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Is Single Player Mode Dying in Modern Video Games?


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I hate to say that I think it is. The reason is simple enough; Devs and publishers see making more money from multi-player/co op. Where we used to see games designed with the single player in mind and multi player/co op as an after-thought, now the complete reverse is true for a growing number of new games.

 

I'm one of the old gamers in the community and haven't really tried much or any MMO or co op because I really like the single player experience in games. I can see where playing online with friends would be a helluva lot of fun. But, I can also appreciate how some games sort of set a "mood" that is best experienced alone as a single player.

 

What do you think about it? Do you think the single player experience is going away or will this growing shift in the gaming world play itself out in a few years?

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Its becoming the after thought for many developers. Especially after launch multiplayer gets the love instead. Rockstar one of the former kings is just a greedy shell of their former self. No Undead Nightmare 2 they confirmed its going to be a Halloween timed event for Online by saying they have no plans on singleplayer and will focus on RDR2 Online. Sure there's CD Projekt Red but even they show in ways they're no better than other developers and publishers. Real singleplayer is dying though developers like Ubisoft are keeping it around....in a new format known as live services. Play with always online DRM and Denuvo with store advertisements everywhere for pay to win microtransactions.

Indie developers are getting bad as AAA with greed and abuse of employees. I don't really count them as they just copy and paste the same indie 2D pixel NES platformer game.

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15 minutes ago, 27X said:

I think this would be the part where I lay out via my job game design why this is a dead topic and the cycle of trends versus technology and social mores except I'm fixing to go get some bad ass food so the answer is

 

No.

 

the short answer is no, the long answer is no and the contextual nuanced answer is no and the answer ten years from now will be no

 

less does not mean lack of

Jeez, could you just stop beating around the bush and give a definitive answer?!! :classic_tongue:

 

And there is no such thing as a "dead" topic as long as it is still relevant (and isn't right on the heels of a similar topic). Also, as a game developer yourself, you might have a particular agenda to push..... vested interests and all.

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There is still great demand for single-player games.  Large publishers aren't filling that demand because they "think" they will earn more money from multiplayer.  There is a market opportunity there, and that means that someone will come along and fill it.  But you might have to wait awhile for the coming crash to clear out the companies who keep trying to push multiplayer down the throats of customers who don't want it.

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16 minutes ago, Sagebrush61 said:

There is still great demand for single-player games.

Agreed.....but, probably more from the pc crowd. Since the money is in consoles, that's where most AAA devs tend to focus. I think "single player" is being considered more and more of a "niche" market.

 

And though this might seem like somewhat of recurring theme in the market, the momentum seems to be directed towards MMO/Co op over single player. Just think about the social network and it's god-like influence over everything.

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3 hours ago, KoolHndLuke said:

Jeez, could you just stop beating around the bush and give a definitive answer?!! :classic_tongue:

 

And there is no such thing as a "dead" topic as long as it is still relevant (and isn't right on the heels of a similar topic). Also, as a game developer yourself, you might have a particular agenda to push..... vested interests and all.

Not really. Each genre piece has its own pros or cons, people declared fighting games dead in the late 90s, people declared rts dead after consoles became the majority platform, people declared the traditional jrpg dead after square kept fucking up left and right and mismanaging everything, people declare lots of things. That aren't necessarily true.

 

Witcher 2 and 3 were funded primarily by console sales, you know the guys that hate single player games supposedly.

 

Corporate marketing does not equal reality and since corporate marketing has time and again misjudged their own client base, I have rather little reason to expect tomorrow to be any different.

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4 hours ago, KoolHndLuke said:

Do you think the single player experience is going away or will this growing shift in the gaming world play itself out in a few years?

The latter. One of the first key things you are taught when you begin mathematical economics is that if a product has diminished supply from one line of production and disproportionately higher demand, then the line of production will simply shift to a newer one. Demand for single player games will not go away, it may feel like it is on that path but it's not. There are couple of factors you need to consider however, like demand overlaps and priorities.

