Blizzard's Rob Pardo believes that big-budget singleplayer games are dying out due to piracy, rental and a growing desire to "connect everyone."
"I don’t see there being a great business model for [singleplayer games] these days,” the World Of Warcraft lead designer told GI.biz as part of a larger interview. “It’s really sad, there’s just a lot of elements out there that conspire to make those games difficult to make now. Between pirating or the ability for people to rent games, it’s hard for publishers to pour millions and millions of dollars into a game and not necessarily see the return they need to make those budgets realistic."
“A big trend is connecting everyone in their games, be it a full online experience like World of Warcraft, or just being able to have a social experience with other people playing single-player games. You’re seeing all these sorts of elements being explored."
Pardo doesn't believe that this necessarily has to be a change for the worse. Experimenting with connected experiences (a common buzzword these days) could potentially allow developers to create entirely new genres, using a wide range of emergent pricing models.
"I think it's really interesting because it's not just about connecting someone so I can play with them," he continued. "It's about how I can have a social experience around the games that I play even if it's inherently a single-player game. I think it’s really interesting because it’s not just about connecting someone so I can play with them. It’s about how I can have a social experience around the games that I play even if it’s inherently a single-player game.”
With many AA singleplayer-only titles failing to make a dent in the charts, Pardo may be right, but the blossoming indie and boutique market is able to develop and release singleplayer experiences without massive overheads and increased risk. The humble singleplayer campaign isn't going anywhere, but the way it's delivered, its RRP and business model will doubtlessly change over the next few years.
What say you, dear reader? Do you still buy boxed singleplayer-only titles, or is the allure of multiplayer, rental and interconnectivity too great to resist?