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EA Exec Won't Green Light Any Single Player-Only Games 274

Posted by Soulskill
from the leveraging-synergies-like-a-champ dept.
An anonymous reader sends this quote from Geek.com: "Frank Gibeau, the president of EA Labels, has shown that business truly does come before gameplay with comments he made as part of a preview document for the CloudGamingUSA event happening on September 11-12 in San Francisco. Gibeau is very proud of the fact he has never green lit a single project that consisted solely of a single-player experience. He insists that every game EA publishes has an online component to it. His reason for doing this? Apparently EA has 'evolved with consumers (PDF)' suggesting he thinks this is what consumers want in every game. ... Forcing online into every game makes little sense. While it works for a Battlefield, Medal of Honor, Fifa or Need for Speed title, there's just as many games that don't need it to succeed, or even work for online play. A good example of this would be the forthcoming SimCity, which has upset fans of the series because it will require an constant Internet connection to play. That isn't a DRM measure, it's due to the tight integration of multiplayer and how all players impact each others games."
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EA Exec Won't Green Light Any Single Player-Only Games

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  • by Kenja (541830) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @06:17PM (#41240361)
    "multi player only" is just code for "always connected to the internet", been there, tried that, no thanks.
  • not too surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @06:18PM (#41240395)

    EA, for a while now, has been spooked by Facebook and web games' rapid rise in market share, and desperately worried that they're eking out legacy profits on a sinking ship. To make matters worse, their last gamble on a designer-led Maxis game, Spore, didn't turn out to be very profitable. So I'm not too surprised by this position, even if I don't like it artistically.

  • by supersloshy (1273442) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @06:20PM (#41240417)

    He isn't saying that they're shoehorning multiplayer into every game. He's saying that every game should include an online component of some sort, as he says right here [kotaku.com]. They're not saying that games should all have multiplayer involved. They're saying that they should involve the internet in some way. There is nothing wrong with this. For example, take optional high score challenges in Mirror's Edge. The Sim City example, where online is required, is a bad example because that's just one game and the game was designed to be multiplayer-centric from the start. There are many, many single player games, like Mass Effect, that don't require the multiplayer or online functionality whatsoever. This is just FUD. EA isn't the best company around, sure, but including online features in single player games is definitely possible and it can't always be a bad thing depending on how it's implemented.

  • by blahplusplus (757119) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @06:22PM (#41240439)

    LOL The reality is he wants to use the internet to normalize DRM one small step at a time. Everyone has seen diablo 3's success and the are CHOMPING AT THE BIT to do the same to every other game. See through the PR matrix.

  • Such a Shame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by milbournosphere (1273186) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @06:29PM (#41240543)
    They've bought their fair share of studios that were previously oriented around a great single-player experience, and have proceeded to suck the life force out of many of them. Bioware is one such studio that comes to mind. After seeing what they did to Dragon Age II and Mass Effect 3, it's likely I won't buy another EA game again for a long while. It's really sad seeing these once-great studios killed by the plague that is EA Games.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @06:33PM (#41240591)

    Seriously, what the fuck?

    If you asked me to name one thing that pisses me off more then most other things today, I'd say that it's this "forced-socialization" everyone is jumping on.

    I deal with people all day, I'm a consultant for some seriously niche and highly proprietary technology. Sometimes I deal with nice people. Sometimes I deal with smart people. Sometimes I deal with stupid people, and sometimes I deal with complete and utter fuckwads. I do this every day, five days a week. I usually spend one day on the weekend hanging out with friends and family, which leaves me one day to forget about reality and escape to the far reaches of some magical galaxy where I can have a nice private adventure in the comfort of my own living room.

    The last thing I want is to be forcefully shoved into a virtual room with a bunch of vulgar screaming 12 year olds who think they're "the shit" while I'm simply "shit".

    I don't play games to deal with people. I play games to get away from people. I deal with people enough during the day.

    Why the fuck can't game companies understand this?

    -AC

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @06:34PM (#41240611)

    Online play should be optional. How else will I be able to opt out of being trolled?

