The Death of Single Player Gaming

brutal-legendWe’ve talked around these parts before about how single player gaming seems to be going the way of the buffalo, slowly shuffling towards some great doom in future generations of gaming yet to come. It seems that you can’t make a decent single player experience without trying to tack on a co-op mode or some kind of competitive multiplayer. Why, Brutal Legend and Uncharted 2 are recent examples of this idea in action.

Kotaku has put up a fairly thoughtful piece on the idea of single player gaming’s slow extinction, and what it means for the industry. The big factor in most of these multiplayer mode add-ons is that companies don’t want people to resell and buy their games used. To me, you can’t escape the inevitable- used games are here to stay, and there’s nothing you can do about it. What you can do as a game company is lower your budget and (gasp) maybe even the prices of games so that there’s more incentive to both buy and keep the games you want. Another great model is Fallout 3’s DLC packs.

So what do you guys think? Is single player gaming dying?


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12 thoughts on “The Death of Single Player Gaming”

  1. Woot! Brutal Legend in 4 days!

    As for whether single player is dying? Look at Brutal Legend. It’s a game that really has no right having a multiplayer component, being first and foremost a single player experience, and yet it does. I don’t think it has as much to do with not wanting people to resell their games, though…

  2. Everyone says this, but it’s just not true.

    Just b/c you have the option to play MP does not mean Single player is dying.

    Assassin’s Creed, Bioshock, Final Fantasy, Uncharted, Ratchet and Clank, Mass Effect, Zelda and tons of others.

    Dead Space is another one. People play by themselves, but they also like playing with others. Why are gamers so narrow minded that it has to be one or the other?

    This is a good topic, Eddy, glad you brought it up

  3. I’m not too worried about the “death” of single player gaming, seeing as how at least one game that was single player only in its original iteration -Uncharted- is getting a fair amount of praise for its versus and co-op modes.

    I say bring on the co-op! It’s strange, so many games fall into good co-op accidentally (Halo), while games built to be played with a two man team sometimes falter in their goal (Army of Two).

    You can have your cake and eat it too, but not every time. (The cake is a lie. Dammit!)

  4. See, my thing is that I am pretty much a single-player only kind of guy. I enjoyed playing co-op RE5 with Nick, but that and 1 vs. 100 are really the only games I’ve played online with other people.

    In theory I’d like to check out some multiplayer in a good game at some point (perhaps MW2 or Uncharted 2), but I think the biggest hurdle for me is playing with strangers. I really only want to play videogames with friends of mine, people I know.

    I just have terrifying visions of getting screamed at by foulmouthed 12 year olds while they teabag my dead character’s body. I’ve made great strides over the past year towards really becoming a hardcore gamer again, but that is still one thing about modern gaming that makes me really uncomfortable.

  5. Meh. For multiplayer I always have my CS, which is more of a Chat-Room-With-Shooting than a serious game for me and the people I play with.

    MP is never a reason to buy a game for me, it’s always the story or mechanics. Max Payne, Deus Ex (Even though they added MP in the Collector’s Eidition or whatever), Fallout 3, Hitman[s], etc etc.

    I think the list of Great campaign games way out number my list of “games I’ve wanted to even try online”. Modern Warfare was the only other game I ever really got into Online.

  6. I believe that Singleplayer will always be around. Whether it’s in the form of JRPG’s or open-world RPG’s, or other genres, some people will always want to play games alone and make games for one person to experience. Fallout 3’s story and environment and atmosphere is much more immersive than any FPS multiplayer. While I love Co-op stories (as long as it’s not a crowded lag-fest) there’s some quality about being alone that is irreplaceable in Solo stories.
    So Solo stories are here to stay, Co-op is on the rise which I love, and MP versus will always be around even after the Earth blows up. There’s now much more specialization that we’re seeing. If an FPS doesn’t have MP versus, it’s seen as incomplete. RPG’s are either solo or MMO. Co-op is the middle ground with either of RPG’s and FPS’s and other genres being able to fill that niche of player capacity. I think we’ll see solo games having to be longer and more story-driven while MP games will have easier access, more modes and maps, and more customization, all depending on the genre and role in that genre (ie Realistic FPS as opposed to Arena Run&Gun FPS, etc.).

    As for prolonging the life of games, DLC is the most efficient method of doing so because you don’t need to manufacture CD’s to sell it, and therefore you could sell DLC for free (or not). Also, the online transactions are easier to access and faster to acquire than going and buying expansion packs. It’s faster and cheaper, so whether the game is an open-world RPG that expands the story with new locations or an FPS that adds new maps, weapons, or gamemodes, more DLC equals more players and more money, so everyone wins.

  7. I am not to worried about the death of single player games but I would like some fps developers to focus more on a single player campaign. one developer who I am really happy about doing this is infantry ward, it looks like they really amped up the campaign in COD MD2

  8. Single-Player will always be around (I hope) it’s just, it won’t be the selling-point of a game unless it’s Jizzgasmic (there’s my word again.)

    I’d say a prime example is Frontlines: Fuel of War, the singleplayer was there, but it was bad. It was playable, but nothing I’d tout as a selling point. The real selling-point was the multiplayer.

    So really, Singleplayer will still be there, it just won’t be the biggest part of some (if not most) games.

  9. Personally, I agree with Anthony’s views on this subject. In the end, where there’s multiplayer, there will be a single player component, mostly. To completely limit it to multiplayer or nothing would be foolish of the game industry, as it would be basically ignoring a majority of their fan base that don’t enjoy multiplayer. I’m kind of on the fence about the whole thing. Back in the day, I loved Counter Strike online, and I got really into the competitiveness, but as things went on, I got tired of the flamers and all that, and now I play Counter Strike: Source completely with bots, though it’s not near the same level of competition, it’s also a lot lot less annoying. For the most part now, if the single player isn’t strong, even if the multi-player is great, I don’t bother with the game. That’s my $.02.

  10. Oops, and in regard to Cossack69 about DLC. Just because it’s not manufactured on CD’s (which basically are so low cost anyways) doesn’t mean it’s much cheaper. You still have to pay the coders, graphic artists, and anyone else involved in the content creation their wages. Which is where the total cost comes into figure. But still, it is a far cheaper alternative (as it’s faster to create and low-cost on a world wide distribution scale).

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