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Single-Player Game Model 'Finished,' Says EA Exec 439

Posted by Soulskill
from the sorry-about-your-luck dept.
Frank Gibeau, label president for EA Games, recently spoke with Develop about the publisher's long term development strategy. Gibeau thinks developing major games without multiplayer modes is a passing fad: "...it’s not only about multiplayer, it’s about being connected. I firmly believe that the way the products we have are going, they need to be connected online. ... I volunteer you to speak to EA’s studio heads; they’ll tell you the same thing. They’re very comfortable moving the discussion towards how we make connected gameplay – be it co-operative or multiplayer or online services – as opposed to fire-and-forget, packaged goods only, single-player, 25-hours-and you’re out. I think that model is finished. Online is where the innovation and the action [are] at."
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Single-Player Game Model 'Finished,' Says EA Exec

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  • Piracy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Americium (1343605) on Friday December 10, 2010 @04:30AM (#34511910)
    It's also the only way to combat piracy that works. You need the legit game to play with your friends that use legit copies.
    • Re:Piracy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Xest (935314) on Friday December 10, 2010 @04:45AM (#34511976)

      Well, kind of works.

      Seeing as multiplayer is shit and not worth playing for around 95% of games that come out, I don't think it's particularly effective.

      Look at Assassins Creed, AC2 was fucking superb because they concentrated entirely on single player. This year they released Brotherhood with multiplayer and whilst it was still good, it wasn't a touch on AC2.

      If anything AC2 was proof that focussing on single player can lead to a far superior experience, even if it means sacrificing a multiplayer mode, which will be dead in the water within a few weeks, or couple of months after release anyway.

      It wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact companies tie achievements to their shitty multiplayer modes no one plays either, because it basically means if you are a completionist and like collecting achievements and don't get them on release week then they'll be permanently unobtainable a few weeks later.

      I'd rather games which are primarily single player stay that way and focus on that, rather than cut single player features/quality in favour of a waste of space multiplayer mode.

      • Re:Piracy (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 10, 2010 @04:47AM (#34511996)

        in another related news, gamers say that EA as publisher has finished.

        if player want 'quickies' they expect to pay 10$ for them, not 60$.

        • Re:Piracy (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Friday December 10, 2010 @06:11AM (#34512378)

          in another related news, gamers say that EA as publisher has finished.

          Indeed. I want to play games with a good single-player experience. I find MMORPGs and on-line FPS shoot-outs to be the things lacking in action and innovation. They become monotonous very quickly with each new game, and then you have all the issues with bots, connection problems, etc.

          Total games played with some regularity in our household in, say, the past 6 months:

          Single player only: 4

          Social (single player, but comparing scores with others via Facebook etc.): 2

          Full multiplayer: 0

          Every one of those was legal, but none was a recent, high-cost, AAA title.

          Good single player games used to have some replay value by virtue of non-linear storylines, different playing styles, taking different characters with you or making different alliances, etc. And they used to last more than 10 hours. And they used to ship at least reasonably bug-free.

          Given that a lot of people seem to show up with this sort of opinion every time the multiplayer/online gaming discussion comes up, I have to think that if a giant like EA can't manage to produce games like that any more even with the crazy prices they are asking, then their management have lost the plot. Then again, given all the horror stories about working conditions there, it's not surprising.

          • Seconded. I still play Morrowind to this day. I would add that it's not just great single player that makes for a long-lasting game; modability is up there too. If you finally get bored with singleplayer, change the rules/quests/etc to make it more interesting. I would be willing to pay for Bethesda to continually tweak the game; I love it that much.
        • Agreed. This comment from an EA Exec once again shows that EA is somewhat out of touch with the gaming world.

          Someone should remind them that you can play split-screen on a console but very few games these days take advantage of that. The disadvantage to network-only play is I can't invite a friend over to play a game anymore - we have to play online. It's not the same thing!

          I find a lot of games have vastly different gameplay between single and multi player modes (particularly shooters). Some games I pr

        • Re:Piracy (Score:5, Funny)

          by pnewhook (788591) on Friday December 10, 2010 @01:45PM (#34515600)

          Single-Player-Game-Model-Finished-Says-EA-Exec

          Actually I'm glad it's finished. Finally. I've been waiting for a good single player game to be released for a while now. I just hope it's bug free.

      • by Tukz (664339)

        I got no mod points, so posting in agreement instead.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        >>>not worth playing for around 95% of games

        Plus my wallet is not infinitely deep. All the games I buy are $20 or less in cost and never expire (I'm still playing 30-yr-old games) while online games are constantly sucking money month-after-month and eventually die (when the server shutsdown) so all the money I invested is wasted. The online multiplayer model is as bad a ripoff as the $80/month* CATV charges.

