Recently the news came out that Electronic Arts are closing Visceral Games (for once not a studio they bought at some point), the Star Wars game they had in development is being given to another of their development studios and that it’s going to be taken into a different direction (due to “changes in the market”, thanks buzzword bingo). And, OF COURSE, almost immediately articles spring up speculating on single player games being doomed and whatnot… among other things contrasting under-performing titles like Dishonored 2 or Deux Ex: Mankind Divided with success stories like PlayerUnknown’s Battleground and Overwatch… I can’t even begin to state how big the apples and oranges are here.
Thankfully I have also seen several opinion pieces to the contrary, so people seem to have learned from past times when this topic has come up… because really, HOW OFTEN has this “single player is dead, online/multiplayer is the future” thing happened so far in different variations?
So, one thought here is that most big publishers will switch to mainly games that can be done “as a service” with continuous expansion of content, microtransactions and potentially other means to squeeze more than the usual 60 bucks “full price” out of players? I mean, okay… for how long have expansions been a thing now? Heck, I remember even the first Command & Conquer had an official add-on and DLCs have been on the market for several YEARS now.
Sorry, I don’t quite follow that logic.
Big budget titles have been a risk for publishers for some time now, that the market is not exactly starved for new releases (current estimation for game releases this year on Steam is at a whopping 6000, even more than last year) is not helping them either. I can understand publishers wanting to find additional sources of revenue to counteract the risk, but I have my doubts that things like loot boxes (as seen in Shadow of Mordor) or just pivoting away to other types of games is going to be the solution, the spending power of consumers isn’t endless. Finding ways to decrease budget spending / making development of titles or at least parts of that development more efficient might be more effort, but it could have a bigger impact in the long run. I’m not going to pretend that I have the answers, I’ve just seen some incredibly poorly thought out arguments regarding the recent developments in articles.
Consider this my 2 cents, don’t spend them all at once.
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What we are seeing here is the “Next Gen” bubble bursting with a deafening bang.
Games are getting more and more expensive to make with diminishing returns in quality and innovation. The gaming industry entered a technological arms race and interestingly enough, it looks like the big guys lost.
Graphics plateaued, innovations have run dry, genres are being milked and rehashed and nothing seems to pay off that well…
Nothing you say ?
I think the guys and gals over at CD Project Red might have a word in on that, with their phenomenal hit “The Witcher 3″…
You know, a single player game :^)
So yeah, the “X is over” is just hogwash we heard for decades now and it never really happens.
Single player games have been the biggest sellers over the last few years with the odd multiplayer hit here and there. Far more interesting however: The biggest losers have also been multiplayer games. And we’re not talking about underperforming by a few thousand copies, we are talking about stillbirths like Law Breakers and Battleborn.
So if anything, one might say that the days of the competetive online games might be on the brink of “being over” if anything.
Hmm…multi million dollar ventures failing immensely due to an oversaturated market of mediocre products…
Where have i heard that before ? Hmmm…
But yeah, as you said in your last paragraph, we might see more…”dubious” business practices, but the death of of single player games ? Yeah, tough luck with that.