Decline of Single Player Games

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#1 Posted by Cboy95 (136 posts) -

I've been reading stories about the decline of single player games. I, for one, enjoys single player games and rarely bothers with the multiplayer.

Games like Titanfall and Star Wars Battlefront were heavily criticized for not having single player content until they are added in the sequel.

Then, there are games that needed an online connection to be playable even though some single player content can be played offline. In Need for Speed Rivals and The Division, you can't pause the game because you are always online when you are playing solo.

Now, while there have been some great single player games recently, I can't help shake the feeling that they are being overshadowed by multiplayer focused games such as Overwatch and Rainbow Six Siege, but you don't hear anybody complaining about them not having single player content or being online only.

About a month ago, EA shut down Visceral Games canceling plans for a single player Star Wars game.

Companies like Bethesda have shown that they committed to single player games. Again, there are some great single player games out there. Wolfenstein 2, Assassin's Creed Origins, and Doom 2016 being a few examples, and I hope other companies pay close attention to this.

So, should we expect a decline of single player games in the near future?

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#3 Edited by RSM-HQ (7183 posts) -

@cboy95: You realise what you read is clickbait right. Single Player games are doing just fine_

(2017)

Prey

Nier: Automata

The Evil Within 2

Nioh

Resident Evil 7

Super Mario Odyssey

Horizon Zero Dawn

Assassin's Creed Origins

A Hat in Time

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Persona 5

*the list goes on, and 2018 looks no different. Visceral Games is a terrible lose and really the only developer I cared still at EA for a, potentially good product. Yet that one developers death isn't going to make it rain blood or something crazy, Single Player games are doing great.

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#4 Edited by speedfreak48t5p (13173 posts) -

No, Single Player games aren't going nowhere anytime soon. Which makes me happy. Playing GTA V again really makes me appreciate how good they can be.

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#5 Posted by Lembu90 (375 posts) -

I agree and disagree with your opinions about the decline of single player games and I will cover both of them one by one. I agree with the recent decline of single player games from big developers as they switched to more multiplayer games that charged you extra(read: microstransactions). The biggest offenders are Electronic Arts, Rockstar and Blizzard. Take GTA 5 for example which began its life as a single player game but when multiplayer mode introduced months later after its launch, Rockstar found itself too busy handling the servers and recently their single player DLC which promised from 2013 has been officially cancelled. Final Fantasy XV will follow GTA 5 after its multiplayer mode which be released in this month(December 2017). For big studios and companies, it's all about money and milking gamers.

For disagree part, I believe the true saviors of single player games are smaller, independent studios. Take the upcoming Battletech, Dual Gear and Phantom Brigade for examples as they were developed by small indie studios. Dual Gear was in fact developed in Thailand with the help from some Japanese veteran developers. Some of those were developed by bigger studios also lacked of multiplayer elements like Super Robot Wars V and SD Gundam G Generation Genesis despite not available in North America and Europe except by import.

Single player games are fare from dead even though some big companies want them dead. Small indie studios will keep it alive.

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#6 Edited by TheGameWing (20 posts) -

As long as we have companies like Nintendo, Naughty Dog, Bethesda, From Software, CD Projekt Red, indie developers, etc. single player games won't die.

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#7 Edited by Wolfgang133 (66 posts) -

I sure don't see singleplayer games going into decline anytime soon. Some games I've played are only singleplayer games. Most of your point/click adventure games are that way and may as well be that way since these games are not designed to be played as a team or group. I personally prefer singleplayer mode to multiplayer mode myself. Deathmatch and team deathmatch get pretty old after a short while.

Coop mode is fine in games featuring zombies and hordes of monsters like Killing Floor series.

Killing Floor is the only game I know that I would rather play in coop mode as opposed to singleplayer.

Many action shooter games have multiplayer mode but don't have any servers or players online so they may as well be just singleplayer games only.

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#8 Posted by soul_starter (1376 posts) -

@Enragedhydra: I'm sure he was talking a bit more with regards to big, AAA titles.

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#9 Edited by TryIt (11517 posts) -

@cboy95 said:

I've been reading stories about the decline of single player games. I, for one, enjoys single player games and rarely bothers with the multiplayer.

