EA's Gibeau Thinks The Offline Game Model Is 'Finished'

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Posted by BradNicholson (812 posts) -

OK, this one is a headline grabber for multiple reasons. In an interview with Develop, EA Games Label president Frank Gibeau said that he thinks games without online components are "finished" because "online is where the innovation, and the action, is at." These are big, bold words from an important man at a big publisher that are sure to rub a lot of people the wrong way. 

But let's rewind. Gibeau said this in the context of EA's big idea about how to turn stellar games into blockbusters--you know, million sellers. This isn't a statement about quality. Offline games can still be good games. This is more of a statement in regards to the new commercial reality. Good, creative titles need to sell big on the market and EA sees online as a component that can give a game a boost. 
 
"Game makers, the really good ones, they want to make great games but they also want to make blockbusters. One of the things they need to do is balance that out--I have the right team to help them," he told Develop.

“I volunteer you to speak to EA’s studio heads, they’ll tell you the same thing,” he continued. “They’re very comfortable moving the discussion towards how we make connected gameplay--be it cooperative 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." 
 

EA and Visceral's Dead Space 2 has competitive multiplayer. The original didn't.

== TEASER ==Getting to the heart of what Gibeau is saying, publishers, and developers for that matter, want you, the gamer, to marry your game. They also want to make you feel like its necessary to buy it new for 60 bucks. Wrong or right, EA obviously believes online is key to making this happen.

But is EA forcing studios to throw in online components? No, but it seems like a big part of Gibeau's job is to make sure studios know what might happen on the business end if a studio doesn't include one.

"Well you say ‘insist’, I say inspire," he said. "What I learned early on in my career was that, if you’re going to lead a creative team, you have to inspire people. They’re the ones living in the game."

"I always found it a big problem when a game’s executive producer would come up to me and ask what I should do next. I would always respond that’s not my job. You’re job is to come up with the creative vision, mine is to edit and tweak so it’s a bigger commercial opportunity. I’m very clear about that."
#1 Posted by BradNicholson (812 posts) -

OK, this one is a headline grabber for multiple reasons. In an interview with Develop, EA Games Label president Frank Gibeau said that he thinks games without online components are "finished" because "online is where the innovation, and the action, is at." These are big, bold words from an important man at a big publisher that are sure to rub a lot of people the wrong way. 

But let's rewind. Gibeau said this in the context of EA's big idea about how to turn stellar games into blockbusters--you know, million sellers. This isn't a statement about quality. Offline games can still be good games. This is more of a statement in regards to the new commercial reality. Good, creative titles need to sell big on the market and EA sees online as a component that can give a game a boost. 
 
"Game makers, the really good ones, they want to make great games but they also want to make blockbusters. One of the things they need to do is balance that out--I have the right team to help them," he told Develop.

“I volunteer you to speak to EA’s studio heads, they’ll tell you the same thing,” he continued. “They’re very comfortable moving the discussion towards how we make connected gameplay--be it cooperative 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." 
 

EA and Visceral's Dead Space 2 has competitive multiplayer. The original didn't.

== TEASER ==Getting to the heart of what Gibeau is saying, publishers, and developers for that matter, want you, the gamer, to marry your game. They also want to make you feel like its necessary to buy it new for 60 bucks. Wrong or right, EA obviously believes online is key to making this happen.

But is EA forcing studios to throw in online components? No, but it seems like a big part of Gibeau's job is to make sure studios know what might happen on the business end if a studio doesn't include one.

"Well you say ‘insist’, I say inspire," he said. "What I learned early on in my career was that, if you’re going to lead a creative team, you have to inspire people. They’re the ones living in the game."

"I always found it a big problem when a game’s executive producer would come up to me and ask what I should do next. I would always respond that’s not my job. You’re job is to come up with the creative vision, mine is to edit and tweak so it’s a bigger commercial opportunity. I’m very clear about that."
#2 Posted by JacDG (2127 posts) -

It would be sad if all games decided to implement online features, not all games need it, and it may take away from the polish the game would have, if it was single player only.

#3 Posted by Yzzerdd (521 posts) -

Well fuck him.

#4 Posted by Garadon (90 posts) -

Bullshit. He says that because in the era or preorders and commercialization of everything, developers don't have time to make a solid single player experience. Well, most do, as we still have New Vegas, RDR, Darksiders,etc. SP won't die, but it's already pretty rare for a company to flesh out a good SP RPG.

#5 Edited by EpicSteve (6492 posts) -

He's probably right. I don't get the impression that Gibeau is saying every game needs Team Deathmatch, but some sort of connectivity whether it be co-op, DLC, or leaderboards. This already exists to some level most modern releases.
 
