[Updated] EA President Thinks Single-Player Games are Finished


Ah Electronic Arts. You've pissed me off so much during this year. With your arrogance and complete lack of understanding the used games market-- you sure have been right behind Activision in publishers that deserve great ire. Well the President of Electronic Arts, Frank Gibeau has divulged us on his new idea that single player games will become a thing of the past. 

According to Joystiq, Gibeau said in an interview with Develop Online, that 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."

So just to be clear, the President of EA, says that single player games will inevitably be replaced with multiplayer games. Not the dumbest of viewpoints, after all, with the Call of Duty series dominating the multiplayer market, how can anyone not think that multiplayer will continue to grow? However, to think that single player focused games will lose all support in favor of multiplayer games is not only ridiculous but quite frightening.

There's plenty of single player games that are perfectly fine on their own without being hindered by some tacked on multiplayer.
 
Alan Wake
Heavy Rain
Enslaved
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
Limbo
Mass Effect 2
Bayonetta
Darksiders

Just to name a few from this year alone. Some games just don't lend themselves well to multiplayer, co-operative or competitive. However, I'm sure the President of EA knows this...

 Oh Hai Dead Space 2 multiplayer!
Also not all developers can afford to buy and maintain servers for online actions. Personally I'd say they're are too many online multiplayer games. It's gotten to the point that unless you can take on Call of Duty then you might as well have not bothered working on an expensive multiplayer mode. Most gamers play one online game and one online game only. People don't have the time or even the money to dedicate for multiple online games.

It really begs the question as to why President Gibeau would go and say such a stupid thing. Clearly he should know that not all games can be multiplayer focused. I mean what would he have to gain from every game going online?

 OHO! Project 10 Dollar, we meet again!
There's no use wondering, it's all very clear. It benefits EA because of their shady new project. Designed to make consumers pay extra money for something that is completely legal and has been around for as long as video games have. Pay extra money for online support that they will inevitably take down in two years. Don't buy into this corporate bullshit. Single-player games are going nowhere and Frank Gibeau should stop lying to people. 

Edit:

Many commentors have made some criticisms, some more constructive than others, that Frank Gibeau is not strictly talking about multiplayer. Rather "Online Connectivity." However, what this means is not made entirely clear. Does he mean DLC, facebook/ twitter integration, social media, leaderboards? Or all of the above? Why do games need a social media aspect? Isn't that left up to the makers of the consoles? The X Box 360 already has all those features why do games need to add them? 

Despite my blunder for not reading the whole article, I still stand by my original statment that not all games should have this "Online Connectivity." A game should be able to stand on its own and not the bells and whistles attached to it for the shear sake of extending it's life. 
 
No "online feature" was going to save Alan Wake from its fate. No leaderboard is going to make Limbo a better experience. The Cerberus Network attached to Mass Effect 2, didn't improve it in anyway, it didn't need it. It was already a great game. No one bought Mass Effect 2 because of it either. The Cerberus Network was pointless and Gibeau's comments are pointless. A game can be just fine on it's own and it shouldn't have to rely on the latest craze in order to be successful.
  Joystiq article
30 Comments
31 Comments
Edited by Bones8677

Ah Electronic Arts. You've pissed me off so much during this year. With your arrogance and complete lack of understanding the used games market-- you sure have been right behind Activision in publishers that deserve great ire. Well the President of Electronic Arts, Frank Gibeau has divulged us on his new idea that single player games will become a thing of the past. 

According to Joystiq, Gibeau said in an interview with Develop Online, that 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."

So just to be clear, the President of EA, says that single player games will inevitably be replaced with multiplayer games. Not the dumbest of viewpoints, after all, with the Call of Duty series dominating the multiplayer market, how can anyone not think that multiplayer will continue to grow? However, to think that single player focused games will lose all support in favor of multiplayer games is not only ridiculous but quite frightening.

There's plenty of single player games that are perfectly fine on their own without being hindered by some tacked on multiplayer.
 
Alan Wake
Heavy Rain
Enslaved
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
Limbo
Mass Effect 2
Bayonetta
Darksiders

Just to name a few from this year alone. Some games just don't lend themselves well to multiplayer, co-operative or competitive. However, I'm sure the President of EA knows this...