...

Game Journalism only cares about a handful of developers and they usually just recite the same thing those developers are trying to 'sell' the public. Be it 'Destiny is like an MMO' to the now trend of 'there arent any single player games anymore'

The problem is, the are only looking at a handful of developers and call that pool 'games' they ignore the literally thousands of games coming out likely every year that exist on Steam and that people are buying by the millions.

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#10 Posted by Clefdefa (605 posts) -

SP game are far from declining but the rise of MP game continue. We see more games with only MP or with a MP section that they don't need.

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#12 Edited by Cboy95 (136 posts) -

This makes me wonder why can't we have something like these?

Tom Clancy's The Division of Overwatch

RWBY: Tales of a Strange

Would you play them if they were made?

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#13 Posted by TryIt (11517 posts) -
@cboy95 said:

This makes me wonder why can't we have something like these?

http://gameideas.wikia.com/wiki/Tom_Clancy's_The_Division_of_Overwatch

http://gameideas.wikia.com/wiki/RWBY%3A_Tales_of_a_Stranger

Would you play them if they were made?

I would rather play this:

http://store.steampowered.com/app/383120/Empyrion__Galactic_Survival/

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#14 Edited by pyro1245 (3992 posts) -

Only from some companies.

EA has been saying this for the past 7-8 years. I bitched about it in a blog on this site way back then Mass Effect 3 was coming out. I wouldn't expect any good SP experience from EA or any of their studios. Hell I wouldn't expect a good MP experience either, just BS micro transactions and stifled progression systems.

Bethedsa is still pretty good for SP games, we'll see how they do when it comes to their next big TES or Fallout game... Hopefully they won't have turned full evil corp by that point.

I can't believe I'm saying this but Ubisoft seems to be the only other big AAA company making SP games and experimenting with new IPs.

Thankfully those big greedy companies make up a very small portion of the games being released. There are still tons of good SP experiences to be had from smaller devs.

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#15 Edited by Macutchi (6297 posts) -

@cboy95 said:

I've been reading stories about the decline of single player games. I, for one, enjoys single player games and rarely bothers with the multiplayer.

Games like Titanfall and Star Wars Battlefront were heavily criticized for not having single player content until they are added in the sequel.

Then, there are games that needed an online connection to be playable even though some single player content can be played offline. In Need for Speed Rivals and The Division, you can't pause the game because you are always online when you are playing solo.

Now, while there have been some great single player games recently, I can't help shake the feeling that they are being overshadowed by multiplayer focused games such as Overwatch and Rainbow Six Siege, but you don't hear anybody complaining about them not having single player content or being online only.

About a month ago, EA shut down Visceral Games canceling plans for a single player Star Wars game.

Companies like Bethesda have shown that they committed to single player games. Again, there are some great single player games out there. Wolfenstein 2, Assassin's Creed Origins, and Doom 2016 being a few examples, and I hope other companies pay close attention to this.

So, should we expect a decline of single player games in the near future?

i made a similar thread about a year ago asking if sp fps are slowly dying. someone dredged it up a few days ago. i mention it because the vast majority of games you give as examples are fps. despite wolfenstein 2, battlefront 2, destiny 2 and cod ww2 releasing this year i still believe the sentiment is largely true or at the very least that the genre has stagnated over the years and shows little sign of recovering.

looking back ten years ago i see games like crysis, half life 2 ep2, stalker, halo 3 and cod mw. fps which all were either pushing the boundaries as shooters or major improvements over their predecessors. i don't think there's been many games since which have represented anything like what those games did in terms of evolution or expansion of the genre. but that's just my opinion, and one genre (pure fps).

in general, single player games are thriving. there'll always be scumbag companies like ubisoft, desperate to rinse every penny they can out of their tired old franchises, and ea who have a licence to print money through beloved household names (star wars, mass effect, need for speed) if they could only just produce good games and / or resist the urge to lock anything remotely worth having behind a paywall. thankfully companies like those are the minority and are rightly ridiculed by the gaming public every time they attempt something underhanded

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#16 Edited by Black_Knight_00 (21252 posts) -

People who say "nope, look at all these single player games!" are a bit like those climate change deniers who bring snow on TV and say "look, snow!"

