There are no guarantees when it comes to releasing a new game into the crowded live service space. Whether it’s an FPS, card game, or MMORPG, players already have so many great games to choose from that wooing a big enough player base to sustain continued updates is no easy task. Each year, more and more new games attempt to plant their flag in the ground, but only a few are ever considered real success stories. Of them, these are 10 live service games from 2022 that are still going strong.
Blizzard’s sequel to its breakout hero shooter hasn’t had the easiest time since it launched. And yet, despite the studio’s seemingly best efforts to sabotage their own success, Overwatch 2 remains one of the world’s most popular shooters.
Fans of the original Overwatch were disheartened when that game was shut down the day before Overwatch 2 was released, and excitement over the game’s PvE mode was also quashed after the announcement that those plans were being scaled back. Still, the game has seen a steady succession of updates bringing new seasons, skins, and heroes to the game. There was even a recent collab allowing players to earn/purchase One Punch Man skins.
Rather than a full story mode, Overwatch 2’s first PvE content arrived in August 2023’s Invasion update – the game’s biggest to date. The four-player co-op missions in the update were released alongside a new battle pass, a new PvP mode, and a new hero – the solar energy-harnessing Illari.
Players have been enjoying the new cutscenes added with the Invasion update, and the overall love for the franchise remains strong. It might not be the esports phenomenon that it once was, but Overwatch 2 is still one of the most watched FPS games on Twitch, showing that there remains a passionate audience who want nothing more than to see the game grow once more.
A monster-collecting MMO has always seemed like a winning idea, and Temtem finally delivered the goods when it released on PC and consoles in 2022.
Having been crowdfunded via Kickstarter in 2018, players had been long awaiting the game’s launch. Since then, developer Crema has been working hard to keep the Airborne Archipelago regularly updated with new content.
The team have managed to maintain a steady cadence of releasing a new major patch every three months, keeping players happy with seasonal events, ranked battling, and even an official Nuzlocke mode! Temtem’s fifth update, Endless Night, has just launched, bringing with it a new Mythical Temtem, a new area, and a randomizer challenge mode.
With 2022’s mainline Pokemon entries Scarlet and Violet proving to be divisive among fans, Temtem couldn’t have chosen a better year to offer something a little different.
Warhammer 40,000: Darktide
Following the success of the fantasy Warhammer: Vermintide games, a similar title set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe seemed like a sure bet. The grimdark setting feels like a perfect match for a PvE horde game, and although Darktide launched with a lot of performance issues, developer Fatshark has been working hard to improve things over the past year.
Shortly after release, an Open Letter to the community addressed the negative feedback they had received from players. As such, most of the game’s updates in the first year have been concerned with improving the core mechanics of the game. Weapon modification, character progression, and gear customization can all be counted among the many systems that have received vastly improved functionality.
Darktide’s biggest update so far is set to launch alongside the game’s imminent arrival on Xbox consoles, bringing with it a complete overhaul of the game’s classes. Fatshark will be hoping to see a huge boost in the game’s population with October’s console launch, especially as it’s a day one Game Pass title. With a much stronger foundation for future content, let’s hope they can keep the momentum up with a banger second year of heretic slaying action.
Tower of Fantasy
While players eagerly awaited Genshin Impact maker miHoYo’s own foray into sci-fi with 2023’s Honkai: Star Rail, this remarkably similar-looking cel-shaded online action RPG served to fill the gap nicely.
Initially launching in its native China the year prior, Tower of Fantasy released globally in 2022 on PC, iOS, and Android. Since then, the game has received several large updates and recently launched on PlayStation consoles. Being a gacha-style game, chief among the game’s regular updates is the addition of new characters, although there are also plenty of new maps to explore and frequent new chapters in the game’s story.
A new area with an ancient China aesthetic was the highlight of the game’s latest major update (3.0), and the game’s playerbase over on Reddit have been calling it one of the best updates so far. With the PlayStation launch placing the game behind only Fortnite and Warzone in August’s F2P North American download chart, Tower of Fantasy should continue to operate as a worthy Genshin/Honkai alternative for years to come.
The third Splatoon game remains a big success for Nintendo, as the franchise continues to solidify itself as one of the company’s key properties alongside venerable stalwarts such as Mario and Zelda.
New outfits, stages, weapons, and challenges in each of the game’s seasons have helped to keep gameplay fresh. While the game’s first DLC, Inkopolis, proved to be a bit too thin in only offering a reskinned hub world, the upcoming Side Course DLC which is due to launch in 2024 looks to be offering a lot more. A new single-player story mode incorporating roguelike mechanics will no doubt be a massive hit with fans.
