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Are single-player games dying?

  • Published at 05:06 pm June 21st, 2018

An argument about quality and profit

Electronic Arts (EA), one of the biggest game developers recently said that gamers don't enjoy single player games anymore, and that multiplayer games were the future of the industry. Many gamers asked the question "Are single-player games dying?" The answer to that question is a plain and simple no. Single-player games are perhaps changing, but certainly not dying. A lot of gamers play games to get lost into the world and are committed to the characters as well as the plot. In my experience, this is easier to do in single-player games which focus on a story. A great example of this in 2018 is Detroit Become Human which had a great story and characters that I personally got invested in. The gameplay itself was mostly making decisions, which some gamers might not like, but I didn't mind it in since in return I got a great story. A more popular single-player game of this year, God of War, focused less on the story and more on the gameplay, but that isn't to say that it didn't have a competent story. It managed to balance storytelling with gameplay, which is why many regard it as the best game of 2018 so far.

The reason that some game developers prefer to make multiplayer games rather than single-player games is that they're easier to monetize and make more money in the long run. At the end of the day, these large game developers are still businesses, and their goal is making money. They can make more money by making a multiplayer game and then having things in the game that can be bought with real life money (These are known as micro-transactions). This doesn't mean that single-player games are not profitable though. At the end of the day, a game profits on the quality of the game itself and its marketing. Battlefront II is a game that left a lot to be desired but was marketed well and so it made a  profit. Undertale, on the other hand, was a game many consider to be art, that barely advertised, if at all, but it made profit. The main difference between these two is that gamers respect the developers of Undertale for producing such an artistic game, while the same gamers lost respect for EA, the developers of Battlefront II, for ruining what could have been a good game with micro-transactions.

The fact that EA thinks gamers don't want single-player games anymore, shows that they don't know the first thing about the video game industry in the state it is right now. At the end of the day, gamers only want one thing, and that is a quality game. It could be multiplayer like Overwatch, or single-player like God of War, but either way, it has to be an enjoyable experience. That's what EA doesn't realize. Gamers will never be unhappy with a good game, be it single-player or multiplayer. So, when they say that gamers don't want a linear, single-player experience anymore, they're wrong.

The quality people have come to expect from games, especially games developed by big companies like EA, has gone up. The tools to make games are more widely available than ever, and one dedicated person who just wants to make a good game, can make a better game than a multimillion dollar game company like EA. It's not enough to make a game look good or have good gameplay. It has to be both, and more. I've been talking about EA for most of this article, but the same argument can be applied to any game developer. It's been years since gaming became a widespread phenomenon and it’s harder now to make a unique gaming experience. If developers stop developing single-player games, because they don't have the dedication to make a good game, then that's on them, but saying that gamers don't want to play single-player games anymore is completely and utterly false.