Single-player games for me is my bread and butter as a gamer and many others that travel in the same circles as I do. I want an immersive story and interesting gameplay mechanics. Those go out the window when you play multiplayer games. If it’s PvP, it’s just 12-year old screaming at you how they slept with your mother/sister. And if it is PvE, then it is all about grinding as quickly as possible to get the best gear possible. Nothing beats an amazingly well-crafted single player game. You know, the experience I bought the game for in the first place, we have seen more and more instances where single player games have had multiplayer attached to them. Or most recently taking a franchise that is known for its single-player experience and making it multiplayer only (Star Wars: Battlefront).
One of the main reasons I still prefer a single player experience over a multiplayer one is I can play the game on my own time, my own pace and the way I want to. And it does not depend on the attendance of others. Also, my experience will not depend on other people’s performance. It will not depend on their behavior, their requirements of me, or internet access or how much time I have to spend playing. I am only interested in games that are fully focused on engaging me 100%. That means the entire game is designed from the ground up to engage 1 player, and really make the experience enjoyable for whoever is playing. Actually, I think these days it is easier to create a single player experience judging by the growing indie video games industry.
We’ve seen a good number of AAA multiplayer games flop almost immediately after release, Law Breakers being a perfect example of this. Unfortunately, some game publishers and developers seem to think that gamers like me are a dying breed and that the “future of gaming” revolves around entirely multiplayer competitive games built on cash-grabbing microtransaction, loot boxes, and pay-to-win platforms. Electronic Art’s CFO made that much clear in a recent interview. And of course, he would say something like that from a financial standpoint it is far easier monetizing a multiplayer experience than a single player one. Not to mention you will face far less resistance when doing so. And it is clear by Activision’s financials that monetizing a multiplayer experience is extremely profitable.
To the tune of over 4 billion dollars no less, so no wonder these people are trying to push for more multiplayer games. Not because gamers like me and the industry wasn’t to move in that directions, but because it is their cash cow that keeps on giving. And no gamers like myself aren’t upset about a company trying to make money. People like me are concerned that it is an attempt at making more money which will lessen our single-player experience and make it less enjoyable. The first Battlefront game is a prime example of this. They shipped an online only game for the simple reason of wanting to rush a game to market in order to take advantage of The Force Awakens release date. Gamers like myself are concerned that we will have to spend money in order to have a good gaming experience. I already paid the full retail price for my game.
So why should I spend even more when I already bought the game? Using Battlefront as an example again: If someone had bought the original Battlefront at full release price and bought all of the DLC, they’d have spent double their money just to enjoy a game. Does that sound right to you? I will never participate in microtransactions of any kind in single-player/story mode experiences. I paid the full retail price and I expect to receive exactly what I paid for. If linear single player campaigns didn’t sell then companies like Nintendo and Sony not to mention every single Japanese Roleplaying company would have been out of business a long time ago. Though I would not mind at all if EA left the single player space entirely, leaving it to companies and publishers who know that they are doing.
The last semi-passable single player game they developed and published was Dragon Age: Inquisition and it has been nothing but downhill for them ever since. Remember when the shit hit the fan with Electronic Arts decided to push the limits of microtransactions? And how many publishers, developers and gaming press and even some gamers came out to say that microtransactions are now a necessary evil? And that we are overreacting. And those microtransactions are due to increased development costs even going as far as to state that we aren’t paying enough. And ironically enough some people actually believe these lies and use them as a retort for justifying the existence of microtransactions in video games. Well, I am glad that 2017 proved these people completely wrong.
Single player games have reached new heights in 2017 if anything. We have had so many good single player titles the past two years, that we were spoiled for choice. While it is obviously true that the larger publishers wish to push the games industry towards a “games as a service” model there are other companies like CD Projekt RED who has filled the void and proven that gamers will reward you handsomely for providing a proper single-player experience. Just because the big name publishers like Electronic Arts have been in the industry for decades does not mean they are the only or preferred option, or indeed relevant to a portion of the game buying market these days. The moment they stopped creating quality single player games I dropped them like a bad habit. If everyone did that the video game industry would be a completely different place…