The breadth of updates afforded to Mario Kart 8 has proven that Nintendo is beginning to see the value of on-going support for their existing games, so it’s entirely possible that Splatoon 3 might still see more feature-filled updates for years to come.
Giving some of Warcraft card game Hearthstone’s key designers the reigns to the Marvel universe was always a strategy primed for success, but Marvel Snap exceeded all expectations when it launched on Android and iOS in October 2022.
Even the usual crowd of mobile gaming naysayers couldn’t resist Snap’s perfect mix of quickfire, accessible card battling, and beautiful art that draws from all 60+ years of Marvel comics history. That success has continued throughout the game’s first year of live service. Regular community engagement, a steady flow of new cards, and a succession of seasons based around some of Marvel’s most popular characters such as Loki have all contributed to the game’s ongoing popularity.
Marvel Snap is also now available to play on PC, so there’s little doubt the community around it will continue to grow and help it remain a mianstay among live service titles.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel
The success of the digital trading card game Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel proves that gamers still have plenty of time to duel.
While the similar but more accessible Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links has been running strong for a few years now, Master Duel aimed to be a more faithful recreation of the card game’s ruleset. Konami clearly have competitive aspirations for this version of the card game too, hosting the first ever Master Duel World Championship in August 2023.
With such a huge global fanbase of all ages, offering more diverse ways of playing and collecting Yu-Gi-Oh is a smart move on the part of Konami. Duel Links recently introduced even faster paced battles akin to Marvel Snap’s, further separating the two products. While fans may want to stick with either one, there’s also an opportunity to funnel newcomers through Duel Links to Master Duel or the physical card game when they gain more confidence and become more invested.
Alongside the happy coexistence of both Magic The Gathering Online and Arena, this format of having two similar games catering to separate audiences is no doubt the way to go when it comes to card games with decades of history and increasingly complex rulesets. You can be certain that Master Duel will run alongside the print card game for years to come.
The second offering from Amazon Game Studios’ growing MMO catalog, Lost Ark had already proven a huge success in Korea and Russia when it had originally launched back in 2019. And, only a few months prior to Lost Ark’s release in the west, Amazon’s New World had been a breakout hit for the studio, quickly making its way up the all-time Steam charts.
Despite all this, Lost Ark exceeded every expectation and currently sits at third place on Steam’s all-time concurrent players list. That isn’t to say it’s all been smooth sailing for Lost Ark since its global release in February 2022. Bots have been a persistent problem, and with the game’s hardcore playstyle, many new players have bounced off the game quickly.
Amazon has been working hard to address these issues, alongside bringing new content to the game such as the Iron Man-esque Machinist class. As an action RPG that fully embraces MMO mechanics, there’s really nothing else that’s quite like Lost Ark. Combined with Amazon’s commitment to building a portfolio of games in the MMORPG genre — they’re also publishing Throne and Liberty and Blue Protocol in 2024 — you can bet that players will have years of dungeon crawling ahead of them yet.
Diablo 4 remains one of the biggest games of 2023, but let’s not forget that Blizzard also published this mobile spin-off just a year prior.
Landing with a considerable amount of heat due to its notably egregious monetization, Diablo Immortal has, at least for now, lived up to its name. New updates have been arriving at a steady clip, offering big changes and new features such as the introduction of the Blood Knight class; the franchise’s first new class in over a decade. Immortal has also been dipping into Diablo’s past with the addition of the Tristram Cathedral, which veterans will remember from the original and third entries of the Diablo series.
Diablo Immortal’s reliance on cash shop purchases has been toned down a little bit too, but you’ll still have to crack your wallet open if you want to progress at a respectable pace. Still, few other mobile titles offer Immortal’s level of premium polish and features.
Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0
To the surprise of precisely nobody, Warzone 2.0 has had a rip-roaring first year.
While not all of its changes where well received by fans of the original Warzone, additions such as DMZ mode and proximity chat have added much-needed new layers to the game. Taking a page out of its battle royale competitors’ notebooks, the first year of Warzone 2.0 has also leaned hard into guest characters. Making their appearance as operators within the game, Warzone finally lets the CoD community live out the dream of pitting The Boys’ Homelander against Nicki Minaj.
With the original Warzone recently being sunsetted and new content for Warzone 2.0 coming with the release of Modern Warfare 3, Call of Duty’s place in the battle royale landscape is sure to continue expanding in the years to come.
So there you have it. Those are 10 live service games from 2022 that are still going strong, ands well worth a look if you need a new obsession. Will these games still be around for years to come? Sound off in the comments below to let us know what you think.