        Which is probably why EA thinks multiplayer is so innovative (for them). It's like printi

      • by Kokuyo (549451)

        Frankly, I've been disappointed with Brotherhood SP and MP. Much more so with MP, but then again, I am not a strong multiplayer gamer. I get competitive, wound up and the whole thing turns into an altogether unenjoyable, teeth grinding, high bloodpressure experience.

        I love League of Legends but I just don't deal too well with a game that doesn't go my way (which does not necessarily mean I must be winning! Just... I hate to be steam-rolled).

        All in all, I usually prefer the singleplayer mode. With few except

        • I personally think Brotherhood is *excellent* in both SP and MP. I feel like the MP is innovative and finally provides an experience that's outside of which is refreshing. The SP, while not -better- than AC2 isn't bad, either. It's mostly more of the same, but refined a bit and with some interesting new dynamics (recruiting the novice assassins, etc)

          While I can totally understand it not being for everyone, I've noticed several reviews seem to agree with my stance. So EA isn't completely full of shit.

      • Re:Piracy (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jojoba_oil (1071932) on Friday December 10, 2010 @06:00AM (#34512316)

        If a game is designed to be played single player, then it shouldn't have multiplayer tacked on; I agree with you there. (PopCap casual games are a perfect example of that. They make all their money selling simple, single-player games and are very profitable.) But if the game is ever going to have a multiplayer aspect to it, the developers need to first balance the multiplayer aspect and build the single player after multiplayer is finished. Not only does this ensure that multiplayer modes are enjoyable (because it's evenly balanced) but also provides a way to drop a beta test without giving away the single player aspect. (One of the more well-known developers that seems to work this way is Blizzard. Warcraft 3 and Starcraft 2 betas were multiplayer only, campaigns came out with full-game and were still an enjoyable single-player experience. Even after campaign is played through, multiplayer is still fun.)

        The problem is that so many games are designed and developed in single-player and then a multiplayer addition is hacked on at the end. This often results in strange bugs for multiplayer and countless exploits, not to mention character/weapon/whatever imbalance and overall just shitty experience in the game online as a whole.

      • by Joce640k (829181) on Friday December 10, 2010 @07:22AM (#34512682) Homepage

        The problem with multiplayer is you can't play casually. The servers are full of people with absolutely no life who get their jollies fragging newbies (usually shouting obscenities as they do so...)

        It might be somebody's idea of a 'game' but it's not mine.

        • by peragrin (659227) on Friday December 10, 2010 @08:10AM (#34512908)

          And that is why single player games will never really go away.

          Multiplayer is fun when you have time. but games that keep on going and going means that people who only play casually won't ever truely be a part of it.

        • by jellomizer (103300) on Friday December 10, 2010 @08:43AM (#34513064)

          I agree. I don't game much because I suck at the game and I don't have the time to be proficient at a game. My life has many more pressing goals to achieve then mastering a game. However when I play a game I done want to suck so much that it isn't fun.

        • Co-op FTW (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Friday December 10, 2010 @10:55AM (#34514006)

          Red Dead Redemption had that problem- no ranking at all. You go in at level 1 riding a nag and armed with some dinky weapon loadout, and a level 50 guy with a golden gun riding a golden buffalo that runs at about Mach 3 keeps killing you. Whee. Always wondered what the fun was from the level 50 guy's POV. It seems it would be like playing a game with a God code activated. It would get boring after 5 minutes.

          And you have to be a fanatic to even get to level 50. I got to level 36 and was burned out on it completely. I think the golden buffalo is for reaching 50, passing into legend, and going from 1 to 50 *again*! Crap, I'm just not that OCD.

          Co-op is the real king in my book, especially games like Borderlands where you can play the same thing single or in co-op, and the game adjusts the difficulty based on how many people are in the group. I played that both ways, and it was great.

          Portal 2 looks like the next great co-op. In that case it looks like added levels designed specifically for two players.

          • Always wondered what the fun was from the level 50 guy's POV. It seems it would be like playing a game with a God code activated. It would get boring after 5 minutes.

            At that point, the fun is mostly just watching the level 1 noobs ragequit.

        • by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Friday December 10, 2010 @11:32AM (#34514298) Journal

          The problem with multiplayer is it's inherently a lifeless, impersonal experience.

          Try playing Final Fantasy 7, 8, 9, 10, 12... and Final Fantasy 11.

          In all of those games you have a deep storyline to weave your way through, you get to associate with the characters, you have a series of quests that fit into the bigger picture, you have an antagonist to chase down, goals that fall only to reveal bigger goals in an expanding scope...

