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Is the single-player experience dead?

2 min read


Bod Dylan once said it best, with “The tiymes theyah areh a chenginuh”, which was something about change being inevitable, I guess. The video game industry has also been changing drastically over the last decade or two, as games have begun to shift more towards a sustainable online model, with single-player centric games becoming more of a platform with which to hype multiplayer modes. Does that mean that the days of offline, single-player campaigns is nearing an end? Not according to Shadows of the Damned Director Massimo Guarini.

Despite some above average and positive reviews, Shadows of the Damned wasn’t a best seller for its publisher EA, a decision that prompted Guarini to leave his position at developer Grasshopper Studios. In an interview with Gamespot, Guarini shared his thoughts on the state of single-player games today.

In my opinion, single-player-only games are nowhere close to being doomed.The problem rather lies in how they’re produced, through which channels are sold, and at which price points. I can’t see in any way a single-player experience being less engaging or interesting because of the absence of multiplayer. Instead, I can definitely see how players who pay 60 or 70 bucks for a game can be quite sensitive to the lack of additional features that can justify their investment.

Once again, the business model must evolve. We’re still selling at incredibly high price points because we’re still operating like we were five years ago, with just higher production costs. Instead of changing our perspectives, we’re still struggling to pack games with features, extras, bonuses, achievements, in order to barely justify that price tag, which is given by excessively high development and licensing costs. We must learn our lesson from the huge, epic failure the music industry is still suffering nowadays for not being able to adapt to the digital Revolution.

Guarini has some valid points there, as single-player games have been decidedly barebones affairs recently, preferring instead to charge customers a premium price for said extras that can lengthen the experience beyond the campaign mode. While DLC that genuinely adds to a game is always welcome, the industry does need to seriously re-evaluate how it packages these games if it wants that side of the market to survive, lest we begin to drown in generic world at war FPS titles.

Source: Gamespot

Last Updated: July 26, 2011

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