 Oh Hai Dead Space 2 multiplayer!
Also not all developers can afford to buy and maintain servers for online actions. Personally I'd say they're are too many online multiplayer games. It's gotten to the point that unless you can take on Call of Duty then you might as well have not bothered working on an expensive multiplayer mode. Most gamers play one online game and one online game only. People don't have the time or even the money to dedicate for multiple online games.

It really begs the question as to why President Gibeau would go and say such a stupid thing. Clearly he should know that not all games can be multiplayer focused. I mean what would he have to gain from every game going online?

 OHO! Project 10 Dollar, we meet again!
There's no use wondering, it's all very clear. It benefits EA because of their shady new project. Designed to make consumers pay extra money for something that is completely legal and has been around for as long as video games have. Pay extra money for online support that they will inevitably take down in two years. Don't buy into this corporate bullshit. Single-player games are going nowhere and Frank Gibeau should stop lying to people. 

Edit:

Many commentors have made some criticisms, some more constructive than others, that Frank Gibeau is not strictly talking about multiplayer. Rather "Online Connectivity." However, what this means is not made entirely clear. Does he mean DLC, facebook/ twitter integration, social media, leaderboards? Or all of the above? Why do games need a social media aspect? Isn't that left up to the makers of the consoles? The X Box 360 already has all those features why do games need to add them? 

Despite my blunder for not reading the whole article, I still stand by my original statment that not all games should have this "Online Connectivity." A game should be able to stand on its own and not the bells and whistles attached to it for the shear sake of extending it's life. 
 
No "online feature" was going to save Alan Wake from its fate. No leaderboard is going to make Limbo a better experience. The Cerberus Network attached to Mass Effect 2, didn't improve it in anyway, it didn't need it. It was already a great game. No one bought Mass Effect 2 because of it either. The Cerberus Network was pointless and Gibeau's comments are pointless. A game can be just fine on it's own and it shouldn't have to rely on the latest craze in order to be successful.
  Joystiq article
Edited by Undeadpool

He's not saying single player is out and multiplayer is in, he's saying games with no multiplayer component are out. The way this keeps getting spun, it makes it sound like EA is only going to make games like Team Fortress 2 where there's no single player whatsoever. And he appears to be right. Tons of games are now adding multiplayer, or did very recently, and they're doing it well ahead of this statement.

Posted by DanielJW

Heavy Rain would've been way better with multiplayer. Let's just face that fact. 

Posted by Bones8677
@Undeadpool said:
" He's not saying single player is out and multiplayer is in, he's saying games with no multiplayer component are out. The way this keeps getting spun, it makes it sound like EA is only going to make games like Team Fortress 2 where there's no single player whatsoever. And he appears to be right. Tons of games are now adding multiplayer, or did very recently, and they're doing it well ahead of this statement. "
The thing is that not all games should have multiplayer.
Posted by mylifeforAiur
@DanielJW said:
" Heavy Rain would've been way better with multiplayer. Let's just face that fact.    
Agreed. Matches to see who could say "Jason" the most would've been thrilling^^ 
Posted by Hailinel

I want to punch this man.  I want to punch him hard.  In the face.  With my fist.  Because that's how you punch someone.  With fists.

Online
Posted by ShiftyMagician

It is only financial motives that justifies the reduction of focusing on single-player content in favour of milking the multi-player cow.  It is also the only one they need to make this distasteful idea a reality.  I always prefer a single-player experience than a multi-player one, and I am sure many other people agree with me on that.  I would personally quit gaming if single-player actually did die in the gaming industry.  
 
Thankfully this is too stupid of an idea to become a feasible reality with how diverse the gaming market really is at the moment.  Not everyone wants to join a multi-player environment with a wafer-thin story background implemented as an excuse to claim that their multi-player modes are not just another cash-grab attempt.

Posted by DanielJW
@mylifeforAiur said:
" @DanielJW said:
" Heavy Rain would've been way better with multiplayer. Let's just face that fact.    
Agreed. Matches to see who could say "Jason" the most would've been thrilling^^  "
Put plates on the table as fast as you can, in game a leader board shows you how you compare to your friends as you progress.
Posted by benjaebe

It's almost like no one reads the original articles anymore. 

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.