 

I believe the reason it seems like single player games are dying is because there are simply more people playing video games now than there have ever been, and a huge chunk of those players are very casual about it with very little investment in gaming itself. They're satisfied as long as they get to play an online shooter or whatever while talking to their friends. These are also the people that don't keep up with any video game news to be aware of any malpractices by these companies, making total boycott of exploitative companies impossible.

Another huge chunk are extreme hardcore gamers who also like the idea of playing with friends or just other people in general. Many of the fan favorite IP's are heavily multiplayer, like Star Wars for example. By themselves EA's treatment for Star Wars games have been nothing short of awful but the die hard fans don't care because it's Star Wars, and they get to play with friends and what not. Breaking this particular community down into two sections further gives us a community that wants the multiplayer aspects while the IP is not tarnished too bad, the other that doesn't really care about the IP being tarnished. The latter are also the people who blindly defend exploitative business practices before anyone else.

 

But note that there is an overlap in demand here. Both the hardcore and casual ones want to play with other people online and don't really prioritise offline story/lore over online plays. This kind of throws a wrench into the system because companies have a tendency to make decisions based on what's bringing more money. So obviously, multiplayer/full online wins this because they allow the companies to put in microtransactions. This very much costs them their goodwill to everybody else but depending on who's in charge, it might not make them self reflect.

 

But decreasing production of single player games will only leave the demand intact, so companies, especially smaller or less influential ones would want to capitalise on this gap in demand, knowing that there is a ripe market for single player games where they can begin to thrive. Hence creating a new line of production. Depending on the performances of such companies they rise to prominence and have a 50/50 default chance of either losing touch from their previous customer-base and falling into the same live action microtransaction spiral, or keeping their integrity and keeping up single player games, knowing that the demand and market will always be there.

 

TL;DR Single player games have a more than big enough market, there will always be a company willing to capitalise on it, so single player games dying is not a feasible option from a economical and business perspective.

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Technology, social media, and other recent things have paved the way for more 'shared experience' opportunities. Very little 'new' is being offered to the public and when available, is consumed at a frightening pace.

 

Early arcade games as well as pinball used the top ten high score feature as a form of connecting players competitively. There will always be a need for some kind of competition between players. That said, I thought single player games received massive benefits in the form of storytelling due to tech progress. Now that not much progress is being made, and the improvements to the internet it seems multiplayer is in fashion.

 

An old workmate of mine used the say everything is affected by 'ebb and flow'. The older you get, the more obvious it becomes as the old is recycled and resold to the young. So, no. Single player gaming is not going anywhere but to the back of the line.

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After reading some of these replies, I think people are looking at single player experiences/gaming the wrong way within the industry.  Multiplayer gaming is very much its own thing, FPS games, MOBA'S and MMO's will always exist alongside single player games which will also always exist.  I know people who literally only play console games like Fifa JUST to play online with their friends.  These people have never and probably won't ever be interested in single player games.

 

I would say the same for a lot of the people I know who play single player games, or least prefer them overall.

 

There is some overlap between groups yes, but when games like Skyrim or Zelda sell incredible numbers or even Red Dead 2 which released with only single player and has sold 25 million copies with only 15% of those players playing online - then its clear a single player base does exist and is very profitable.

 

At its core there will always be two groups seeking different experiences for gaming and they are both very large, as long as both of these groups exist their will always be developers willing to step in to produce games for them.

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I played ESO and can say that MMOs are the opposite of a immersive experience. The other players around you turn the scenery into a carnival of colours and small pets with irritating sounds. They also interfere with quests. I remember a side quest where I didnt even saw the boss, as another player have killed it before I even got out of the stairs.

 

Stealth then is near to impossible, as the npcs have psychic powers and can see you through the walls. In a single player this could be solved with a mod, but not in a MMO.

In a MMO the player cant change the game mechanics, but the devs can, and they do that each three months, frustrating the experience of many.

And there is so many grind, so many bickering about builds and numbers, it's infuriating.

 

Actually I see the MMO model as the epitome of industrial/corporative cuckolatry.

The death of single player games is the death of gaming itself. No freedom of choice, no roleplay, no diversity. What is left is just a dystopia, masked as entertainment.

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Blame normies.