A decline doesn't go from 100 to 0 overnight, it's a steady roll downhill: in 2017 millions of gamers play nothing other than multiplayer games (MOBAs, shooters, MMOs, etc.) and millions more only touch a single player game when they are briefly bored with multiplayer or when something they really want comes out. Go back a decade and a half and see if those figures were any different. See the decline now?

There is also the fact that game publishers don't want to fund AAA single player games anymore: the business model of their dreams is a $60 multiplayer-only game with microtransations: it's cheaper to make and it opens to the door to uncapped monetization. As a result they are looking at scaling down and if possible phasing out single player entirely. The fact that digital distribution and crowdfunding have allowed a lot of indie developers to make single player games that no publisher wanted to fund is a great thing and has definitely slowed down the decline, but denying it because of that is simply sort-sighted.

If you still don't see it, here's someone who does: on the opposite end of the marketing spectrum you have companies like Bethesda, who still feel like they can bet on single player, but the fact they are in the minority is underlined by this being their marketing strategy:

Loading Video...

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#17 Edited by RSM-HQ (7183 posts) -

@Black_Knight_00: Nah, you're just being paranoid.

Millions of people have been playing MMO/ FPS/ MOBAs for many, many years now. It's not a new trend.

You may have heard of these big names like World of Warcraft, Counter Strike Global Offensive, and Defence of the Ancients. Newest of which was made over five years ago_

That Bethesda advert is a comedy, showing a current hot-clickbait subject they can feed off, and Bethesda wants you to get sucked into the marketing campaign and buy Bethesda games.

That's how marketing works.

But on that subject; and Bethesda. Isn't The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim still one of the best selling games of all time?

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#18 Edited by Black_Knight_00 (21252 posts) -

@RSM-HQ said:

@Black_Knight_00: Nah, you're just being paranoid.

Millions of people have been playing MMO/ FPS/ MOBAs for many, many years now. It's not a new trend.

You may have heard of these big names like World of Warcraft, Counter Strike Global Offensive, and Defence of the Ancients. Newest of which was made over five years ago_

That Bethesda advert is a comedy, showing a current hot-clickbait subject they can feed off, and Bethesda wants you to get sucked into the marketing campaign and buy Bethesda games.

That's how marketing works.

But on that subject; and Bethesda. Isn't The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim still one of the best selling games of all time?

That's right, the decline has been proceeding for about a decade. Again: you don't go from 100 to 0 overnight.

The comedic tone of the advert is irrelevant: it's a marketing strategy like any other, made to respond to a buzz in the market.

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#19 Posted by Macutchi (6297 posts) -

@Black_Knight_00 said:

People who say "nope, look at all these single player games!" are a bit like those climate change deniers who bring snow on TV and say "look, snow!"

A decline doesn't go from 100 to 0 overnight, it's a steady roll downhill: in 2017 millions of gamers play nothing other than multiplayer games (MOBAs, shooters, MMOs, etc.) and millions more only touch a single player game when they are briefly bored with multiplayer or when something they really want comes out. Go back a decade and a half and see if those figures were any different. See the decline now?

do you have these figures? otherwise it just sounds anecdotal.

i can see your point about the lure of the mp / microtransaction game to publishers. i imagine the margins made on single player games have tightened as expectation of production values grow from consumers, and publishers will be nervous about their sp game flopping so may err on the side of caution with the game style, but i'm still seeing a wealth of sp games from the past few years with many more big ones in the offing for 2018. rdr 2's sp will be an interesting barometer now that r* have discovered micro transactions

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#20 Edited by Black_Knight_00 (21252 posts) -

@Macutchi said:

do you have these figures? otherwise it just sounds anecdotal.

i can see your point about the lure of the mp / microtransaction game to publishers. i imagine the margins made on single player games have tightened as expectation of production values grow from consumers, and publishers will be nervous about their sp game flopping so may err on the side of caution with the game style, but i'm still seeing a wealth of sp games from the past few years with many more big ones in the offing for 2018. rdr 2's sp will be an interesting barometer now that r* have discovered micro transactions

And if the title of this thread was "Single player is dead!" you would have a point, but since we are discussing a decline of single player, pointing out how single player games are still doing fine doesn't really help. It would be like denying the decline in sales of laptops corresponding to the rise of tablets and smartphones, citing the fact that laptops are still being sold. We are looking at a descending parable in the nearly 20 years since Quake 3 and Ultima Online, not just taking a snapshot of the current year.