It's hard to justify a full retail purchase for a title that only lasts 15 hours and has no promise of further avenues of playtime.

#6 Posted by MooseyMcMan (11299 posts) -

So does this mean that they ARE tacking multiplayer onto Mass Effect? And Dragon Age? Last time I checked EA published those, and those were single player only series.

Moderator
#7 Posted by wwfundertaker (1404 posts) -

Forcing developers to put a multiplayer component in is just plain DUMB. I dont play multiplayer in games, so sell me a single player version of the game at a cheaper price.

#8 Posted by DaemonBlack (342 posts) -

" mine is to edit and tweak so it’s a bigger commercial opportunity. I’m very clear about that."
 
Oh you mean, "tack some multiplayer on it to try to make it like the call of duty"
Anyone could do his job.

#9 Posted by Toxin066 (3302 posts) -
@cav86 said:
" first "
@DirtyEagles said:
" d "
insightful!
 
I think Gibeau is wrong. Some of this year's best didn't have and don't need multiplayer (Bayonetta, Mass Effect 2 - I'm looking at you).
#10 Posted by PokeIkzai (385 posts) -

And I think gaming is finished if its only multiplayer.

#11 Posted by buft (3320 posts) -

inb4bradthisisntnews, i honestly dont agree with this at all, if this was true for instance, nobody would be playing mass effect 2, DLC can keep it fresh and adding shit multiplayer isnt gonna save your game

#12 Posted by schattenwolf86 (132 posts) -

If the online component is done right, I don't care.   Look at the Bioware Social network.  Pretty cool place where you can find mods for DA and good place for the the Mass Effect and Dragon Age communities to meet and discuss. 
 
At the same time, keep Facebook and Twitter the fuck out of games.  I dont want to see that crap in my games.

#13 Posted by Fei (218 posts) -

He's trolling us, obviously. No one is this dumb.

#14 Posted by zitosilva (1840 posts) -

I can understand what he means when he's focusing purely on profit and commercial value. Still, for me the four best games this year has had are Bayonetta, Mass Effect 2, Red Dead Redemption and Heavy Rain (not to mention downloadable stuff like Limbo and Costume Quest). All these are excellent titles due to ther incredible single player component, with no connections to a online feature (well, I'm not really taking into account Cerberus Network, but I'm not sure if Gibeau was thinking about aspects like these as well). And, sure, RDR had multiplayer, but what you're in for is the engrossing campaign.
 
My bottomline is, at least I play games for the single player. Maybe a cooperative will attract me, but I have no desire toplay any form of competitive mode. So, even though I understand him, I disagree with Gibeau.

#15 Posted by MagusMaleficus (1041 posts) -

If you read the whole thing, he's not really saying every game needs a multiplayer feature. Instead, he's saying all games going forward should have some sort of online component--be it downloadable episodes, maps, items, and/or a multiplayer option. Of course he's saying this for the reason he got into the business: to make money. Can't really blame him for that.

#16 Posted by Moloney (56 posts) -

Nah
#17 Posted by FreakAche (2954 posts) -

Says the publisher of Mass Effect.

#18 Edited by EveretteScott (1518 posts) -
@PokeIkzai said:

" And I think gaming is finished if its only multiplayer. "

I agree. My interest in Video Games would diminish if  the single player part was pushed farther and farther away.
#19 Posted by MoonlightMoth (473 posts) -

One suspects that what Gibeau really wants is EA online pass for every game.

#20 Edited by wolf_blitzer85 (5276 posts) -

Hooray for the age of shitty tacked on multiplayer modes!
 
 It does seem like leaderboard integration is catching on, and evolving that as time passes could yield some cool results just like with NFS: Hot Pursuit. MP stuff like that could be really cool, especially when it would be integrated seamlessly with the single player portion.
 
I'm mostly worried about the game that needlessly puts MP in the game just because it'll help it sell more, not because the game experience would benefit from the addition.

#21 Edited by megalowho (972 posts) -

Right. Sounds like the conclusion of some boardroom brainstorming on how to keep those darn kids from returning games to Gamestop after a week. Of course everyone wants to spend their leisure time playing games with real people, everyone has an extensive friends list of like minded compatriots to do so with, and all customers have the high speed internet connection to make that possible. Not to mention forking over extra $ for the privilege of online play on 360, or the colorful anonymous characters you meet in online situations.  
 
Obviously the developer should do what's best for the game. If they have a great innovative multiplayer idea, it's good to hear that EA wants to fund it. If not, leave it be and concentrate resources on what will make the game worthwhile. Not that difficult, really.

#22 Posted by stinky (1549 posts) -

most games multiplayer isn't even active after a couple of months of it being put out.

