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Single player games aren’t dead

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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

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