          Except Final Fantasy 11.

          In Final Fantasy 11, you might get miniature stories, maybe, just to make the quests interesting. You get quests that fall into the bigger picture of leveling up and finding rare items. You have goals that fall down only to reveal other unrelated goals of similar size, but occasionally of bigger numbers (i.e. the monsters have more HP and ATK so you have to be level 20 instead of level 15).

          If they implement something with a massive storyline, coherent, attention-grabbing, emotional, fulfilling, then it's just another single-player game except your party members are 4 other players and the stats are unbalanced because you entered with a character at level 30. Oh, and also, you're paying monthly for the privilege of playing, without so much replay value, and without the privilege of playing privately when your friends aren't around, without the privilege of playing for free, without the privilege of spending 300 hours just exploring unless you want to pay for the 300 hours you're online (or the span of months that 300 hours is spent in).

          Online play today appeals to exactly the part of the brain that lets the TSA get away with what they're doing. It's not that online play is bad-- oh, this is a nice feature, and was a good genre in the day of Ultima Online, Battle.net, and EVO-- it's that people who work at GameStop or own XBoxes are now telling me that single player gaming is dead AND BELIEVE IT. They think online play is now the only way to make a game worth buying. They have been successfully sheepified, and the companies that moved from $50 complete games to 30% of the $50 game for $50 and the rest for $100 more (expensive shareware-- DLC == shareware) are now moving to "just pay us to keep playing" models.

      • by theghost (156240)

        It wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact companies tie achievements to their shitty multiplayer modes no one plays either, because it basically means if you are a completionist and like collecting achievements and don't get them on release week then they'll be permanently unobtainable a few weeks later.

        Achievements are classic skinner box behavior modification - they're just trying to make you play longer and trick your brain into thinking you're having more fun than you actually are. Once you realize that it becomes much easier to ignore the ones that are neither an interesting challenge nor have some actual desirable reward associated with them.

        Being a "completionist" is just self-imposed OCD. Unless you actually have OCD, in which case you might want to consult your doctor before playing video games. ;

      • by MogNuts (97512)

        This is not a personal attack against you. It's a post in general. I've been reading /. probably since about the time it first started. One of /.'s biggest problems is its Groupthink. I saw the story's title and before even reading the responses, instantly knew what they ALL would say ALREADY. And I was right.

        It's time to inject some new ways of thinking. So to say a few things:

        1. EA is innovative
        2. Multiplayer is the direction to go
        3. I like EA games

        There. I said it. Now here's my explanation:

        EA is innovat

    • Also, no dedicated hosting of games outside of the approved ones. Many hosting companies for game servers actually have a box to choose if you want a cracked server, it costs you a couple bucks per month extra

    • by pinkushun (1467193) on Friday December 10, 2010 @07:15AM (#34512664) Journal

      I support DRM Free games! (And Indie developers!)

    • by Hatta (162192)

      What's the point of stopping piracy if you discourage large numbers of people from buying your game because you don't have a good single player campaign? There are lots of people out there who don't care for internet gaming. If EA doesn't have anything to sell us, someone else will.

  • It's about money (Score:5, Insightful)

    by emj (15659) on Friday December 10, 2010 @04:31AM (#34511914) Homepage Journal

    They just look at Zynga and hope they can make the same amount of money making crappy games.

  • Bollocks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ledow (319597) on Friday December 10, 2010 @04:31AM (#34511916) Homepage

    Yeah, that's why everyone is still waiting and crying out for HL2:Ep3, Duke Nukem Forever, etc. It's got nothing to do with whether the game is single- or multi-player. It's just that single-player games you have to actually put more work in so the player *doesn't* feel alone (or feels *suitably* alone in the game's environment). Whereas any shit that has a multiplayer mode saves you from having to write tons of AI and instead just keep a couple of servers up.

    Multiplayer was/is a twist on a game to increase longevity. Now it's *replaced* bothering to make the game's have longevity themselves. I play tons of multiplayer games, but as they age, they die except for the ones that were *always* going to be played by people anyway (e.g. Counterstrike). Single-player games and LAN-playable games and games that you can just connect to random IP addresses TOO last forever.

    Stop tacking on "multiplayer" as a feature and instead make a decent game. Apart from a handful of exceptions, almost every Steam game I own is primarily single-player. I own very, very few multiplayer-only games for the same reasons.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Not to mention Fallout 3 or Fallout New Vegas that are single player only and both huge successes and amazing games.

      • I bought Fallout 3 because of the hype, but I only played it for a couple of days. Just because the game sold well doesn't mean it was good. It was me trying to give RPGs another chance, but it just made me wish it was an MMO. Then I found out about Oblivion and bought it, it was a much better single player world because it's actually fun to wander around in and explore rather than just being miles and miles of grey.