What EA is saying is that they want their games to have online connectivity, whether it be a full-fledged multiplayer component or just online features like Need for Speed's speedwall or Mass Effect's Cerberus Network. Nor are they mandating it in their dev studios that they include it.
And the Dead Space 2 multiplayer was fun.
Posted by Bones8677
@benjaebe: But what does online connectivity even mean? Does the game need to be connected in order for it to be played? Or does it have twitter integration? 
 
Remember how everyone got pissed off when Uncharted 2 spammed twitter every time you did something before it was released? And let's be honest, with the 360 having Twitter and Facebook integration, who is seriously using those? I would bet that people want to keep their gaming and social media stuff separate.
Posted by benjaebe
@Bones8677:  Online connectivity. Like Need for Speed's speedwall or Mass Effect's Cerberus Network. Not things that ruin the single player experience if removed, but things that are cool or nice to have when integrated properly. I highly doubt anyone's just going to start tacking on random multiplayer components for no reason. And the Twitter thing wasn't something Naughty Dog intended - there are ways to integrate something like that that would be less intrusive or function nicely.
Posted by ChristOnIce

Aside from Benjaebe, you lot might consider learning to read.  Online component =/= multi-player. 
 
He is advocating adding online functionality to games in general, and he's been more than clear about what this means.  Be it leaderboards, DLC, content management, distribution, etc., online functionality is going to be a large focus.  RDR's single player was no worse for that Social Club bullshit, customization and trading benefit games like Forza, and the leaderboards in Trials HD are well integrated.  With or without multi-player, online components hardly hurt.  
 
I don't do multi-player of any sort, and my interest lies solely in single-player content.  However, bitching about a businessman noting a business trend illustrates only that you are too damned stupid to understand what he said.

Posted by Bones8677
@benjaebe said:
" @Bones8677:  Online connectivity. Like Need for Speed's speedwall or Mass Effect's Cerberus Network. Not things that ruin the single player experience if removed, but things that are cool or nice to have when integrated properly. I highly doubt anyone's just going to start tacking on random multiplayer components for no reason. And the Twitter thing wasn't something Naughty Dog intended - there are ways to integrate something like that that would be less intrusive or function nicely. "
But the Cerberus Network is completely redundant since you can get the DLC from XBOX Marketplace. Not to mention that the free and only content available through the network was arguably the worst of all the ME2 DLC. And there's always been developers who have tacked on multiplayer for no other reason than to lengthen the life of their game. Just check out the 007: Bloodstone quick look.
Posted by Undeadpool
@Bones8677 said:
" @Undeadpool said:
" He's not saying single player is out and multiplayer is in, he's saying games with no multiplayer component are out. The way this keeps getting spun, it makes it sound like EA is only going to make games like Team Fortress 2 where there's no single player whatsoever. And he appears to be right. Tons of games are now adding multiplayer, or did very recently, and they're doing it well ahead of this statement. "
The thing is that not all games should have multiplayer. "
Oh, I agree with that wholeheartedly. I'm not saying he's right, I'm just saying it's not as doom and gloom as it sounds.
Posted by LordAndrew

Single-player games think EA's president is finished.

Posted by foggel

Didn't half of the games you mentioned not sell as well as anticipated?
 
Which is kind of the point here. Some people look for multiplayer possibilities on the back of the cover when they browse games. No multiplayer, no deal.

Posted by Meteora

People need to read the article properly first before going about whining and flailing their arms.

Posted by RsistncE

OP did you even read the full article? Obviously not, or else you'd realize how dumb you're making yourself look right now.

Posted by Bones8677
@foggel: But that's a terrible excuse. Despite some of them not selling as well as they wanted, adding an online component at the last minute would only make the games worse. Even if they did have them, no one would want to play multiplayer versions or partake in their social-media-whatever integration. A lot of those games mentioned are going to get Game of the Year nods and awards.
Posted by iam3green
@DanielJW said:
" Heavy Rain would've been way better with multiplayer. Let's just face that fact.  "
it was scott shelby in the closet... yeah, it sounds like it would be a blast. 
 
hey, i want single player games. i don't want to go on to hear kids yelling into the mic. i don't like when games have multiplayer pretty much put into the game. some games don't need multiplayer.
Posted by Skald
@Bones8677 said:

" It's gotten to the point that unless you can take on Call of Duty then you might as well have not bothered working on an expensive multiplayer mode. Most gamers play one online game and one online game only. People don't have the time or even the money to dedicate for multiple online games. "  

I play more than one online game at a time, (a lot of people I know do) and right now, none of the games I'm playing are Call of Duty. 
 