There is nothing anecdotal about pointing out that virtually all of us know at least one person who only or mostly plays Overwatch or Destiny or Warframe or WoW or LoL or Hearthstone: it's a shared experience for most gamers to have at least one friend or coworker whose only interaction with videogames is a multiplayer game. Go back 15 or 20 years and the number of people doing that was logically much lower simply due to the online infrastructure being rough and spotty.

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#21 Posted by Jacanuk (16321 posts) -

@cboy95: Easy answer is no of course not.

Single player games are still being made and will be made , it´s just the normal BS people come out with.

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#22 Posted by TryIt (11517 posts) -

@Black_Knight_00 said:
@Macutchi said:

do you have these figures? otherwise it just sounds anecdotal.

i can see your point about the lure of the mp / microtransaction game to publishers. i imagine the margins made on single player games have tightened as expectation of production values grow from consumers, and publishers will be nervous about their sp game flopping so may err on the side of caution with the game style, but i'm still seeing a wealth of sp games from the past few years with many more big ones in the offing for 2018. rdr 2's sp will be an interesting barometer now that r* have discovered micro transactions

And if the title of this thread was "Single player is dead!" you would have a point, but since we are discussing a decline of single player, pointing out how single player games are still doing fine doesn't really help. It would be like denying the decline in sales of laptops corresponding to the rise of tablets and smartphones, citing the fact that laptops are still being sold. We are looking at a descending parable in the nearly 20 years since Quake 3 and Ultima Online, not just taking a snapshot of the current year.

There is nothing anecdotal about pointing out that virtually all of us know at least one person who only or mostly plays Overwatch or Destiny or Warframe or WoW or LoL or Hearthstone: it's a shared experience for most gamers to have at least one friend or coworker whose only interaction with videogames is a multiplayer game. Go back 15 or 20 years and the number of people doing that was logically much lower simply due to the online infrastructure being rough and spotty.

over the course of the past 3 or 4 years I have witnessed an EXPLOSION of SP games, so much in fact I stopped playing MP games.

The problem with this topic is that people assume indies are not games...but they are..and they are exploding in quantity and quality. games like The Forest, Kerbal Space Program, Space Engineers, Spin Tires, Emperium Galaxic Survival.

Sometimes I feel as if I am living in a different universe from game posters, I am seeing not only the best era in gaming EVER..but most of it is in single players

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#23 Posted by Macutchi (6297 posts) -

@Black_Knight_00 said:
@Macutchi said:

do you have these figures? otherwise it just sounds anecdotal.

i can see your point about the lure of the mp / microtransaction game to publishers. i imagine the margins made on single player games have tightened as expectation of production values grow from consumers, and publishers will be nervous about their sp game flopping so may err on the side of caution with the game style, but i'm still seeing a wealth of sp games from the past few years with many more big ones in the offing for 2018. rdr 2's sp will be an interesting barometer now that r* have discovered micro transactions

There is nothing anecdotal about pointing out that virtually all of us know at least one person who only or mostly plays Overwatch or Destiny or Warframe or WoW or LoL or Hearthstone: it's a shared experience for most gamers to have at least one friend or coworker whose only interaction with videogames is a multiplayer game. Go back 15 or 20 years and the number of people doing that was logically much lower simply due to the online infrastructure being rough and spotty.

actually that's pretty much the definition of anecdotal. it doesn't prove anything. when you mentioned figures in your other post i thought you might have some to back up what you're saying.

and then you say that the reason the number of mp players is higher today is because of the lack of developed infrastructure 15 years ago. but your original point was it's higher due to the decline of single player games. you're not making a very convincing case here mate

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#24 Edited by Black_Knight_00 (21252 posts) -

@Macutchi said:

actually that's pretty much the definition of anecdotal. it doesn't prove anything. when you mentioned figures in your other post i thought you might have some to back up what you're saying.

and then you say that the reason the number of mp players is higher today is because of the lack of developed infrastructure 15 years ago. but your original point was it's higher due to the decline of single player games. you're not making a very convincing case here mate

But that's not what I've been saying, at all. The decline of single player is due to the exponential increase of demand for multiplayer, not the other way around. Which in turn was brought on by the rapid increase of broadband availability worldwide.