    • Re:Bollocks (Score:4, Insightful)

      by NickFortune (613926) on Friday December 10, 2010 @05:05AM (#34512102) Homepage Journal

      It's cool. I don't play multiplayer as a rule, so unless a game has a decent single player mode, I'm not going to buy it.

      Of course, it's a long time since EA produced anything I wanted to play in the first place, so it's not a big deal.

      EA can do as they please. It's not going to affect me :)

    • by RogueyWon (735973) *

      Agreed. In my case, it's more that my online gaming phase, which lasted from the age of about 18 through to 28 or so, was a passing fad. Competitive online gaming has its moments, but a lot of the time it's like wallowing in a cess-pit of foul mouthed teenagers, griefers and cheaters. Then most of the games which focus more upon co-operation rather than competition (by which I mostly mean MMOs) turn into life-consuming grind-fests. These days, what I want from a game is pretty much the same as what I want f

      • My original £35 on Half-Life lasted years, due to Team Fortress Classic and Counter-Strike. In terms of cost-per-hour, it probably ended up as the cheapest entertainment product I ever bought. But cheapest does not mean best.

        Cheapest doesn't have to mean best, but Counter-Strike is probably still the top on my list of multiplayer games that I've really enjoyed. No stupid levels to acquire with grinding. Just good old fashioned hand-eye coordination and tactics.

        These days when I get a game like Battlefield or CoD, I expect to be shit until I play a few days to get all the weapon upgrades I want and that kind of thing, then I can start to actually put effort in once I feel I'm playing on a level playing field. I find it pretty si

    • Re:Bollocks (Score:5, Insightful)

      by melikamp (631205) on Friday December 10, 2010 @05:26AM (#34512180) Homepage Journal

      Lately I think, what makes a game truly great is the art, period. The whole is greater than the sum. I agree with you: the multiplayer/singleplayer axis is completely orthogonal to both the goodness axis and the longevity axis. The goodness is in the explicable combination of graphics, sound, writing, controls, UI, and that viscerally felt response to the user input. And that other thing you know, but I am forgetting.

      Counterstrike I will give you, even though I personally was never a fan. It just feels so crisp. But also Quake, and Commander Keen, and the whole multitude of godly platformers. And all HalfLife. And Diablo I and II, as different as they are. And most (but not all) games starting with Sim. And ditto for games starting with Sid. And pretty much everything done by Interplay and Black Isle. And, like, every PC adventure that didn't suck, which is a good chunk of them. And I cannot even begin to name console titles, since I am a PC boy, but I am fully aware that I am barely scratching the surface here. There are dozens of excellent games from every genre, ancient or relatively recent, that I could put in this list right now, so I'll just stop.

      What the EA drone is trying to say is that they cannot design an effective copy protection for a singleplayer game, so they are not going to finance one. And nothing of value is lost.

    • Re:Bollocks (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheDarkMaster (1292526) on Friday December 10, 2010 @06:51AM (#34512554)
      +6 insightful to the parent.

      I am a player who avoids multiplayer games as the devil flees from the cross. I hate to interact with brats addicts that are unable to act civilized, much less playing a game without nasty and dirt tricks to win at any cost.
      And the story of "the singleplayer game is over" is completely bullshit. It's only a stupid excuse for not need to make a decent AI and to force the user to stay connected with the company's servers responsible for the game.
      • Re:Bollocks (Score:5, Insightful)

        by thesandtiger (819476) on Friday December 10, 2010 @10:55AM (#34514008)

        A traveller came upon a village and asked a man by the gate what the people ithe nside were like. The man asked, "What were the people like where you came from?"
        The traveller replied, "They were mean spirited, petty and cruel." And the man said, "You will find them much the same here."

        Some time later another traveller came to that same man and same village and asked about the people inside. Asked about the people where he came from, the traveller replied, "They were kind, honest folk, and always friendly." The man replied, "You'll find them much the same here."

        The point being you will find what you expect. When I play these games I usually meet friendly, helpful and fun people. Oh, I'm sure there are jerks but I just don't pay them much attention since I'm having fun with the others. It works for me, and means I don't have to miss out on things that are fun because some people suck.

    • I think Oblivion could've even been better if it had had coop mode. My friend and I actually explored places together, playing parallel to each other. It would've been a LOT more fun if we could have been in the same world together. Just because you have multiplayer, doesn't mean it has to mean deathmatch.

      Get creative!

