The Death of Single Player Games – As Seen by Blizzard
In a recent interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Rob Pardo, Executive Vice President of Game Design at Blizzard Entertainment, gave a grim view of the future of single player games.
When asked, “Do you think that the big-budget single-player game is an endangered species at this point?” Rob Pardo had this to say:
“I do. I don't see there being a great business model for it these days. It's really sad, there's just a lot of elements out there that conspire to make those games difficult to make now. Between pirating or the ability for people to rent games, it's hard for publishers to pour millions and millions of dollars into a game and not necessarily see the return they need to make those budgets realistic.”
As a Business Management student currently at university – the first thing they taught me is to be highly critical of what people say. You should always ponder their motives and any proof they have to back up what they say. I found this especially interesting coming from a top level employee within Blizzard, which not so long ago launched Diablo 3. This game was a single-player game that could be played with up to 4 people total over co-op and should have more multiplayer modes on their way. Not only was this thus a single-player game, it was also highly successful in terms of sales.
I always become highly skeptical when people jump to piracy as the reason for something bad within the gaming industry. Mostly due to the lack of proof that there is a connection as well as the many times Gabe Newell, founder of Valve, has stated that piracy is not the issue but rather the business model and service that you (as a company) are trying to provide is not what the consumers want.
All that being said, there is a definite noticeable shift from single-player games to multiplayer games. I am not arguing this at all, I just am very skeptical as to the reasons behind this shift.