Lock, Stock, and Barrel: EA Kills Single Player?

Ea LogoEach week, there is always bound to be a hot issue that everyone should know more about.  In this column I attempt to gather topics that people are talking about and share their opinions with you.  Be it the media or your average Joe and Jane, this is the Lock, Stock, and Barrel of the what is going on.

What Happened.

In a recent interview with Develop, EA Games Label President Frank Gibeau made the following statement:

“I volunteer you to speak to EA’s studio heads; they’ll tell you the same thing. 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.”

The idea being that single player titles are becoming obsolete and no longer part of innovation within the growing branches of the gaming industry.  EA is making the choice to work more towards online connected content and leave the days of single player titles behind.  Gibeau says, “Online is where the innovation, and the action, is at.”

Media Response.

Kotaku writer Plunkett says, “Not everybody plays games for competition, or sport, or interaction. There are many who play games as a form of escape, a peaceful way to enjoy some time alone,” fortelling a valid concern for fans of single player experiences.  However, News Contributor Logan Westbrook brings up a good point on The Escapist stating,Gibeau stressed that adding online functionality to a game didn’t mean that every game had to have a multiplayer. Rather, it meant that all games would have some level of connectivity, of which multiplayer was just one type.” Massively writer, Jef Reahard is a bit more skeptical writing, “While it’s clear why publishers are desperate to move everything online (hello monetization and DRM), the benefits to the consumer are decidedly less apparent. Whether the larger gaming industry adopts an MMO-style access model remains to be seen, but EA is clearly moving in that direction.”

The People’s Response

The focus seems to be on the original statement and the fear of losing the ability to play single player driving a lot of responses.  Comments are ranging from disappointment to confusion.  One comment by Cowboyhugbees at Massively expresses concern for the business behind the decision, “I’m not entirely sure this is good business for them. Wouldn’t you want to have players constantly buying new games, instead of devoting countless hours to just one or two?” Another comment by SHL23 reminded everyone to, “..read the article. it says single player only games. theres still gonna be single player games with added on mp.” Magicscreenman retorts, “We all get that. What we’re upset about is the inclusion of unnecessary multiplayer for some games, not the removal of singleplayer.” This touches on a point of past players issues with the inclusion of subpar, underdeveloped multiplayer options that left the individuals upset.  The overall consensus is concern that the trend of moving to a more connective future will force players into being connected to enjoy their games or worse, that it could be used to force players into spending more money.

My Thoughts.

If you read the full interview it becomes obvious that this statement does not mean the death of single player games.  Rather, Gibeau is expressing the interest of EA to make their future single player games more in line with trending media by including connectivity options.  There are many forms this could take from chat or social options to multiplayer or content downloads.  Connectivity is the ability for the game to use the internet in order to do any of these things and more.  The fact is, the term connectivity is too broad a statement to claim the death of Single Player games as many have assumed, including journalists.  I do think given the nature of EA’s past assembly line production format that this is a move in the interests of profits over services provided to the player.  I agree that this could be used as a method of pushing monetization or DRMs on the public, which isn’t a good thing.  I stress everyone to do as SHL23 suggested.  Read the full interview for yourself as many of the articles being written about it have been misleading. With that information in mind, what do you think this means for gaming?

Sources: Develop, Kotaku, Massively, The Escapist


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Author: VTV Staff View all posts by
  • MagnusR

    Good day to you, fellow Vagary blogger.
    I am strongly against forcing multiplayer on games that don’t need it (Bioshock 2, anyone?), and although we are seeing this more and more, I don’t think devs are going to stop putting out single-player focused games anytime soon.

    Mass Effect 2 sold several million just earlier this year, and although not developed by one of EA’s internal studios, it was published by them.
    “Connected gameplay” is just a buzz-word for the Facebook generation.
    That’s my two cents.

  • Thanks for the comment MagnusR. I agree that the inclusion of unnecessary multiplayer can be a detriment to the game. Don’t forget though that Mass Effect 2 did have connectivity in its other forms via the ability to see updated news and grab downloadable content. It isn’t all about single player vs. multiplayer. There are a lot of ways that they could add connectivity to a single player game without branching into the multiplayer feel. Mass Effect 2 is a primary example of one of the ways EA is changing the SP experience to one that has a more connected future.

  • MagnusR

    @Gavin T. Well, ME2 is “connected” in the sense that there is plenty of downloadable content, but not in the sense that you are connected to other players. And in my humble opinion, that is exactly how it should stay.
    Mass Effect 3 multiplayer rumors scare me.

  • I get where you are coming from on that one. I hope that it stays true to its single player origins. I merely point out Mass Effect 2 to illustrate that connected doesn’t necessarily mean other people invading your game via chat or multiplayer support. Thanks for the comments Magnus.