It's always the fucking normies.

 

10 years ago, being a "gamer" meant you had a special hobby that made you happy and only a select group of people shared your passion for games.

Nowadays, every underage kid who just got a new iphone gift from his daddy, or the cat lady who just learnd to install some phone apps calls him/herself a "gamer"

PC games? pfff, we have apps for that now, grandpa.

 

It's all about the culture of the fast and the disposable. People no longer plays something to invest time in a hobby. They play to kill some time and then throw their games to the garbage.

So yeah, multiplayer and co-op titles are built for the garbage bin. Burn as fast as you can through them, play with your friends, because gaming is a social deal now, and most of all, play to socialize, because who gives a fuck about gaming when the true purpose of gaming is socialization amirite?

 

Anyway, I'm a social person too, but I dont give a shit about the culture of the disposable. I have enjoyed gaming for as long as I can remember, and I consider it a hobby, not an excuse to do something else. There is a time and place for everything.

Industry doesnt give a crap about mine or any of our opinions though. Normies and nu-millenium kids are the target audience now because they consume, and they move on to the next product. It simply sells.

So, I dont think single player games are disappearing, there's is still a few out there, but single players are not for the target audience. SP games are not for the people who consumes and throws away.

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The power of MTX is too strong and so we must lose some game companies and hit some kind of a bottom before anything good comes out again. Maybe if consoles just died for a while it would change things but that might make it worse because cell phones would take over. Maybe we get the crash when that google stadia thing fails.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 10/8/2019 at 7:20 PM, Myst42 said:

Blame normies.

It's always the fucking normies.

 

10 years ago, being a "gamer" meant you had a special hobby that made you happy and only a select group of people shared your passion for games.

Nowadays, every underage kid who just got a new iphone gift from his daddy, or the cat lady who just learnd to install some phone apps calls him/herself a "gamer"

PC games? pfff, we have apps for that now, grandpa.

 

It's all about the culture of the fast and the disposable. People no longer plays something to invest time in a hobby. They play to kill some time and then throw their games to the garbage.

So yeah, multiplayer and co-op titles are built for the garbage bin. Burn as fast as you can through them, play with your friends, because gaming is a social deal now, and most of all, play to socialize, because who gives a fuck about gaming when the true purpose of gaming is socialization amirite?

 

Anyway, I'm a social person too, but I dont give a shit about the culture of the disposable. I have enjoyed gaming for as long as I can remember, and I consider it a hobby, not an excuse to do something else. There is a time and place for everything.

Industry doesnt give a crap about mine or any of our opinions though. Normies and nu-millenium kids are the target audience now because they consume, and they move on to the next product. It simply sells.

So, I dont think single player games are disappearing, there's is still a few out there, but single players are not for the target audience. SP games are not for the people who consumes and throws away.

Actually, gaming has become more socially awkward over time. Think about MMORPGs - the social aspect was key back then and has been brought back with WoW Classic whereas the retail version of the same game is essentially single player+ with a subscription. People don't talk to each other, people want everything done quickly. Social interaction happen on private discord servers instead of in the game itself. It's the same with shooters like Battlefield, they've been dumbed down more and more to cater to those who don't want to engage in teamwork. The whole games as a service meme also has nothing to do with games being disposable, quite the opposite in fact. Publishers try to stretch their games more and more with needless padding to sell you all those """time savers""". Games like Destiny aren't designed to be played through over a weekend, they're designed more like a job. Invest hours upon hours just to stay relevant.

 

Games being disposable is a thing of the past. Sure, you're likely to remember how you played through games as a kid over and over again but that was because you were a kid and easily entertained. It was the norm that games back then were a mostly finished product, not designed to keep you hooked for several months or more. You played from start to finish and that was it. Nowadays games are open ended, you're never able to quite finish them.