And once again: you don't need figures to prove something that is readily and immediately observable by any gamer who is acquainted with other gamers: people who only or mostly play multiplayer games exist and virtually all of us know at least one. I personally know several, and they all used to play a ton of single player games before becoming absorbed in multiplayer.

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#25 Posted by TryIt (11517 posts) -

@Black_Knight_00 said:
@Macutchi said:

actually that's pretty much the definition of anecdotal. it doesn't prove anything. when you mentioned figures in your other post i thought you might have some to back up what you're saying.

and then you say that the reason the number of mp players is higher today is because of the lack of developed infrastructure 15 years ago. but your original point was it's higher due to the decline of single player games. you're not making a very convincing case here mate

But that's not what I've been saying, at all. The decline of single player is due to the exponential increase of demand for multiplayer, not the other way around. Which in turn was brought on by the rapid increase of broadband availability worldwide.

And once again: you don't need figures to prove something that is readily and immediately observable by any gamer who is acquainted with other gamers: people who only or mostly play multiplayer games exist and virtually all of us know at least one. I personally know several, and they all used to play a ton of single player games before becoming absorbed in multiplayer.

I very much strongly question this claim that single player is in decline.

I have been playing games for 37 years and by a LONG shot there are more single player games now for me to select from then ever before and they are extreemly good.

They arejust not considered 'AAA' titles. Things like 7 Days to Die, Space Engineers etc. Now to be fair those games have MP possible but they also have a very strong SP mode, much better than SP games of the past.

Sites like this one tend to write articles from the perspective of AAA firms and what AAA companies say isnt always true, so we should question such assertions

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#26 Posted by Cboy95 (136 posts) -

But still. You rarely hear anybody complaining about Overwatch or Rainbow Six Siege for not having offline or single player content.

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#27 Edited by TryIt (11517 posts) -

@cboy95 said:

But still. You rarely hear anybody complaining about Overwatch or Rainbow Six Siege for not having offline or single player content.

I dont know anyone who plays those games.

Put yourself in my shoes. Play games almost every weekend for 37 years. Stay on top of what is going on in gaming then in one year 2013 to be exact, the entire landscape for this person changed DRAMATICALLY. in about 3 years he got more games then he ever has had in the 34 years prior and for the first time ever he has so many great games he wants to play he actually feels overwelmed.

I have to call the meme the AAAs are pushing on 'single players' as total horseshit. and its not like we werent playing MP games back in the 90s....of course we were. AAA propaganda is what that is.

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#28 Posted by Macutchi (6297 posts) -

@Black_Knight_00 said:
@Macutchi said:

actually that's pretty much the definition of anecdotal. it doesn't prove anything. when you mentioned figures in your other post i thought you might have some to back up what you're saying.

and then you say that the reason the number of mp players is higher today is because of the lack of developed infrastructure 15 years ago. but your original point was it's higher due to the decline of single player games. you're not making a very convincing case here mate

But that's not what I've been saying, at all. The decline of single player is due to the exponential increase of demand for multiplayer, not the other way around. Which in turn was brought on by the rapid increase of broadband availability worldwide.