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @06:39PM (#41240659)

    Look EA, these days my problem isn't a lack of good games, it is a lack of time. I have so damn many games it is insane. There are a lot of companies in gaming and though a lot of crap comes out, a lot of good stuff does as well. So I don't need your games. I want them, but I don't need them.

    If you force always online for a game that doesn't need it, or force me to play multi-player in a game where I want a single player experience (like Dragon Age 3) then I just won't buy it. I'll get other games instead.

    I don't at all mind multi-player games, I have many. However any good multi-player or single player game almost always is good because they focus on it. If there is stupid shit bolted on that you have to play to play the real game, it will diminish things.

    As a good example, compare Battlefiled 3 and Mass Effect 3, both EA games. BF3 has phenomenal multi-player. It is a ton of fun. The single player is crap though, it was clearly bolted on to the game as an afterthought and really shouldn't be there. However, it isn't required so it is fine.

    Mass Effect 3 is a single player game, that is what the whole series has been and that is how it is made. However it has some shitty multi-player bolted on. Not RPG multiplayer, just a bad shooter. If you have a real shooter, it is amazing how bad it is comparatively. However worse than that you have to play it to get the "best" ending in the game (I use the term loosely since the ending is garbage). So you bought a game for SP and they want you to have a shit MP experience.

    Well lesson learned, I won't be buying a game like that again. I want a game that focuses on what it does well.

    A good example of one that does is Tribes Ascend. It is a multi-player shooter. It does have SP, but only in so far as practice levels. You can free roam any map to learn it and practise cop routes, or try out weapon loadouts on a test map against bots that do various things (stand still, walk in lines, jump, etc). They didn't try and put some cheesy SP in the game, it is an MP game, they just put in something to serve the MP better.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @06:44PM (#41240731)

    Spore didn't suck because of Maxis or developer involvement. Spore sucked because of EA and EA's business decisions.

    The huge buzz caught the attention of executives and they decided to take their high-concept property and rape it's corpse for all it was worth, even before it launched.
    Pencil dick middle managers smelled another sims, and with dreams of endless expansions, tried as hard as they could to turn spore in to a product they could sell the public incrementally over many years.

    Well, you know the rest. The game sucked. Every bit of awesome creative vision was dashed out at the hands of the clueless goons that pat themselves on the back for running EA.

    Today, here we are again hearing clueless shit from some shirt who would not know fun if it was beaten in to him with a rusty pipe. We know why EA's game suck. It's not the developers, its the useless layers of executive staff and management parasites that define the modern American business.

  • by chilvence (1210312) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @07:01PM (#41240921)

    Personally, I can't stand ANY multiplayer games. Not sure exactly why, I guess I prefer to compete against fixed challenges and at my own pace. I am probably in the minority, but I certainly can't be alone.

    I think I may be able to add to your point of view, in the unlikely event that any game devs are reading:

    There is abslolutely no reward or interest in fighting against/being beaten by anonymous opponents which have otherwise no personal connection to the player. I love quake, command and conquer, etcetera, but only in the same way as I love chess, and I would never even contemplate playing chess against someone I had never met in person, because that would be boring; a soulless challenge, so pointless that I may as well play against a computer.

    Some people become obsessed with online games, and perhaps I can see why it would be a diversion, but I am willing to bet that the vast majority of people are only interested in playing games against the people in their own existing social circle, and could not give a damn about massively multiplayer, always online bullshit - and that to lump every gamer in that crowd would be a disastrous folly. Networked games are a beautiful thing, when they are combined with a social, friendly and close knit group of friends, where all players are in hearing distance and it resembles something like a sporting event; but when exposed to the stark, impersonal world of the internet, they are about as good as a kick in the face!

  • by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @08:09PM (#41241637) Journal
    Fallout 3. Game of the year [wikipedia.org] for several years by several groups. Massively successful. And a completely single player game. For the first time since Mech Warrior, I actually want to see a game I play/played put online (but inside I know it would likely fuck it right up). Many people obviously enjoy single player games. You aren't alone.
  • If I had mod points you'd be getting them, that was thoughtful and well said. I think that's why I've pretty much stopped getting games anywhere but Steam, all my family and friends are there so if I want to fire up a game like Saints Row 3 I can just pop off a message to one of my buds and say "Hey want to join me in some carnage?" and playing with or against them is actually FUN. Playing against some stranger (and for some reason I usually get the smartass that "talks" in SMS speak which drives me up a wall) is simply not fun, I'd say its worse than playing against the computer as i'm not getting LOLSpeak popups from the damned computer.
  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @08:30PM (#41241879) Journal

    Because if you support mods and treat the property right you can continue to get sales years and years after its release?

