Aside from very rare dips back into Forza Horizon 5 and Halo Infinite on my Xbox Series S, my PS5 has always been my trusted console for all things competitive and live service. However, my days of flicking between the likes of Call of Duty, Destiny, EA FC, or Apex Legends are feeling increasingly distant, as of late. I love these games massively, but I feel like my multiplayer bubble is bursting – which makes this year’s sea of new live service games on PS5 both intimidating and concerning.
At the tail end of this year, I found myself growing further and further apart from the big-hitters above as my personal time became more limited. Despite having dedicated years of my life to these multiplayer games, I also ran out of patience with the long-running issues some of them were plagued with – the pay-to-win elements in FC 24, or the repetitive seasonal model of Destiny 2 are just two examples of that. Even the recent (and brilliant) newcomer, The Finals, hasn’t managed to fully hook me like it probably would have 12 months ago.
I’m finding the current stock of live service and competitive games overwhelming already, and I know I’m not alone. So what on earth am I going to do when several new PS5 games that follow this model join the party too? There are at least two brand new PS5 exclusives coming this year that are the product of Sony’s well-documented desire to go big on live service – those being Splatoon rip-off Foamstars and mysterious PvP shooter Concord. Helldivers 2 also offers up co-op multiplayer action, but seems a little less live service-ified than Foamstars and Concord.
Oh, and god forbid that the currently release date-less Fairgames – another competitive, live service game from a Sony studio – gets announced for 2024 as well.
While not exclusive to PlayStation, Ubisoft’s long-awaited (and much-delayed) XDefiant will also surely arrive at some point soon. I absolutely adored it during its betas in 2023, but now I’m unsure if I’ll be able to invest the time it’ll inevitably need. Oh, and Suicide Squad Kill The Justice League is just around the corner too.
Then the current crop of games and series will also have new content to jump into. Destiny 2 will get its crucial last expansion in the Light and Dark saga when the The Final Shape release date arrives in the summer. Call of Duty and EA FC will receive their annual sequels in the fall. Apex Legends will carry on excelling in the battle royale space. And, if Embark Studios plays its cards right, The Finals will hopefully continue to delight FPS players with its fresh approach to competitive shooters.
Trust me, I want all of these games I’ve mentioned to be brilliant. But properly committing time to even half of them feels like an impossible task. I have no idea how I’m going to solve my live service dilemma over the course of the next 12 months, and I certainly won’t be the only one facing a similar problem.
This conundrum also spells doom – or at the very least, harder times – for a lot of these games, both the new ones and the established ones. These games need players’ time to succeed. Well, actually they need their money, but that only arrives when players are confident that it’s a game worth dedicating time to. It doesn’t matter how great your cosmetics are, how often you deliver new story beats, or how frequently you improve the meta with a balance patch – if you can’t get enough people to commit enough time to your game, it’s not going to succeed (or in the case of longer-running games, maintain the current level of success).
Of course, this issue is not isolated to just those on PS5. So many of the games mentioned (as well as other big players in the scene I haven’t even had a chance to name drop) are multi-platform, so Xbox and PC players will share the brunt of it too. However, due to its live service push and the nature of some of its exclusives this year, the tremors will certainly feel the strongest for PlayStation players.
Even if all of these games do enough to be deemed one of the best PS5 games of 2024, I’m worried that I’ll be way too fatigued to enjoy them all.