  • by evanism (600676) on Friday December 10, 2010 @04:32AM (#34511922) Journal
    If I want to socialize I'll go to the pub or the park. I suspect Mr Exec is more interested in the endless monthly fees they can gouge from players. These guys arent gamers, they are business zombies who contantly moan like the undead itself.
    • I think you missed the entire point of the article. Multiplayer modes aren't always about being social (even the opposite at times). It's that fact that it can be difficult to justify buying a game without a good multiplayer component.

      I loved Bayonetta but only played it for say 20 hours, where as in Halo Reach I have played for 58 hours since September and I'm still playing a couple of hours a week and having fun.

      Multiplayer adds so much extra play time that it's some times hard to pick up a single player

      • by Berkyjay (1225604) on Friday December 10, 2010 @05:12AM (#34512136)
        You only got the point half right. What is happening is that many people are not buying EA's single player games that only have 20 hours of game play because their games are generally crap. EA is not willing to put the money into making worth while 20 hour game much less a good 50-60 hour single player game (it hurts their profit margin). They have realized that it is cheaper just to add a multi-player and try to pass it off as extra playing time. But really, who the hell buys a game based on the amount of playing time. I would rather spend 60 bucks on a 20 hour master piece than a 60 hour turd.
        • by gl4ss (559668)

          it wouldn't hurt their profit margin IF they had talented producers and middle managers making decisions, the 20h game could easily span 60 hours if some different decisions had been taken in the design, it might also not feel like you're running in an invisible tunnel that way.

          it takes the same amount of time to make a great game as it takes to make a sucky 20 hours game, it's not just about throwing dollars into a machine, with games it has been like this always.

      • by Raumkraut (518382)

        This isn't about how many hours you play. The game companies don't care if you play 58 hours or 2 minutes, as long as you bought the game. Heck, the less time you play a game, the sooner you're likely to buy another one, so the companies probably *don't* want you to play games for very long.

        But think about this: with console multiplayer games, who runs the servers? Who decides when those servers will get shut down? Who decides when the sequel will be released?
        Think the original was a better game? Want to pl

    • by IICV (652597) on Friday December 10, 2010 @05:30AM (#34512208)

      Not just that: the only effective way to enforce CD key checks and other such anti-piracy measures is via a significant multiplayer component. In short, either our servers validate you or you don't get to play the game. It's the only form of DRM that works, because it turns them into the gatekeepers of content - in essence, due to the fact that the game is primarily multiplayer, the other people become the game's content and the publisher sticks their server between you and other people.

      I mean, just look at Star Craft 2! Oh, how the once-great have fallen; in Starcraft 1, you could use the second disk to create a multiplayer-only spawn install for an essentially unlimited number of LAN players; now, every single multiplayer game has to be authenticated via Battle.Net, even if it's just going to be played over the local network between two full copies of the game (which is, I suppose, something of a misnomer, because now there's nothing but full copies of the game).

      • by Hatta (162192)

        In short, either our servers validate you or you don't get to play the game.

        Either I can play my single player game offline, or you don't get my money.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by somersault (912633)

      If I want to socialize I'll go to the pub or the park. I suspect Mr Exec is more interested in the endless monthly fees they can gouge from players.

      Somehow I think you're spending far more money in the pub than on monthly fees, but you don't seem to be complaining about that.

      Me on the other hand, I'd much rather spend the money on games than boozing.

  • by bmcage (785177) on Friday December 10, 2010 @04:35AM (#34511946)
    I don't want connectivity, I want co-op, so I can play together with family members. WTF do care for some dude the other side of the ocean?
    • by Nursie (632944)

      'xactly. Also being able to do multiplayer on a single screen is good. Playing with friends or family in the same room is important and probably one of the major reasons the Wii is such a huge success.

      It's a shame so few of the big name games do one-system co-op. Gears of War was always fun for that, as was Resistance, though by Resistance 2 the morons took it out!

    • Many people have family and friends across oceans these days. Playing Co op with them is just as important to them as you with your family members.

    • And please don't tie to co-op to one screen. Sometimes my friend goes home, or is too busy to come over after work. We would still like to pick up the game and play over the internet right where we left off.

      Severe lack of decent co-op games out there right now.

    • by daid303 (843777)

      Indeed. Co-op should get more attention.
      Difference in skill is less important in co-op, which makes playing together with friends more enjoyable.