And once again: you don't need figures to prove something that is readily and immediately observable by any gamer who is acquainted with other gamers: people who only or mostly play multiplayer games exist and virtually all of us know at least one. I personally know several, and they all used to play a ton of single player games before becoming absorbed in multiplayer.

well ok, but i know loads of gamers who play single player games. i know gamers that used to play only mp but now just play sp. but so what, it doesn't prove anything. and your original post didn't mention anything about broadband availability. the insinuation was, people see some sp games and gullibly believe that everything's fine when actually sp has been on a steady and distinguishable decline for years.

it sounds more like your point is that multiplayer has increased in popularity as opposed to sp games have declined

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#29 Posted by Black_Knight_00 (21252 posts) -

@Macutchi said:

well ok, but i know loads of gamers who play single player games. i know gamers that used to play only mp but now just play sp. but so what, it doesn't prove anything. and your original post didn't mention anything about broadband availability. the insinuation was, people see some sp games and gullibly believe that everything's fine when actually sp has been on a steady and distinguishable decline for years.

it sounds more like your point is that multiplayer has increased in popularity as opposed to sp games have declined

Well if you don't see the trend I guess we'll agree to disagree. I suppose we'll have to see what the new generation of gamers does. I'll be happy to be proven wrong if they keep up the demand for single player content. Just don't be surprised if the opposite happens.

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#31 Edited by Black_Knight_00 (21252 posts) -

@Enragedhydra said:

Could the argument be made that overall there is more people playing games therefore yes we do see more people playing multiplayer but the people that played single player games are still there and buying those games and yes it seems like we have a very large list to choose from and it seems like there is more now and not less. Plus the explosion of people playing games has not lead to just an increase in MP games it has also lead to an increase in SP as well. I remember having tons of SP as a kid that started on a 386 computer but with the rise of Steam it seems we just get more and more SP games. With this influx of people we see more games on both sides IMO.

It could be made, but I know too many people who played single player RPGs for thousands of hours and then switched to MMO and never touched a single player game again, or others who used to play story-driven FPS and then moved on to Counterstrike or Overwatch and spend all their free time playing it competitively. I personally know a guy who can, no joke, recite the entire script of Metal Gear Solid 1 by heart, including codec calls, and finished every MGS game more times that he can remembers until he started playing WoW and never played another single player game again for more than half an hour.

I get the feeling that the phenomenon the many people like these belong to is being ignored in this thread for the sake of demonstrating that all is fine in single player land and no clouds loom on the horizon (even though game companies are basically texting us Top 10 lists of clouds looming on the horizon).

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#32 Posted by Jacanuk (16321 posts) -

@Black_Knight_00 said:
@Macutchi said:

actually that's pretty much the definition of anecdotal. it doesn't prove anything. when you mentioned figures in your other post i thought you might have some to back up what you're saying.

and then you say that the reason the number of mp players is higher today is because of the lack of developed infrastructure 15 years ago. but your original point was it's higher due to the decline of single player games. you're not making a very convincing case here mate

But that's not what I've been saying, at all. The decline of single player is due to the exponential increase of demand for multiplayer, not the other way around. Which in turn was brought on by the rapid increase of broadband availability worldwide.

And once again: you don't need figures to prove something that is readily and immediately observable by any gamer who is acquainted with other gamers: people who only or mostly play multiplayer games exist and virtually all of us know at least one. I personally know several, and they all used to play a ton of single player games before becoming absorbed in multiplayer.

But that does not mean single player games are dying , considering the amount of AAA games out there, its a majority which are single player games.

The only decline you are seeing is games overall, where we used to see a more broad game range, we are today seeing almost exclusive FPS games and most other genres is dead or dying.

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#34 Posted by RockField (470 posts) -

But here in the Philippines, most gamers play MP games than SP games because most MP games are free to play in our country especially the online games made by South Korea or any asian countries.

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#35 Edited by Starshine_M2A2 (5123 posts) -

Single-Player isn't going anywhere. If it were, why is the indie market experiencing a renaissance?

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#36 Edited by BobTheHollow (55 posts) -

I think this question should be looked at from two perspectives: the companies' POV and the players' POV.

From the players' perspective, I think there's been a gradual increase in interest for MP. NOT a decrease for SG, just an increase for MP. And I think this is only logical. MP was hampered by technology. Not only is the concept/technology newer, there is also the fact that different countries would reach "acceptable" average net speeds at different points in time, making it harder for certain countries to take an interest for MP until they do so, and bolstering the MP ranks once they do it. There is also the next generation (of people, not consoles =) to consider. My generation was raised in a world that was not permeated by connectivity and social networking and mobile gaming, the next generation was. It's only natural that they would take an interest for MP more naturally then the previous generation (of now decrepit old farts such as myself -not really, I'm 36). That been said, again, I'd like to reiterate that I do not think there's been a decline in SP, just an increase to the MP playerbase.