Also, if you want to bring a point across it's best to not overly rely on buzzwords. For example, if you think about the phrase 'nu-millienium' kids it is actually quite a stupid thing to say. New millenium kids? As opposed to the old millenium kids? Those from 1000 years ago? Now, you smashing together buzzwords - 'nu' for 'new' and well all know 'new = bad and old = good' and millenium kids for millenials, this pesky generation that ruins everything, people will likely understand what you're trying to say but only if you don't think about it. For example, millenials aren't the kids anymore, millenials nowadays are mostly around their thirties. Calling the new generation nu-millenials is as smart as calling millenials 'nu-boomers'. But that's the thing with buzzwords, thinking you're saying something smart without spending any thought whatsoever about what you're actually saying. It's a bad albeit convenient habit.

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Nothing to it, spreading misinformation and making assumptions to make yourself angry, gatekeep and yell unreasonably with no points being made whatsoever just a lot of ranting bothers me but I probably should've toned it down. Not that it matters now lol. He wasn't gonna listen to anyone regardless.

 

There's a big market for single player games still, and very often games with a focus on multiplayer also have a single player option as well. Mainstream shooters like CoD and Battlefield for example have fairly lengthy solo campaigns usually, just like fighting games will often have a lengthy single player story mode and other modes specifically for single player.

The way I see it Single-player isn't being phased out entirely, not by a long shot, it's not a dying market, but when multiplayer is an option it'll be marketed more heavily because it'll draw more people and more money.

9 minutes ago, Mr.Otaku said:

Read that for a while huh? I mean hey if you wanna hurt your brain by all means do lmao.

I'm slightly masochistic, that said ridiculous internet arguments are pretty funny sometimes.

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Jesus fucking christ.

Is this individual still at it?

And he really spent all that time imagining things about me and trying to come up with clever insults? I'm flattered.

Oh and it seems he bothered making all kinds of assumptions about me and what kind of person I am according to his narrative, which I barely even bothered scrolling out of curiosity btw. Thought for sec I might give a person a chance. Nope. Definitely not worthy of my time.

 

Fuck this is hilarious.

Anyway. Sorry for the trouble. Curiosity got the best of me, but I'm done here.

 

 

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On 10/8/2019 at 1:20 PM, Myst42 said:

-snipped because quoting-

Okay I'll just give a proper argumentation for this then.

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Blame normies.

It's always the fucking normies.

 

What's a normie? A light hobbyist? They play games too, you're assuming this imaginary demographic is causing all the problems that plague that gaming industry, you threw a large heavy blanket over them and acted like this was all-known truth while you insulted a major section of the industry without regard for their circumstances and tastes or the way video games are made, marketed and released to begin with. This is your idea of "reasonable."

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10 years ago, being a "gamer" meant you had a special hobby that made you happy and only a select group of people shared your passion for games.

Nowadays, every underage kid who just got a new iphone gift from his daddy, or the cat lady who just learnd to install some phone apps calls him/herself a "gamer"

PC games? pfff, we have apps for that now, grandpa.

 

Gatekeeping isn't an argument, it doesn't add anything to the conversation. You're assigning stereotypes to further your demonstrably wrong idea of what's going on, and this is entirely arbitrary, people can share their passion for gaming all over the internet now, kids can play games, you were a kid at some point and enjoyed games. I'm sure when you were a kid some old man playing Parcheezi thought the same thing as you just said. PC gaming is the second biggest market for gaming, mobile is the most popular because of accessibility alone, everyone HAS to have a phone, and both of those are largely offline/single-player based. The market for mobile gaming is designed around the idea of having a quick session and getting back to life, that doesn't make anyone who has a phone inherently inferior to someone with a console or a PC, and again a lot of games on other platforms have this ideology behind them as well, namely the Rogue-like genre based around short adventures that make overall progress in the game itself and unlock new levels or features. "No true scotsman" would play games on mobile! Blech. What's wrong with games on mobile? Fate/GO is a massive RPG game that people spend thousands of hours on and it's free. Is there a lot of shovelware on mobile? Sure, but there's a lot on Steam as well as the consoles. Also 10 years ago the most played game was Minecraft, and maybe Left4Dead.

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It's all about the culture of the fast and the disposable. People no longer plays something to invest time in a hobby. They play to kill some time and then throw their games to the garbage.