      The list of co-op games I know and enjoy is short:
      -SWAT 4 (up to 4 players, NEEDs voice communication, up to 10 players with Stetchkov Syndicate)
      -Diablo 2 (but hard to do with new players, as 'old' players run off like crazy because they know everything)
      -Serious sam (Yes, I'm serious! Just fun to shoot around a bit)
      -Commandos 2 (A bit tough to get running in multip

  • by bbqsrc (1441981) on Friday December 10, 2010 @04:35AM (#34511948) Homepage
    Maybe if they made 70 hour single-player games the model wouldn't be dead. I still miss the old, proper RPGs like Baldur's Gate.
    • by Plekto (1018050)

      Diablo III of course is going to sell a "few" million copies(10+ would be my guess). And Fallout, of course, well, it's already at 5 million copies sold and climbing. Speaking of Diablo III, though, Torchlight sold very well.(500K copies so far) And of course, there are the classic games like Final Fantasy, which sold an ungodly number of copies over the years. How many in all of its games, most of which are solely single player?

      80 million. Just the Final Fantasy franchise. As long as Square Enix al

      • by Haeleth (414428)

        Diablo isn't an RPG, it's a finger exercise. Click click click click click click click click monster died click click click click click click monster died click click click click click click click click click click palette-shifted monster died. Click.

        The idea is that if you make it through Diablo, your clicking finger is strong enough to play Starcraft.

  • by Zurk (37028) <zurktechNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday December 10, 2010 @04:36AM (#34511950) Journal

    wasnt EA one of the slave shops who claimed PC gaming was finished too ?
    hint to EA execs :
    DO NOT WANT stupid asshats and 12 year olds who whine incessantly in your spyware laden voip enabled gaming franchises.
    DO WANT games which are engaging, fun and can be picked up with no significant time investment.
    DO NOT WANT incessantly annoying DRM which requires online servers AND a CD in the drive to validate the game is "legal". Oh and typing in a 80 digit serial number.
    DO WANT games which have a compelling storyline, decent graphics with no advert ware built in and are engrossing enough to keep people occupied for the 60 bux you charge which is more than movies, theatres and any other reasonable form of alternative entertainment costs.
    DO NOT WANT monthly fees ON TOP of the 60 bux you charge for the game.
    DO WANT to resell games once I have finished plowing through your inevitably buggy DRM infested pile of franchised crapware.

    • Problem for EA: They are a slave shop, and suck at promoting true creativity in their development efforts. As a consequence, they

      - CAN tell their employees to pump out yet another variation of an existing theme.
      - CANNOT regularly come up with good ideas. At best, they can buy up smaller studios who happen to have good ideas. And they seem to suck at this too.

      Thus, you (the customer) usually won't get compelling storylines or original game concepts.
      BTW this was different 25 years ago. One of the coolest game

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 10, 2010 @04:46AM (#34511988)

    If playing with your freinds is so great, then why are developers taking away support for lan and dedicated servers? It's a whole load of crap! I don't want to spend $120 on a game only to play it on a server on the other side of the world, with a ping of 500! It's not the players' demand for connectivity, it's studios want to charge subscription fees!

  • Maybe it's just me, but I find a game environment that's been set up like an interactive movie to be much more enthralling than watching the various asshattery of the internet do their thing in an MMORPG setting. The rare exceptions are Diablo series multiplayer and LFD/LFD2, when played with friends that you know.

    The quality of play is much, much higher in the average single person game. It's like a feature film vs. MMORPGs, which can be like a reality TV show featuring the cast of Jersey Shore.

    MMORPGs

    • by SharpFang (651121)

      I tend to disagree. I dislike movie-like setups (I'm a nosy person and keep bumping into "you're not supposed to be here" corners with blatant immersion-breaking obstacles blocking your way). OTOH, I love huge, open-ended single-player sandbox style games. A huge world with a lot to do and with freedom of choice what to do. Events unfold around you and you're often in the middle of things, but you may turn around and do other things if you choose so.

      Yes, MMORPGs seem bland to me, I prefer a good open-world

      • by bencoder (1197139)

        I tend to disagree. I dislike movie-like setups (I'm a nosy person and keep bumping into "you're not supposed to be here" corners with blatant immersion-breaking obstacles blocking your way). OTOH, I love huge, open-ended single-player sandbox style games. A huge world with a lot to do and with freedom of choice what to do. Events unfold around you and you're often in the middle of things, but you may turn around and do other things if you choose so.

        Can you give some recommendations for games? There's minecraft, which I love, but I'd love to hear of any other games you could suggest.

        • by SharpFang (651121)

          The ol'good Oblivion, heavily modded and with all the extensions. (also, ancient Morrowind obviously.)
          If you love Minecraft, you may love (or hate) Dwarf Fortress. It's truly hardcore (ASCII art game that can make a 4GHZ machine crawl due to world simulation complexity...)

          I heard many good things of Fallouts and Borderlands. Fallout is not really my cup of tea world-wise, but I think Borderlands sounds very promising.

