In Square Enix's annual report for 2021, company president and representative director Yosuke Matsuda discussed Marvel's Avengers, calling it "an ambitious title for us in that we took on the GaaS (Games as a Service) model." However, he went on to say, perhaps with some understatement, that "it has unfortunately not proven as successful as we would have liked."
After explaining that difficulties like the transition to work-from-home during the pandemic had to be overcome during the live-service superhero game's development, Matsuda admitted the way Marvel's Avengers was monetized was what held it back. "Nonetheless," he said, "taking on the GaaS model highlighted issues that we are likely to face in future game development efforts such as the need to select game designs that mesh with the unique attributes and tastes of our studios and development teams. While the new challenge that we tackled with this title produced a disappointing outcome, we are certain that the GaaS approach will grow in importance as gaming becomes more service oriented. How we go about creating new experiences by incorporating this trend into our game design is a key question that we will need to answer going forward."
Saying that Marvel's Avengers produced "a disappointing outcome" is one way of putting it. Another would be to note that Square Enix reported a loss of $48 million following its release. While its story campaign is enjoyable enough, with additions like the Hawkeye DLC apparently being quite fun, live-service elements like paid XP boosters have dragged its reputation down.
Meanwhile, the entirely singleplayer Guardians of the Galaxy has proved a pleasant surprise, with Fraser Brown calling it the new king of party banter. Its more limited focus seems better suited to storytelling with the kind of emotional heft the better Marvel movies are capable of. "After a pleasantly compact 15 hours," Fraser wrote, "I finished Guardians of the Galaxy with slightly red eyes but a big smile on my face."