So yeah, multiplayer and co-op titles are built for the garbage bin. Burn as fast as you can through them, play with your friends, because gaming is a social deal now, and most of all, play to socialize, because who gives a fuck about gaming when the true purpose of gaming is socialization amirite?

 

This isn't developed at all, you made several disconnected statements pretending they created a point. Multiplayer and co-op games are made to be multiplayer and co-op games. Dark Souls, Destiny 2, Warframe, Monster Hunter, Code:Vein, Cuphead, Isaac, Fight'n Rage, Risk of Rain(and 2), Starbound, Terraria, Minecraft, all extremely good and well received games with hundreds of hours of gameplay content you can do with people. All of them well received and all of them games you can play in quick bursts and quit if you have work or other things to do, and pretty much all of them have voice chat, not that you need it since you'd wanna be on Discord or Steam instead (both of which are very social) since in-game chat is usually pretty low quality. If you beat a game you bought you have every right to not play it again, what's wrong with that? You didn't support any of your points so this one's moot to begin with, not every game is made with replayability in mind and that's not the fault of the dev or the player. Senua isn't a game most people would replay because it's very story-based and very heavy-handed in its message whereas MGS5 has a lot of replayability value because of the open-world aspect and the shenanigans you can take part in, also it's a solo game, just like Breath of the Wild, Horizon: Zero-Dawn, Devil May Cry 5, God of War, etc.. Hmm.. all well received too.

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Anyway, I'm a social person too, but I dont give a shit about the culture of the disposable. I have enjoyed gaming for as long as I can remember, and I consider it a hobby, not an excuse to do something else. There is a time and place for everything.

Industry doesnt give a crap about mine or any of our opinions though. Normies and nu-millenium kids are the target audience now because they consume, and they move on to the next product. It simply sells.

So, I dont think single player games are disappearing, there's is still a few out there, but single players are not for the target audience. SP games are not for the people who consumes and throws away.

 

Okay, that's cool but what is the "target audience" you mentioned? There is no magical single audience of gamers, games are made for different people with different interests. Why do you have to sit down and devote time to gaming alone when you can do it anywhere now? I listen to podcasts while I game, I listen to music, I sometimes am writing, drawing, or doing something else between short gaming breaks. How is gaming an excuse to do something else? What is the culture of the disposable and how does it apply to video games? Sure I can see it with some technology but video games? Some games are short, some are memes, some are very long. What are these statements? You did not support a single statement you made and instead decided to throw in a ton of buzzwords and try to sound like you had something going but I have data showing that the majority of "gamers" are adults so you're demonstrably wrong saying it's all for kids and I'll drop an article pointed at the recent data below.

 

https://www.wepc.com/news/video-game-statistics/

https://techjury.net/stats-about/video-game-demographics/

 

Edit: Formatting.

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3 hours ago, megamantaray said:

 

The way I see it Single-player isn't being phased out entirely, not by a long shot, it's not a dying market, but when multiplayer is an option it'll be marketed more heavily because it'll draw more people and more money.

 

Yes exactly, ten years ago, in a year, I bought between 40 and 60 singelplayer games, worth 2000-3000 euros.
the last few years only 2 games, a loss of 2900 euros for the game companies! 
If these companies do not need money then I will keep my money.
I hate multiplayer with low singleplayer section and I will never buy such games. :classic_wink:

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3 minutes ago, winny257 said:

Yes exactly, ten years ago, in a year, I bought between 40 and 60 singelplayer games, worth 2000-3000 euros.
the last few years only 2 games, a loss of 2900 euros for the game companies! 
If these companies do not need money then I will keep my money.
I hate multiplayer with low singleplayer section and I will never buy such games. :classic_wink:

I tend to look for single-player games with some optional co-op stuff unless the game is very good, like Destiny 2, otherwise solo adventure stuff is ideal for me, something like Timespinner or Touhou Luna Nights because it's unique twists on the Metroidvania style and that's my favourite game genre.

Multiplayer is very hot right now but that doesn't mean single-player is dying, you just have to look for it, it's the same with movies. Smaller more driven and artistic releases are always coming out, they're just overshadowed by what's hot and what's popular. All it takes is effort.

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