lead to an experience that feels unfinished when handled poorly. This is what Ubisoft’s upcoming games, such as Just Dance 2023 Edition, and Rocksmith+ need to avoid.

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Announced back in June 2021 and released a week ago, Rocksmith+ builds upon the previous titles in the series to produce one of the most accessible, engaging platforms for learning guitar. However, as opposed to the last few games, buying Rocksmith+ isn’t just a one-time purchase. Instead, Rocksmith+ has a paid subscription model, with some live-service elements thrown in for good measure. And with Just Dance 2023 Edition set to do the same, it seems as though Ubisoft is about to enter a new live-service era.

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Rocksmith and Just Dance Usher In a Live-Service Era At Ubisoft

For $14.99 per month, or $99 for the year, players can access Rocksmith+‘s vast library of songs and tools, designed to teach them how to play their own guitar or bass. Unlike titles like Guitar Hero and Rock Band, Rocksmith+ actually requires the use of a real-world guitar or bass, which is plugged into the console or PC. From there, players choose a song and attempt to play along with the notes on-screen, slowly teaching the player how to play that song for real. According to Ubisoft, Rocksmith+ will receive frequent updates over time that add new songs and tools to the game.

At the recent Ubisoft Forward Showcase, Just Dance 2023 Edition was shown off. For the first time in franchise history, Just Dance 2023 Edition will finally be embracing an online component, introducing multiplayer for up to six players. On top of this, Ubisoft also announced that Just Dance 2023 Edition will have 40 songs at launch, a sizable library that will be added to in the year following release via free updates. These updates will also apparently introduce new game modes, seasons, and online events to the game, suggesting that Just Dance 2023 Edition is leaning heavily into the live-service model.

Aside from Rocksmith+ and Just Dance 2023 Edition, Ubisoft is also developing Assassin’s Creed Infinity. Though details are extremely scarce, even despite being confirmed twice by Ubisoft and appearing at the Ubisoft Forward Showcase last weekend, Assassin’s Creed Infinity is confirmed to have live-service elements. Assassin’s Creed Infinity is being described internally as more of a platform for future releases than a standalone title, leading many fans to believe that Infinity will add new missions, settings, and characters over time via live-service updates.

With Rocksmith+‘s release and two big AAA live-service games on the horizon, among others, it seems as though Ubisoft is investing a lot of its resources into the live-service model, which could be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the live-service model can keep a game relevant and fresh long after its release day if enough time and effort is put into it. For example, Fortnite is constantly updated with new weapons, cosmetics, battle passes, and map changes to keep the game feeling new. But on the other hand, when a game claims to be live-service but doesn’t receive regular content drops or updates, it can come off as greedy and disappointing. If Ubisoft is going to implement the live-service model into more and more games, then it needs to do it properly.

Just Dance 2023 Edition is set to release November 22, 2022, for PS5, Switch, and Xbox Series X/S.

MORE: Everything Revealed at Ubisoft Forward 2022



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