#23 Edited by Vorbis (2750 posts) -

People seem to be overlooking the bit where he says "under 25 hours". Meaning Bioware games are excluded from this.

#24 Posted by VRMN (41 posts) -

Online component does not necessarily mean multiplayer. In that sense, he's largely right; very few big games these days are complete out of the box with no promise of online content, be it leaderboards, multiplayer, or additional downloadable content.  
#25 Posted by guthwulf (251 posts) -

Yeah sure. Every game needs a lackluster 5 hour singleplayer and a worthless online component slapped onto it which nobody plays one week after the release.
As long as EA can make some online bucks and battle used game sales it's all good, right?
No.
That guy is a fucking moron.
 

#26 Posted by Ghostiet (5289 posts) -
@EpicSteve said:
" He's probably right. I don't get the impression that Gibeau is saying every game needs Team Deathmatch, but some sort of connectivity whether it be co-op, DLC, or leaderboards. This already exists to some level most modern releases.  It's hard to justify a full retail purchase for a title that only lasts 15 hours and has no promise of further avenues of playtime. "
Titles are 5 to 15 hours long is because it's OUR fault. Yeah, let's take it further. Let's kill the single player in FPP's, because some dicks in Activision in EA just can't wait to make it all online, with paid subscription.
#27 Posted by MysteriousBob (6272 posts) -

In other words: 
"STOP BUYING OUR GAMES USED YOU PITIFUL ASSHOLES"

#28 Posted by Vaancor (247 posts) -

This upsets and disappoints me. Not because of what he said, just the simple fact that he's right. How many great, single player, only games have we seen not sale to hot or be a "Blockbuster" right out of the gate? How many times have we heard devs behind even the huge blockbusters mention "oh yeah, according to our data and looking at achievements, not very many people finished the single player mode"?

#29 Posted by UberExplodey (944 posts) -

This dude strikes me as a fucking moron...but then, I'm not a business man. 

#30 Posted by heatDrive88 (2362 posts) -

I think Gibeau has been drinking too much of the same crazy juice that Bobby Kotick has been drinking the past few years.

#31 Posted by nintendoeats (5975 posts) -

Noooooooooooooope.

#32 Posted by EdsXwing (58 posts) -

Forcing multiplayer into games leads to some horrible things, EA had been working its way up in standing in my opinion but they are undoing that every chance they get lately.  EA is back in the fight against Activision for the most DBaggery company in video game history.

#33 Posted by radioactivez0r (861 posts) -

So basically they want more people to buy games during release week, right?  Because for some reason, development costs keep going up and when a game doesn't sell 5 billion copies the first week, it's a failure.  How about instead of worrying about packing even more stuff to justify the dev costs, find ways to reduce them and make sure the game is quality?   I think there are still plenty of people who will pay full price for a really good game; I'm not sure I'm always one of them anymore, but some vague "online component" certainly isn't going to sway me.

#34 Posted by Cybexx (1194 posts) -

So we can expect more games where no one is playing the multiplayer a week after, yeah that helps longevity, especially all those resources that could have been used to make the single player better. 
 
My feeling on multiplayer is that if your doing the standard deathmatch multiplayer you need to think your going to be almost as big as Call of Duty, if not bigger. The reality of course is that those qualifications fit almost nobody. Either that or you need to offer a multiplayer experience you can't get in CoD, such as AC:Brotherhood's multiplayer is a good example. If your not either of these things you just wasted your multiplayer development budget.

#35 Posted by HaroldoNVU (591 posts) -

He is kinda right. I almost always buy games months or years after launch and there are only two negative consequences of doing so to me: spoilers and nobody is on multiplayer. The former doesn't concern this. The latter is the fact that unless the game's multiplayer turns out be hugely popular like Modern Warfare 2 or Diablo II, there's a chance that a few months after a game is released its online component feels "dead". This seems to happen less on the PC which has a huge install base and there are always people upgrade/buying new computers and try games that were unplayable before. But still happens.  
 
I does not affect me so directly because I'm much more into single-player but I can see being a big deal to people, having to buy a game on launch week because everyone else is will be playing that too.

