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World Of Warcraft Lead: Single-Player Games Are An "Endangered Species"

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Blizzard, Singleplayer, Singleplayer games

World Of Warcraft Lead: Single-Player Games Are An "Endangered Species"

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?

Add a comment8 comments
Quietus  Oct. 4, 2012 at 00:13

Yes, I still buy single player games. Gaming is my escapism, and I have no desire to game with others.

Jerec  Oct. 4, 2012 at 07:46

Yawn, Blizzard blowing their own trumpet.

Single player games more often then not offer the best stories and experiences.

I find MMO's are great to hop in and out of, but for long term it'll always be SPs for me.

TTK  Oct. 4, 2012 at 09:16

While my preference is for single-player games, I have found myself turning toward MMORPGs in the past solely for the same reason that I turn to most RPGs on consoles: I enjoy character customisation. For me, there's nothing like owning my character, and allowing that figure to have an impact on the game world. With WoW (not necessarily with SWTOR or GW2), I always felt that my contributions to the world were minimal if not entirely missing because I never truly felt connected to the world.

Now, onto my box games: my favourites are games that I play in absolute isolation of another person (e.g. Elder Scrolls, Assassin's Creed, Enchanter Arms), but I do, occasionally, have the inkling to play with someone else. When this arises, however, I do not want to do it via Xbox Live; if I'm going to play a console game, I want to play it with a person beside of me on the couch. I grow increasingly annoyed with games like Dead Island and Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City which require me to play with total strangers who are, more often than not, horrendous to one another. This poor gamer etiquette is my very problem with MMOs: I don't like people who are rude, especially those who are for no notable reason.

In conclusion, I'm a bi-gamer, I go both ways, but given the choice, I'd rather pop a disc into my system if it means that I can avoid unpleasant people.

Stale  Oct. 4, 2012 at 09:31

"Piracy and renting?" Neither are new concepts, renting has always been around, and World of Warcraft isn't immune from piracy either, so that "connected experience" isn't anything to be revered.

phil16  Oct. 4, 2012 at 09:46

When I first read this my immediate thought was what rubbish but thinking about I could almost agree. Traditionally I've loved single player games. I could sit and play through something like freespace, command and conquer etc over a few days and really enjoy it. I have a massive collection (500+) of old single player games.

The problem is I just don't have the time now (maybe I'm getting old :( ) so I find myself playing more and more online stuff for 30 minutes at a time - Games like Battlefield and World of tanks. I guess times change.

Saying that I don't see them disappearing all together - just maybe going lower budget like some PC steam releases have been recently or some of the games on my android phone.

X10  Oct. 4, 2012 at 10:38

This just sounds like a Blizzard puff piece, like Jerec said, blowing their own horn.
His reasons stated are ropey to say the least, however Jonathan's analysis is a little more interesting.
Personally I am the opposite of phil16, I don't have time to play online games. MMO's with persistent worlds there is so much to do and see and to acheive all of that is just too time consuming. With FPS's you tend to play with complete strangers or if you want to play with friends you have to make so much effort that you all have the time to play together. Online gaming is for the young or dedicated who have nothing better to do with their free time as far as I can tell.

I prefer Single Player, I can play it when I want, on my own terms and feel completely immersed in a world. Having said that, there seem to be less immersive single player games about with decent storylines.

RiKx  Oct. 4, 2012 at 15:16

I can play it when I want, on my own terms and feel completely immersed in a world. Having said that, there seem to be less immersive single player games about with decent storylines.


^ THIS.

Quietus  Oct. 4, 2012 at 15:25

Another nitpick would be any game having achievements that can only be achieved in multiplayer. It means that I can never really get them. Oh, well...

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