From the companies' perspective, on the other hand, I believe there's been a gradual shift to MP, yes. At least when it comes to AAA. That's where the monetary incentive lies, after all. That's where they get to sell the most trinkets. And as such, they (and by "they" I mean mostly EA, I think) have been spewing this "SP is dying" rhetoric in order to justify their actions. Again, it's only natural, but in this case it's detrimental, and we can still fight that corporate mindset through social media/networks and our very, very powerful power of choosing more carefully where to spend our money. But like I said, the playerbase for SP has not diminished, so of course there are companies willing to capitalize on that (either for monetary or artistic reasons... or both). And I think we see a lot of indies in SP because of lack of infrastructure to properly capitalize on MP and the fierce insurmountable competition they would have to face... also because they are yet sell their souls to the AAA overlords so... yeah...

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#37 Posted by DrRollinstein (1143 posts) -

I dont get all the pieces on a so called decline of single player gaming. Single player games have reached a new height this year, if anything. We have had so many good single player titles the past two years, its pretty ridiculous that anyone could think there is a decline. Especially a huge company that makes almost exclusively single player stuff. I dont get it.

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#38 Posted by -ParaNormaN- (1512 posts) -

The only way I see a decline in single player games is if EA became the Disney of gaming companies and started buying every studio on the market. I don't see that happening though and if it did, I would be saving a ton of money in the future because I would have retired from future gaming entirely.

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#39 Edited by henrythefifth (1726 posts) -

I only play single player on PS4. And I've been enjoying this gen immensely.

Great single player experiences: Fallout 4, Tales games, MGSV, AC Unity, AC Syndicate, AC Origins, DAI, Mirror's Edge Catalyst, MEA, Bloodborne, Souls 3, Mafia 3, FFXV, Watch Dogs, Arkham Knight, Mad Max, Shadow of Mordor, Uncharted 4, Just Cause 3, Thief, Witcher 3 and even NMS was great single player experience once they patched it...

I'm probably forgetting some great single player games there. But that extensive list shows that single player side is still strong. Sure, most of those games have multiplay elements and modes, but they do not force you go online, and you do not need to go online to enjoy them fully (apart from patching them, of course)

Did last gen have stronger single player experiences? Perhaps in the form of Dragon Ages and Mass Effect games. Perhaps stories were teeny bit stronger when they did not have to think about online modes. Perhaps not. I do know that Witcher 3, Mafia 3 and AC games sure have just as good storylines in them than any last gen game ever did.

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#40 Posted by Blueresident87 (5805 posts) -

I seldom play competitive multiplayer, but I have no problem finding single-player games worth playing.

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#41 Posted by TryIt (11517 posts) -

@henrythefifth said:

I only play single player on PS4. And I've been enjoying this gen immensely.

Great single player experiences: Fallout 4, Tales games, MGSV, AC Unity, AC Syndicate, AC Origins, DAI, Mirror's Edge Catalyst, MEA, Bloodborne, Souls 3, Mafia 3, FFXV, Watch Dogs, Arkham Knight, Mad Max, Shadow of Mordor, Uncharted 4, Just Cause 3, Thief, Witcher 3 and even NMS was great single player experience once they patched it...

I'm probably forgetting some great single player games there. But that extensive list shows that single player side is still strong. Sure, most of those games have multiplay elements and modes, but they do not force you go online, and you do not need to go online to enjoy them fully (apart from patching them, of course)

Did last gen have stronger single player experiences? Perhaps in the form of Dragon Ages and Mass Effect games. Perhaps stories were teeny bit stronger when they did not have to think about online modes. Perhaps not. I do know that Witcher 3, Mafia 3 and AC games sure have just as good storylines in them than any last gen game ever did.

I watch a lot of lets play videos covering many different games most of which have MP mode and SP mode. I have to say the vast majority of all those videos are in SP mode.