#36 Posted by megalowho (972 posts) -
@VRMN said:
" Online component does not necessarily mean multiplayer. In that sense, he's largely right; very few big games these days are complete out of the box with no promise of online content, be it leaderboards, multiplayer, or additional downloadable content.   "
DLC I can agree with, sure. But unless there's real innovation at play, I don't think leaderboards or other passive online additions are a big enough carrot to do the things EA is hoping for, namely keep people buying games new and holding onto them well after release. Not for me, at least.
#37 Posted by jagenheim (148 posts) -
@MooseyMcMan said:
" So does this mean that they ARE tacking multiplayer onto Mass Effect? 
I hope not....  That would be the thing that would undo all the things EA has done to appear not as evil as Activision... 
#38 Posted by coryrx8 (175 posts) -

The one statement that I really take exception to is his claim that all of the big innovation is happening on the multiplayer side. I COMPLETELY disagree with that. Most multiplayer innovations are tested out in single player, and then are usually adapted to multiplayer in a sequel.    I can count the number of game-changing features that made their debut in multiplayer on one hand, and that's across all genres.
 
I agree that multiplayer is where all of the money is going. Not necessarily because more people want it, but because it discourages trade-ins more easily. It also has more longevity because it's a whole lot easier to crap out a couple of maps in a DLC to get people playing again than it does to create well-crafted single player content. That's what this comes down to: multiplayer is cheap. 
 
It's pretty easy to tell what player preferences are. If offline games are dying, then why are there more single player-only games than multiplayer-only? That's right, because MP-only doesn't sell.

#39 Posted by megalowho (972 posts) -
@Vaancor said:
" This upsets and disappoints me. Not because of what he said, just the simple fact that he's right. How many great, single player, only games have we seen not sale to hot or be a "Blockbuster" right out of the gate? How many times have we heard devs behind even the huge blockbusters mention "oh yeah, according to our data and looking at achievements, not very many people finished the single player mode"? "
Nintendo seems to be doing just fine with their software sales while ignoring the internet almost completely. 
#40 Posted by I_love_Eva_Braun (481 posts) -

EA's Gibeau is a fucking idiot

#41 Posted by Wuddel (2098 posts) -

Single Player will likely always be the most immersive way to tell a story.

#42 Posted by Getz (3098 posts) -
@JacDG said:
" It would be sad if all games decided to implement online features, not all games need it, and it may take away from the polish the game would have, if it was single player only. "  
Case in point, the original Bioshock. Ken Levine once said that they could never have had such an excellent focus on storytelling, art design, and gameplay if they had a segment of their team also focused on making a mutliplayer component. Unless you've got a 2,000 employees (Ubisoft Montreal) you're not going to be able to make a great game if you spread yourself thin. Fact.
#43 Posted by tsolless (465 posts) -

And the War on Used Games continues.

#44 Edited by benjaebe (2783 posts) -

I think a lot of people are missing the most important part of the article, which is:
 

Taking into consideration what you’ve been saying about the importance of dev autonomy and, elsewhere, the need to add multiplayer to games, what if the Visceral team told you that multiplayer isn’t something that should be added to Dead Space? It’s not something completely unforeseeable, considering its genre.

Well, 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. Multiplayer is one form of that. 
 
 Yes but, how would you respond if Visceral told you that Dead Space isn’t the type of game that should have multiplayer? It sounds like EA insists on some game elements, and I am wondering how that affects dev autonomy.
(PR manager: It’s more about educating the developers. Not on the creative side, but on the way people play games. Social media has really changed the way consumers look at entertainment. Everything’s more interconnected and 24-7 these days.) Gibeau: So I don’t go up to every game team and ask – what is your deathmatch mode? [laughs] I look at how to make games a broader idea with online services.


 
They aren't going to tack multiplayer on to a bunch of titles for no reason. They're talking about online connectivity - you know, stuff like Need for Speed's speedwall, or Mass Effect's Cerberus Network.
#45 Posted by Stealthmaster86 (662 posts) -

I'm going to say this because this keeps coming up, but if Single Player Gaming dies and never come back, I will LEAVE GAMING FOREVER. While I do enjoy the occational multiplayer Single play is what I focus on. All my gaming purchases all hinge on Single Player. Nothing more, nothing less.
#46 Posted by Ventilaator (1501 posts) -

Probably not going to play a second of Dead Space 2 online
Probably going to buy Dead Space 2 Day 1
 
 
Just sayin'

#47 Posted by Dustpan (1694 posts) -

Great, the EA servers will be screwing up even more games I play.

#48 Posted by Hamz (6846 posts) -

Hear that? That's the sound of Activision laughing at EA over this. 

#49 Posted by shinluis (429 posts) -

Although I definitely have a solid number of reasons for disagreeing with mr. gibeau, let me summarize all of it into a much shorter but rather sincere statement: FUCK YOU, MR. GIBEAU. FUCK. YOU.

#50 Posted by WJist (314 posts) -
@JustTheDoctor said:
" Great, the EA servers will be screwing up even more games I play. "
THIS.
 
Also, I read this and thought to myself: "Great, more games with mulitplayer-only acheivements that I will never get." : (

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