          And S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games - Shadow of Chernobyl and Call of Pripyat (skip Clear Sky, it's a

      • This is pretty much exactly how I feel too. Operation Flashpoint, Grand Theft Auto III series rank as my favourite single player experiences of all time, and I enjoy Oblivion despite me not really usually being one for RPGs.

        Certain single player games manage to have their levels on rails without spoiling the immersion too much, but there's a lot of crap out there. I played the demo of Killzone after hearing all the hype. Sure the graphics were nice, but you couldn't even jump over a 2 foot obstacle. WTF? I'

  • by dilvish_the_damned (167205) on Friday December 10, 2010 @04:51AM (#34512030) Journal

    and it wont make us stop wanting to spend weekends sunk in some game where no one will bother us. Sometimes its about being disconnected.

    • by Reziac (43301) *

      But saying it enough times makes it a meme that a lot of people will believe. See "The Big Lie".

  • Well, I think... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by twocows (1216842) on Friday December 10, 2010 @04:52AM (#34512038)
    Well, I think he's full of shit. Some of the best games I've ever played are single-player. Golden Sun for GBA, Bioshock 1, the Elder Scrolls series, Persona 3, Fallout 3 and New Vegas, the Penumbra series, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 1 and 2 (despite 2's.. er... lack of polish), the Final Fantasy series... Come to think of it, Fallout: New Vegas' sales numbers prove this crap wrong. It's a perfect example of a modern single player game that garnered huge sales. Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age also had great sales as single player games, though I can't say whether they were good or not since I haven't played them.

    My guess is that EA would rather pump out the same big name game over and over. Guaranteed profits, no risk, and virtually no money spent on developing the hard things like a good plot or character depth. Don't get me wrong, some of my favorite games are multiplayer (hell, the Battlefield series is one of my favorite series as well, been a fan since BF1942, and don't get me started on Valve games), but by no means is single player a dead genre.
  • Hey EA Brainiac... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BulletMagnet (600525) on Friday December 10, 2010 @05:01AM (#34512082)

    You're right - please stop making single player games.

    Sincerely,

    Bethesda Softworks / Obsidian Entertainment
    (you know, the people who brought you Fallout 3 which sold 4.7m copies in the first two weeks of release in 2008 and Fallout: New Vegas - which just happened to sell 5m copies in the 1st three weeks since release in 2010)

  • Since Tribes I haven't been able to stomach multiplayer games online. My entire gaming life almost exclusively exists in single player mode. Just because EA cant be bothered funding decent AI and single player game player doesn't mean the rest of the world wont/cant.
    If they persists in dumping out crap for the masses I'm sure the indie and open source gaming industry will harvest my money just as quickly.

  • by thrill12 (711899) on Friday December 10, 2010 @05:06AM (#34512112) Journal
    I still play Operation Flashpoint regularly. It's from 2001. I play single-player mode only.
    The power ? Mission-editing: constantly recreating new missions with new concepts is much more interesting than getting online and beaten by some cheating (and sometimes: extremely good) opponent.
    The only problem is that it is too much work for most, who indeed just want to use 'fire-and-forget' packaged games. Which is probably why Operation Flashpoint stands alone at the top - for me, anyway. And yes, I do not care about graphics: game concepts are the most important part of the software.
  • Sure. (Score:2, Funny)

    by SharpFang (651121)

    Making single-player games started mere 60 years ago, major single player games appeared about 15 years later. I'm absolutely sure this temporary fad will die any moment now.

  • by furbyhater (969847) on Friday December 10, 2010 @05:09AM (#34512126)
    EA's blabber is disgusting to hear for someone who appreciates gaming, be it solo, local or online.
    They clearly understand jack about a gamer's heart and what makes a game great, but they hope to get their business-goals accepted by trying to sound all visionary-like.
    Alas, nobody with experience in gaming will be able to take them seriously.

    EA's true goals:
    • Facilitate data-mining
    • Make more DLC sales
    • Updateable in-game advertising
    • Restrict gameplay to EA-approved content
    • Take control away from the gamers/modders and claim it for themselves

    These profit-driven bastard won't spend a second thinking about what makes a game great, because they don't know jack about games. I spit in their face.
    The future lies with indie-games and Nintendo

  • by Floritard (1058660) on Friday December 10, 2010 @05:23AM (#34512164)
    It's not that single-player is dead. It's that offline is dead (or dying). Which is, and I say this as a predominantly single-player game enthusiast, basically okay. Right now I'm playing two games pretty regularly, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and Joe Danger, which both have well integrated leaderboards. But they don't just pit you against millions of random people across the globe. They actually pit you against people on your friends lists.