I think there are a lot more SP playing then these AAA companies think, but they know its easier to exploit people in MP by appealing to social dynamics

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#42 Edited by Gallowhand (591 posts) -

While it is obviously true that the larger publishers wish to push the industry towards a 'games as a service' model with an online focus, not all of them are engaged in this activity. While EA, Activision/Blizzard, Warner Bros, 2K Games and Square Enix are pushing towards this model, others are choosing a different path.

As previous posters have already mentioned, Bethesda Softworks is still focusing on single player experiences, while for all of their shenanigans, Ubisoft still has single player games as an important part of their ongoing portfolio. Another publisher that is currently working on several single player properties - including new IP - is actually the resurrected THQ under Nordic. Some may not categorize their games in the same space as the so-called 'AAA' publishers (I've always hated that nonsensical arbitrary moniker), but you could argue they are now trying to fill the middle tier of game development once more with games like Biomutant, Fade to Silence, Darksiders III, etc. Middle tier development was largely dismantled when Activison, EA and others amalgamated several studios into factory production lines as they doubled down on a few cash-cow franchises that they could milk on an annual/semi-annual basis. Now I think that middle tier is returning, which is a good thing, and healthy for the industry as a whole.

New development studios are springing up all of the time, joining the ranks of others like CDProjekt, Obsidian Entertainment, Larian Studios, inXile et al, seeking to meet the continuing demand for single player experiences, and while that demand persists, studios would be reticent and foolish not to service it, even if it is perceived as a 'niche' market.

One thing that people fail to take into consideration in these discussions of decline over an extended period, of course, is the fact that the human population has increased exponentially over the past 20 years. There are now far more people who play a whole variety of games, and particular genres have splintered into all kinds of sub-genres while new genres have been created, fracturing the audiences for certain types of games. When you see figures bandied about that a few million people are playing 'game X' online so it must be the best game since sliced bread, that does not mean the target market for single player 'game Y' has significantly reduced. We all have to remember that 20 years ago a game that achieved over a million sales was the exception, rather than the rule. A lot of popular and critically acclaimed titles that are still played today did not sell in huge numbers back then. Some of them were commercial flops.

It is all relative, which is why Square Enix was initially disappointed with 5 million sales of the rebooted Tomb Raider in 2013 and made grumblings that it was a failure. It clearly was not when viewed from the perspective of sales of the previous games. Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation, for example, took 13 or 14 years to sell an equivalent number of units. 'Success' may be measured purely in profits by the game producers, but it was clear that a core audience persisted for that particular franchise over a long period. The same is true of many other franchises. The original Baldur's Gate sold about 2 million units in it's first year. Divinity Original Sin 2 has already sold over a million in less than 3 months, and will likely continue to sell throughout the year. The audiences for this kind of content is still there, and developers catering to that market are proving profitable.

Attachment rates to particular types of games have not really declined that significantly over the past 20 years. On the other hand, some have not grown exponentially either, so I suppose you could argue from that perspective that some types of single player games are not as popular when measured against the likes of World of Tanks, League of Legends or PUBG. However, some clearly are. You only have to look at the long-tail sales of games like Skyrim to see that there are still front-runner cash cows within the genre, and those developers/publishers who choose to continue exploiting that market will probably be glad to see a decline in competition from the likes of EA or Activision because it means a larger slice of that market for them. The market will adjust, as it always does.

Personally I will be continuing to support the developers who make the games I wish to play, no matter what the direction the big publishers wish to take. When EA stopped making the types of games I wanted to play, I stopped buying their games. That's natural market forces at work, and there's nothing wrong with that. Just because the big name publishers have been in the industry for decades does not mean they are the only or preferred option, or indeed relevant to a portion of the game buying market these days. It's okay to move on and find new studios and game creators to support, especially when some of them are producing high quality games on a fraction of the budget of their lumbering corporate counter-parts.

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#43 Edited by Gk2011_Scoped_Games (3 posts) -

I think in terms of large publishers you might see a decline but where EA, Activation, and other publishers stop others will rise to take their place. Not to mention there are already great single player titles availible from multiple studios in the work.