Live-Service Games in 2023 and the fall of Rumbleverse

by Ben Kirby
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Last week, Rumbleverse developer Iron Galaxy, announced that they’re sunsetting the game only months after release.

I couldn’t quite comprehend it. A very well-made game, taking a unique twist on the Battle Royale genre. Mixing with wrestling, brimming with fun and chaos. How on earth could this happen? One of the games I shortlisted in my Game of the Year contenders!

Rumbleverse is, on paper the very perfect example of a good game. Great launch, a good concept, and smooth gameplay. Fun. You name it, every positive adjective there is.

What the hell is going on? I figured this game, like many other live-service games would just continue in perpetuity and I’d dip in each season for a bout of fun.

Rumbleverse screenshot

Iron Galaxy has left a personal note on their blog, and the date for the “sunsetting” is February 28th 2023. Not long at all.

At Iron Galaxy, we believe very strongly in the value of bringing people together to share meaningful experiences in games. Every single one of us is a gamer. It’s what motivates us to create. With the announcement of the sunsetting of Rumbleverse, we want to share a more personal note with the players who have joined us in Grapital City.

When you work on a video game, you imagine the community that will show up to play it someday. For years, we dreamed about a lively city filled with people fighting to become a champion. We strived to create a vibrant place that celebrated the competitive spirit. Our goal was to bring joy back to online multiplayer gaming.

The people who gave Rumbleverse a chance and took it on as a new hobby have validated every day that we put into bringing our ideas to life. We have loved watching you play. We have learned from your stories and your insights. We even passed around the art you’ve created to immortalize your best moments in the streets.

It is our sincerest hope that this news does not mark the end of Rumbleverse. You may not yet have seen the Rumble in its final form. If we can welcome people back onto the deck of the battle barge again, we hope you’ll be there, laced up and ready to take your rightful place in the cannon.

Iron Galaxy will keep making games. It’s our passion and our purpose. Our people are filled with skills and inspirations to keep the world playing.

Thank you for playing. This is not the last time you’ll hear from us. This is not the last time we’ll invite you to play.

Rumbleverse! Why?

As I’ve already said, Rumbleverse is a joy, one of the best games to come out last year and I love to dip in every now and again.

But that’s the problem, isn’t it? “Every now and again”. Not, every day to grind-out dailies and weeklies. Not, to buy the next battle pass and work through it.

You might ask me why? Why do you talk about it with such reverence but then don’t play it every day?

Rumbleverse is possibly a victim of modern gaming. A free-to-play game reliant on consistent play from thousands of players, and cosmetic purchases to keep the ship afloat.

When there are so many of these games competing for our attention, though, how can we possibly keep playing everything every day?

Look at Halo Infinite and what’s happened to 343 Studios. Another (in my mind) excellent game, struggling for a player base. Perhaps due to content/cosmetics and costs. But if a game as big as Halo struggles, how can a game like Rumbleverse survive?

I want these games to always exist so I can come back to them when I’m in the mood, but people can’t run services in the hopes that players might be in the mood sometimes.

The fact is that live-service games are hitting a point where the market is so over-saturated, with so many games competing for our attention, and consistent time input, that we couldn’t, even if we wanted to.

Rumbleverse - Stud

Sign of the times

I’ll be honest, my appetite for such games is limited. Rumbleverse did everything right, for me personally. And I still couldn’t make time for it, despite having a great time, every time I played it.

Launching through Epic, having reasonably priced battle passes and cosmetics isn’t enough. Even though it’s had a better shot than most, and is a better game than most. Rumbleverse somehow fell short of Iron Galaxy and their expectations.

I don’t know the cost of running a game like Rumbleverse, but if people aren’t paying into it as a free-to-play game, there’s a point where it isn’t profitable, and then not sustainable. How do you pay your staff if you’re not making money?

I truly hope Rumbleverse comes back in some way. I’d absolutely pay £20 for it, maybe £30 if it comes out as a nice digital package or something.

Battle Royale is my jam, and Rumbleverse did so much right, I can’t get over it!


What else is there to say? Other than farewell Rumbleverse. I’ll remember you fondly and pine for the opportunity to chokeslam folk off skyscrapers again.

I couldn’t believe how polished it was at release, and now I’m saying goodbye. It doesn’t make any sense.

I don’t want to put anyone out of jobs, and I’m sure many developers running their live-services games are working hard to keep them going. But surely there are worse games out there that should have gone first? Rumbleverse shouldn’t be going like this, not so quickly.

Goodbye, friend. We barely knew ye.

Rumbleverse - Dropping in

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