Weighing In: Are Single-Player Games Dying
There has been an ongoing debate as to the current state of the video game industry as it concerns single-player games and if it's dying out. Now, I can completely understand where this is coming from in light of recent trends where games have adopted more of a service model to get gamers to shell out more money over time. I have my own grievances with that but I won't go into that here. With that being said, I have to say that I don't believe that single-player games are on their way out.
Here's why. While more and more games are becoming multiplayer focused with the inclusion of certain services, take for instance Overwatch and more recently PUBG but let's not also forget Assasin's Creed Origins. We're seeing that games are coming with ways for publishers to get gamers to spend more than just the price of the game. If it's not a season pass or special editions of these games then there are loot boxes and add-ons to make the game more accessible. I think this is where a lot of the steam behind the whole, single-player games are dying is coming from.
But I think the opposite. Single-player games are far from dead. I say this as not only someone who greatly enjoys a single-player experience but as someone who's seen their popularity. The Witcher 3 is by far one of the best single-player experiences I've had in the past few years and I'm not even done with the additional content they've released. Then there's Mass Effect, although the last two games in the series had multiplayer, the first game was still a great single-player experience. I'll mention another game that came out the year that caught everyone by surprise when it was announced and that would be Horizon Zero Dawn a PlayStation exclusive. Great game with an even more enjoyable story. I think the 'games-as-a-service' as it's being called is in the limelight right now and that's it. It's becoming more and more prominent but that's not going to kill the single-player driven games. There are still too many gamers out there who are looking for just that kind of experience.
I feel like I should mention games like Call of Duty and Doom or Mass Effect 2 who come with a single-player story and a multiplayer component. Games like this are perfectly fine. I didn't get Doom for multiplayer and I never get Call of Duty for that reason either. I'm more drawn to the big set pieces that come in a single-player experience. But others will go after the multiplayer because that's what they want, especially from Call of Duty.
Single-player games are just as important as multiplayer games and as such I don't think that they are dying, even if games-as-a-service seems to be gaining ground with many games coming out now. I don't think this model will last long, we've already seen a lot of backlash with some of the games that are using this model. For now, only time will tell.
Courtesy of Games News Network