Single player games aren’t dead

1 min read


I’ve always preferred my games to be pure, single-player escapism. Online multiplayer has seldom appealed to me; if I wanted to listen to a bunch of whiney children I’d let my kids out of the basement. Like many of you, I’ve been a little worried about publishers’ insistence on tacking multiplayer or social elements on to everything, perhaps signalling the death of the single player experience. Dishonored developer Arkane Studios believes that death knell to be ringing a little prematurely. .

“What people say each cycle is, ‘Fill-in-the-blank is the new thing,’” Arkane’s Harvey Smith told GamesIndustry.

“If you’re old enough, you remember when it was live-action video games. At another point it was MMOs. At another it was social games. At another it was multiplayer shooters.

“None of those things are bad; they’re all great. But what the reality seems to be is we keep adding types of games and finding new player groups for those. The market seems to be expanding.”

Smith posits that just because people are playing the new thing, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t likely to play the old thing; just because people are pouring hours in to COD multiplayer, that doesn’t mean those same gamers won’t play something like Skyrim.

“Every time someone announces the death of the single-player game, something like The Sims or BioShock Infinite comes along and does different things well. So far we haven’t capped out.

“It’s not like DOTA fans are buying DOTA and not playing Skyrim, or buying Dishonored and therefore not buying Madden. I think there’s a bunch of different audience types and we haven’t even hit the limit yet.”

I’m convinced that there will always be a market for great single player games, just as there will always be a place for competitive online titles; one needn’t replace the other.

Last Updated: March 26, 2013

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.

  • Admiral Chief Erwin

    Long live SP. The only MP I play is L4D and L4D2

  • Dizzy Bear

    Geoff has kids 0_o

    • Sir Captain Rincethis

      If something that grew out of a pot plant and requires helium isotopes every hour, then yes, he has…

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        Pumpkin Patch.. ooo ooo Pumpkin Patch…

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      Yes.. technically his Sims 3 family is… “real”. So yes… he has kids… #ExistentiallyTim

    • I have an entire army of them.

      • Is the basement at least a comfy environment for them?

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        I have a whole family made out of paper mache…. 😀

    • HvR

      I heard they morphed out of his missing chin pubes.

  • Uberutang

    Love the header. 😛

    • Brady miaau


      Granny is awesome

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    They’re not dead.. they’re resting…

  • Scoobaz

    Love the SP immersion experience, getting lost in the digital world of whatever game it is I am playing. Please please please DO NOT go down the road of always online drm for a SINGLE PLAYER GAME!!

  • Deon Steyn

    I Tried playing GOW Ascension multiplayer this weekend. Got stuck in a lobby with a level 22 and level 19 players because there weren’t any other available. Me being level 1 when the weren’t fighting each other they basically took turns literally spilling my guts on the floor as soon as I spawned.

    Turned of the PS3 and went to the pub. Single player thanks.

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      Multiplayer is for the dregs of society. Real gents self-sooth alone…

      • Deon Steyn

        I know but I was rather curios after finishing the single player on a Saturday afternoon and just wanted to stick my toe in the lake to test the waters. Lo and behold a Croc bit my leg off.

        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          Yeah, I hate it when games throw you into the deep end against high-level users, instead of having a beginner’s lobby for you to hone your skills in.

          But it’s also telling that high levels would relish in your “noobery” and inflate their e-peen because of it.

          I think that’s even worse. When I face a low-level in a fighting game, and I notice that they’re struggling, and if they have a mic, I generally tell them that they can use this opportunity to train, and since I rarely bother with stats, those loses mean nothing to me. Also, you actually feel pretty good after helping someone else get a little better in a game.

          Only game where that doesn’t happen is Battlefield 3… but then I’m obsessive compulsive about liberating noobs of their dogtags….




          824 knife kills and counting

    • Sir Captain Rincethis

      And that is why I only play with mates in co-op.

      • Deon Steyn

        Agree fully.

  • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

    Single player all the way! SP FTW!!!!

  • Anon A Mouse

    Yet Diablo 3 and SimCity are both branded single player but are far from it. It’s more a social interaction experience parading as single player, and that is not how I want my SP to be served.

    • Deon Steyn

      Not D3 on the PS 🙂 Still hoping we get SimCity too.

