I despise the term “games as a service”, even more so now that it is partly responsible for destroying the launch of what could have been a stunning release for Rare and Microsoft. Sea of Thieves has immense potential, but that’s about it. Reviewers all note how impressive the foundations are but the sea is, unfortunately, puddle deep.
What consumers have at launch is an empty shell. You have no progression, there are only a handful of activities and enemies. Killing players don’t lead to many rewards, nor does it penalize those who die due to the respawn with a new ship and supplies. It wouldn’t be much of an issue if we were talking about a £15 game, but this all costs £50.
It’s not quite as bad as No Man’s Sky since Rare didn’t oversell the game, the studio just failed to pack it with content. It’s a strange one since the team had a good few years to get everything squared away. Content is planned for future updates but that’s already too late as reviews are in and consumers have made their minds up.
Sea of Thieves looks gorgeous and is fun in a group, but it leaves you feeling lost in the deep blue.
One could argue that the plan was to throw out the barebones to work on adding content in free patches later, but why? Why is this such a promising route to take? Developers know reviewers will review the game at launch and publish cores there and then. Developers also know that the gaming community wants value for money. Why would anyone wish to pay £50 for a game that isn’t technically complete, according to the roadmap?
Some even speculate that this is a move carried out by Microsoft to try and push people to the Xbox Game Pass. At this point, I wouldn’t put it past the company. Games as a service is a horrific blight on the community, just like microtransactions and loot crates, but it seems companies like Microsoft are adamant in pushing forward.