By the way, here is the first thing he said in the interview: 

 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.     

He goes on to say this about Dead Space 2: 

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.    

It sounds like he's just saying that games with no online presence are suffering for it, and he wants studios to add online features so people will be more reluctant to trade in a game three days after the release date.
Posted by foggel
@Bones8677 said:
" @foggel: But that's a terrible excuse. Despite some of them not selling as well as they wanted, adding an online component at the last minute would only make the games worse. Even if they did have them, no one would want to play multiplayer versions or partake in their social-media-whatever integration. A lot of those games mentioned are going to get Game of the Year nods and awards. "
I agree. But the CEO gets payed to maximize profit.
Posted by Bones8677
@foggel said:
" @Bones8677 said:
" @foggel: But that's a terrible excuse. Despite some of them not selling as well as they wanted, adding an online component at the last minute would only make the games worse. Even if they did have them, no one would want to play multiplayer versions or partake in their social-media-whatever integration. A lot of those games mentioned are going to get Game of the Year nods and awards. "
I agree. But the CEO gets payed to maximize profit. "
And I completely agree and respect that. I just don't like my chain being jerked around. ;-P
Posted by WilliamRLBaker

So then thats why I put 100 hours into MA1 then right? then again its already rumored there will be MP in ME3...which pretty much guarantees the game will be shit...Strictly single player games that add in MP always turn out shit. 
Edited by wolf_blitzer85
@DanielJW said:

" @mylifeforAiur said:

" @DanielJW said:
" Heavy Rain would've been way better with multiplayer. Let's just face that fact.    
Agreed. Matches to see who could say "Jason" the most would've been thrilling^^  "
Put plates on the table as fast as you can, in game a leader board shows you how you compare to your friends as you progress. "
It could be cool when it would pop up what your friends chose at a certain decision making moments.
Posted by Bones8677
@WilliamRLBaker said:
" So then thats why I put 100 hours into MA1 then right? then again its already rumored there will be MP in ME3...which pretty much guarantees the game will be shit...Strictly single player games that add in MP always turn out shit.  "
Well that really remains to be seen. Whether they had planned to have multiplayer from the start or not. We'll see in a couple of days.
Posted by Seedofpower
@Hailinel said:
" I want to punch this man.  I want to punch him hard.  In the face.  With my fist.  Because that's how you punch someone.  With fists. "
I like to punish people with my feet. From a High place. With steel toe boots.
Posted by ThatFrood

Okay, fine. 
Staple on multiplayer in some facet. If it's integrated nicely, more power to you. 
But please, I like it when my games can be played without needing a connection to the internet sometimes. Sometimes I just want to play the game and shut out everything else, including other people and even my friends.

Posted by smokemare
@Bones8677: 
 
I call shenanigans, sure, multi-player online is fun, but anyone who's spent any amount of time tolerating the pointless bitching and whining that you get, even on co-op games like Left 4 Dead, let alone team games must want to get away from that sometimes...
 
I mean to get absorvbed in the story - see it unfolding... And be able to play when your really 'Cack' BT Broadband is off-line... 
 
I'm sorry - but it's idiotic to think games will become online-multiplayer only.  I just hope nobody takes notice of this idiotic idea.
Posted by rm082e

I don't think he's talking about games as a whole, he's talking about EA's focus on games. Their SP games have largely fallen flat. Very few of them have met expectations for one reason or another. They've tried their hand at it and they've consistently seen MP games make them more money. They are a business, thus they will follow the money. Just because they can't figure it out doesn't mean they are jerks. Let them leave the SP games to people who do know how to make a killer product.

Posted by smokemare
@rm082e said:
" I don't think he's talking about games as a whole, he's talking about EA's focus on games. Their SP games have largely fallen flat. Very few of them have met expectations for one reason or another. They've tried their hand at it and they've consistently seen MP games make them more money. They are a business, thus they will follow the money. Just because they can't figure it out doesn't mean they are jerks. Let them leave the SP games to people who do know how to make a killer product. "
Interesting point of view... I suppose if you're right then I might agree with you - EA do, do sports games well, and they are often considered multiplayer games.  Having said that I'm sure i'll have hours of fun playing Fifa either SP vs the computer or with a mate sitting in the same room as me.