    I'd love to see the figures that Valve gets for its back catalogs, to this very day they are still getting sales from properties like Half-Life 1 and Counter Strike Classic, long after the property has made them their investment back plus a big profit.

    And what good are huge numbers of casual players if you can't make any money off of them? Look at how Zynga has been tanking as far as their stock goes because while they have the eyeballs they just can't get enough people to spend money on their in game crap to make any real money. The hard core crowd buys actual boxed products, they'll buy from digital services like steam, and they'll buy DLC if done right.

  • by petsounds (593538) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @08:33PM (#41241905)

    To be clear, he just means all games will have an MP component, not that all games will required to be played online. The 'always on DRM' is falling out of favour with developers [...]

    Right...so explain then why EA's forthcoming SimCity reboot requires online?

    This is not about the customer, this is about forced obsolescence ("EA has announced the SimCity servers will sunset on Sept. 1. Thank you for playing, and pre-order SimCity 2 now!"), tracking user behaviour, and DLC. TL;DR - money, money, money.

  • PopCap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grouchomarxist (127479) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @08:51PM (#41242051)

    Last year EA bought PopCap, the producer of a number of simple, but well done single player games, including Plants vs. Zombies. Although they've added multi-player elements to their games, the core experience is a single-player one. Recently they laid off about 50 people, including the designer of Plants vs. Zombies.

    It seems to me that EA doesn't care much about game play, just raking in more profits.

  • by maugle (1369813) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @09:09PM (#41242195)

    I would love to play, for instance, StarCraft 2 against people of my own social circle. Unfortunately, none of them are in the least interested in playing. (I used to regularly play WarCraft 2 with a group of my high school friends, but they have since all gone off who knows where, and we didn't really keep in touch at all.)

    Thus, I play on the ladder, against people I don't know, and try my best to improve my skill that way.

    Dan Aris

    I really dislike ladder-style multiplayer: you're always playing to win and advance to more difficult opponents, and after a point that just stops being fun. Whereas, when playing with my friends, we can do fun stuff like "everybody build up for 10 minutes, then our armies face off in the middle of the map".

    Similarly, when I played Halo 2 on XBox Live against strangers, I became too experienced. After a while, I was so much better than my friends that playing the game with them stopped being fun for anyone.

  • by rtb61 (674572) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @09:36PM (#41242397) Homepage

    Time for a reality check. We all know what it really is all about. It's for short sucky single campaign so the marketing dicks can say but it's multi player. Basically when the keep using the same game engine over and over again it ain't even a new game, just a mod with new maps and they cheap ass even that level of development trying to rely on millions upon millions spent on saturation marketing. Asshats spend less money on marketing and more on developing better games and you will generate higher sales. Continue to think marketing can get you out of crap development just continues to prove you have no idea how the internet works and how it chews up and spits out marketing.

  • by slashmydots (2189826) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @10:23PM (#41242759)

    Personally, I can't stand ANY multiplayer games. Not sure exactly why, I guess I prefer to compete against fixed challenges and at my own pace. I am probably in the minority, but I certainly can't be alone.

    Nope. Here's, let me prove it. Skyrim, Oblivion, Morrowind.

  • by Zadaz (950521) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @02:09AM (#41244181)

    No mod points this week to mod you up so I'll just post this to say: Exactly!

    To me this is the equivalent of book publishers saying they'll only sell books to people who read them in book clubs.

    Well I hate book clubs. I want to read at my own pace, not the pace of the group. And I hate multiplayer games. I want to play on my own schedule. And I want repeatable experiences. Multiplayer games can't offer this.

    And add to it that now that my friends and I are all adults, finding time to game together is rare. And when we do have mutual free time we'd rather spend it face-to-face than face-to-screen.

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