EA hates single player games (or does it?)

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Anyone else think he looks like the lovechild of Harry Potter...and Dobby the elf?

Though I’ve enjoyed the odd multiplayer gaming experience, I’ve always preferred for my videogames to be a form of escapism as opposed to competition or digital socialising. I love single player games. Large expansive RPG worlds that suck me right in, or linear cinematic action experiences, platformers, city builders whatever. I love single player games. You know who doesn’t? EA.

In a recent Q&A, EA’s perpetually-in-the-news labels boss Frank Gibeau boasted about how proud he is that he hasn’t approved a game that was purely single player in ages. This is probably why you can’t have Mirror’s Edge 2.

“We are very proud of the way EA evolved with consumers,” Gibeau said at a conference on cloud computing. “I have not green lit one game to be developed as a single player experience. Today, all of our games include online applications and digital services that make them live 24/7/365.For all the investments we’ve made in mobile and social, we never abandoned consoles. We are working closely with the console manufacturers and we are very excited about the Gen4 consoles that will be launched in the months and years ahead.”

Of course, his comment caused a veritable sh*tstorm – with people hating on EA, promising never to buy the company’s “socially connected, online experiences” again. As you’d expect, Gibeau soon backtracked a little; saying games can be single player – they just need some sort of social connection.

“You can have a very deep single-player game but it has to have an ongoing content plan for keeping customers engaged beyond what’s on the initial disc. I’m not saying deathmatch must come to Mirror’s Edge,” he said to Kotaku.“What I’m saying is if you’re going do it, do it with an open-world game that’s a connected experience where you can actually see other players, you can co-operate, you can compete and it can be social. Everything that we do, we see the telemetry coming in telling us that’s the best way to build our business and that’s the best way to build these experiences and be differentiated from others.”

“I still passionately believe in single-player games and think we should build them. What I was trying to suggest with my comments was that we move our company from being a packaged goods, fire-and-forget business to a digital business that has a service component to it,” he said.

“That should not be misunderstood as the death of single-player games, or single-player experiences or telling stories. Narrative is what separates good games from bad games. Or great from good, even.”

As I’ve said before, I just don’t want any of this “connected world” nonsense in my videogames. I don’t care that JohnnYSexyPaNTS jumped further than me. I really don’t.

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I just want to play great games.

Last Updated: September 6, 2012

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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