      • Sir Captain Rincethis

        Burn! 😉

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        SimCity on PS3 and PS4… Free of the corporate shackles of always-online DRM! Gods of Gaming make it so!

      • Anon A Mouse

        I still have to see how D3 turns out on console. I will love to get me some D3 and SimCity on console if it is any good.

  • Sir Captain Rincethis

    Hear hear man. Games are there for a reason, escapism. And if you are someone who needs your folks to tie wors around your neck to get the neighbourhood CoD player to play with you, then you may want, nay NEED, single player. I really don’t see it ever dying!

  • OVG


    Now would you KINDLY play BIOSHOCK 3 BABY!!!

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      OVG, you old soft sock… you missed out on some classic Bobby Kotick/Early Jim Lenoir trolling… 🙁 Sadly, now I’m spent and need to recharge my batteries with some Earl Grey.

      • OVG

        Have some Red Bush with a sprinkle of Dassie poop and be a real Columbian.

        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          Sir, you need to change your jobs, and return to the glory of LG’s resident crazy old codger. Rincethis and I can’t hold your jockstrap at unadulterated fury and craziness.

          Maybe quit your job, and move in with Rincey… let him pay the bills while you troll for Awesome-effect.

      • Sir Captain Rincethis

        It is a sad, ever since @jasoncourt0:disqus ‘s manager shortened the chain, we rarely hear his RAGE.

    • Would you KINDLY buy me one for PS3? Spanks Honey Boo Boo Child! XD

  • When I was young
    I never needed anyone
    And playing games was just for fun
    Those days are gone

    Playin’ alone
    I think of all the games I’ve owned
    When I put on the game at home
    I was all alone

    All by myself
    Don’t wanna play
    All by myself

    Hard to be sure
    Sometimes I feel so insecure
    Hated not being called fag or gay or more
    Multiplayer was my cure

    All by myself
    Don’t wanna play
    All by myself

    All by myself
    Don’t wanna play
    All by myself

    When I was young
    I never needed any talent
    And playing COD was just for fun
    Those days are gone

    All by myself
    Don’t wanna play
    All by myself

    • OVG

      Ode of the week 🙂

    • Sir Captain Rincethis

      *Slow clap. Bloody marvellous!

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      Post of the Week! Nay Post of the Month!

    • FoxOneZA

      Whitney x Gamer

    • Lovely stuff!!

    • Anon A Mouse

      This is man tears rolling down my cheek and I’m chopping onions….. Shut UP!!!

  • You don’t always want to play with other people and the internet is becoming obese with rude trolls and foul mouthed, pre-teen, daddy buys me everything, I’m gangster with me side brushed hairstyle, Lil wayne makes the best music ever, YMCMB douche bag kids … some times, all we want is to relax, load up a single player game (WHENEVER WE WANT TO -no internet required- ) and enjoy a game alone ….

  • TriangularRoom

    I even play Guild Wars 2 like it’s a single player game. LONG LIVE SINGLE PLAYER!!

  • Xelus

    Somehow, sometimes I wonder if A.I. isn’t closer to human intellect, the things i’ve seen retard players do in multiplayer makes A.I. look like veterans… I still prefer singleplayer over multiplayer…

  • Kromas

    Dota fans are buying Dota. That made me lol as I get another email from steam saying Ive got 5 more copies to give away.

    • Hey I bought my dota 2 key back when invites were scarce 😛 It came with some shiny items too! Now I have about 15 beta keys or so xD

  • silverscorpio

    I also do not really play multiplayer and do not like this social trend. There is a place for it in gaming but it must not dominate the experience. It however concern me when publishers go out of their way to make a crappy single player game and blast all the money on the multiplayer aspect thereof hoping that one day they can cut out singleplayer games and only make multiplayer games because it is cheaper for them.

    • Eric Viljoen

      I dont mind the social element. I do, however, want to have a choice on whether I want to use it or not. XCOM: Enemy Unknown was a single player game. But I could choose to play multiplayer as well. The two didn’t have anything to do with each other however. No one knew what happened in my single player campaigns

  • WernerE

    Wait… There is Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax Lego? What kind of Discworld Wizardry is this?!

  • matthurstrsa

    SP for me as well! Hear hear! We should all lan and play SP games together 🙂

  • Koko

    Where can I get those Discworld lego’s?!

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