    So when I boot up NFS and get ready to tick off another event on that big map I instead skip over to the Autolog and see what my friends have been up to lately. I then spend the next hour and a half trying to beat their times and reclaim my top spot on the wall. So for a game where I would normally run straight through trying merely to complete every event and reach 100% completion, I'm now basically wasting time re-racing events competitively against my friends list. And you know what? I'm loving it. I think this is actually the best way to enhance replayability that I've seen in a long time. And it's not like leaderboards are anything new in games, far from it. But that connectedness is really addicting. I've yet to play one multi-player event. I will at some point but I'm still having fun with the single-player. Fun that indeed benefits from the connected, social features they've weaved into the game.

    And yea I'm not a Facebook guy but from what I understand this is a pretty common thread among Facebook games as well. It's an interesting way to game.
  • by AmonTheMetalhead (1277044) on Friday December 10, 2010 @05:29AM (#34512202)
    Electronic Arts is still alive & kicking?
  • As a long-time gamer, I want to thank EA for letting me know that the last 25 years or so were wasted on a failed game model. I had no freaking idea!

    Seriously, I am starting to believe that the top game execs make these ridiculous statements only to get press coverage. Practically everything they spew is garbage, not worth the time it takes to read the headline.

    I play both online multi-player and stand alone single-player games very regularly, and I'm sorry EA, but you are full of shit. If you don't want to

  • Why not make "Game so awesome it's worthy of 4-5 playthroughs and can easily top out at 100+ hours per." Like in the good old days.

  • If my game had a single player mode (and the requisite exquisite AI code that would be required), it would probably already be successful.

    By the way, it's actually quite the programming challenge, as it has players on foot, with jetpacks, cars that hop and drive on walls, planes, etc. etc. some pretty unusual combinations of FPS tropes that I think makes writing AI for it unusually interesting.  So hit me up.
  • Am I alone in preferring single-player modes of most games? The only ever exception is really Diablo 2 and actual MMO's designed without single player modes. In the latter case I tend to play a lot on my own anyway, so technically all those other people dont matter.

    All I really want from a game, is a good single player campaign, when I'm done with that, I usually just shelve it.
  • It's all a bit of Facebook and WoW envy:
    - EA wants to turn their games into highly social activities because they want to benefit from the Network Effects [wikipedia.org] that a social environment brings (you're there because all your friend are there, they're there because all their friends - including you - are there).

    They're hardly the only ones:
    - Look at all most recent games and for most you'll see some kind of competitive (global scoreboards) or social (online chat channels) functionality bolted in.
    - Look at what Bli

  • You aren't EA's target demographic. Please don't forget while people are properly outraged on the internet against things like DLC and the death of LAN gaming, they are actually the vocal minority, compared to masses of consumers who don't necessarily even know that LAN exists, much less what it does. Really the point here is that while a person from EA might read, and even agree with what you're saying, it's not going to change their business strategy one bit.
  • Pretty much all games I play these days are single player. I lost interest in multiplayer games quite some years ago.
    So, some other company will get my money instead of EA.

    The best part of singleplayer games is that the experience doesn't depend on the presence of others.

  • by Xelios (822510) on Friday December 10, 2010 @06:01AM (#34512318)
    What he meant to say is "online is where the money is". DLC, DRM, lower development costs due to lack of story or AI, mini-transactions, monthly fees, it's a wet dream for EA.
    • by Cruciform (42896)

      Eventually you will see a pop up in games saying "You've established a large community of online friends. Would you like to stay in contact with them? Please subscribe to our contact list service."

      They're going to monetize everything.

      Indie game devs are the past, present, and future of gaming. Support them instead.

  • In reality:
    • Some people like playing games by themselves, or like the option to be able to play a game by themselves.
    • Some people like buying a game, knowing the game they bought is the game they bought forever with no further obligation.
    • Some people don't have internet or don't have the bandwidth or simply don't want to be logged in to play a game.
    • Every piece of bullshit EA / Activision / Ubisoft puts out about some existing form of gaming being dead is a prelude to a payment model they intend to rape their
  • With the linear type of games that EA knows how to make, I'm not surprised that they would think of games as good for only one play-through in single player mode. There are many games that are made by other companies that excel in single player mode because of the vast ability to play the game multiple times without it getting old. Now, true, many games today ARE linear but that's because they are dumbed-down to near idiot levels as they are also released on consoles. But that's only because the game d

  • Confirmed! (Score:4, Funny)

    by happyfrogcow (708359) on Friday December 10, 2010 @08:47AM (#34513082)

    Nethack confirms it, EA is dead

  • so they want to give up on people with satellite broadband / dial up?
    They need to also have lan play so people with poor pings / low bandwidth / low caps can play as well.

Thus spake the master programmer: "After three days without programming, life becomes meaningless." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"

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