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Dyack: Multiplayer surge due to used game sales “hurting the single-player experience”

Saturday, 28th May 2011 17:32 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Silicon Knights boss Denis Dyack believes the surge in games with a large multiplayer component is due to developers and publishers trying to combat used game sales.

Speaking with Industry Gamers, Dyack said the push in multiplayer is not because the firm’s don’t want to create a single-player experience, but that instead it’s just a matter of economics.

“What’s really happening now is people are starting to say ‘why is everyone pushing towards multiplayer?’ Because the used game sales are hurting the single player experience so much, they’re being forced in because of the economics, not because people who are doing single player games are saying,’We really want to do multiplayer’,” he said.

“It’s just a survival thing. That’s why I think cloud computing and all those things are really going to do well for the industry. It’s going to take some time, but I think it’s an eventuality. I think there’s a statistic I saw that most of the boutique retailers are making more money and more sales off of used games than they are off of new games. Those companies are posting record profits and the publishers and developers are laying people off. That’s a very, very, very big problem in our industry.”

Dyack is of the opinion that large retail stores such as GameStop are going digital because the used game industry will eventually make it so GameStop will no longer be a viable company for publisher to work with. This would essentially kill off the stores.

“They’re probably very serious about survival,” he continued. “I think, the cannibilization that they’re doing in the used games market, there have been many people in the industry saying they’re just pushing the accelerator faster to the brick wall. You’re getting guys like us saying we cannot survive under this model. Something has to change. So they’re looking at that and probably going, ‘Oh crap they’re right’ … and so I think they’re looking to survive.

“And just to be clear, the changes that we’re going to see with cloud computing or digital downloads are not a matter of how does our industry be more swarmy and make more money. We’re talking about survival. Literally survival. How does our industry survive. When those types of economics start coming into play, you’re going to start seeing that paths of least resistance.”

Dyack has been a proponent of cloud gaming since the get-go.

Read the rest through the link.

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15 Comments

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  1. onlineatron

    Um, no duh?

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Hunam

    My 2 cents:

    A) Too many games are getting released for people to keep up.
    B) Games are very expensive and single player games are often not good value for time/money.
    C) Publishers spending loads of marketing, more than the game is worth and then putting that on the developers shoulders, meaning they have to sell 3 times as many games to break even than they thought.
    D) Everyone knows that DLC is always (well 90% of the time) for MP, so they get rid of the game knowing full well the SP which they like wont get touched after the game is finished for what ever reason.
    E) A lot of games are treading similar ground now, making them more disposable as everything wants to be an FPS or TPS or what ever.
    F) Everyone wants to sell 8 million of something these days, instead of being happy with 500,000 and budgeting/marketing the game to that end. Publishers want games right now and they throw loads of cash at them and wonder why they don’t break even.
    G) Big publishers only want to be mass market and don’t realise that people still want a decent game that isn’t whizz bang every 4 seconds.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. hitnrun

    Because the used game sales are hurting the single player experience so much, they’re being forced in because of the economics”… he said.

    What?

    What does the game type have anything to do with whether the game is bought used or not? Does he mean in the sense that MP games tend to be bought new? Does he mean forthcoming activation codes? I realize EA has their little pilot program to charge $10 for MP, but I don’t think that’s what he’s talking about.

    What is he talking about?

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Crab of Thunder

    @3 I’d guess he means SP games are bought and then sold on fairly quickly when finished and a mass second hand trade commences (and the devs lose out on the money side) where as MP may be kept longer due to a lasting factor, therefore less are available second hand? Thats a complete guess btw.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. OlderGamer

    For what it is worth I agree with him.

    And with Hunam, some good points in that post.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. DSB

    Silicon Knights, lulz.

    I think people have just started to realize that they can get all the action online without bothering with all the cutscenes and made-for-TV scripts they used to be fed.

    And then there’s the fact that the global number of adequate internet connections are rising steadily.

    Traditional singleplayer games are very much still doing remarkably well, and I guess there might be a slight advantage in making multiplayer the main draw, but then that does nothing to explain why huge multiplayer games like Bad Company 2 or Modern Warfare 2 still bother making a singleplayer campaign.

    That’s money out the window, defenestrated funds, from a corporate point of view.

    It’s cool to be grungy and jaded, but with games like Bioshock, Red Dead Redemption, Mass Effect 2, Portal 2, LA Noire, Fallout 3, Assassins Creed or GTA IV, or this recent blockbuster, or that recent blockbuster, I think the singleplayer apocalypse is still a ways way off.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Phoenixblight

    @6

    What about Witcher 2?!

    #7 3 years ago
  8. DSB

    I had to leave that one for the PC fanboys :D

    #8 3 years ago
  9. DarkElfa

    I call Bullshit. The REAL reason that they’ve been creating so much MP content is because its cheap.

    Not as much scripting, no AI, no writing and most important of all, no damned story that can end causing the player to abandon your game for another once its played.

    Of course the thing that sucks about MP is traditionally the same thing that makes it fun, other players. Gamers are by nature fairly ant-social which makes having to interact with them cooperatively like trying to jerk off a hippo while wearing an oven mitt.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. Jan

    Funny how he see it, but reality is that I just went in and trade a few games just to get La Noire cheaper, so people trade in to get new games as well don’t forget that else you will see a huge drop in SP games since people simple just won’t take the chance

    #10 3 years ago
  11. OrbitMonkey

    @9 You sound uncomfortably familiar with the whole “jerking off a hippo with a oven mitt” scenario… o_O

    I think for awhile we see sp games going 1 of 2 ways.

    1: Tacked on multiplayer (deadspace2), though this can work as Assassins Creed Brotherhood has proven to many.

    2: Story dlc periodically rolled out. Mass Effect, Dragon Age both do this fairly well, though i’d say the quality needs to be more consistant. Plus platform exclusive dlc needs to stop, it alienates large chunks of potential customers.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. Teabag

    RDR sold 8 million copies.

    I rest my case.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. Espers

    1) I hate online multiplayer. Oh how I miss the LAN parties back when we had big friend gatherings playing starcraft. now starcraft 2 sucks and didn’t make a boom, I wonder why ?! ( sarcastically )

    2) games with emphasis on multiplayer are making single player games short and sometimes meaningless, nowadays games don’t leave a good memory in the players thought.

    3) emphasis on multiplayer is becoming a major obstacle in the innovation of gaming ideas. There are no more huge sagas or even gaming worlds. Only Final Fantasy chose to keep it true to games until now.

    4) Before developing a game start by creating a saga. By creating an idea of worlds that will span on several interconnected games. Online multiplayer are just services to make cheap money.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. Espers

    @11,

    I love it when they make exclusive, alienating customers is better than alienating a game quality. You either have money to buy 3 consoles or you stick with the most you like.

    Just because Microsoft made a gaming machine, it doesn’t mean it owns the market of gaming.

    I think if a developer wants to make money from online gaming, they should build a game from the ground up to be online multiplayer.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. TVs Everywhere

    Yeah, no.

    I wish for a day to go by without some developer mouthing off about how consumers are ruining everything. I also wish for a day to go by without said developers justifying their insipid copy-pasta they call game design by using some canned excuse pointing fingers at an imaginary boogeyman they made up for that purpose.

    “Why do devs make forgettable, hackneyed multiplayer? BECAUSE USED GAME SALES, THAT’S WHY” Sounds like irrational finger pointing to me. Really, Silicon Knights? It’s not the fact that multiplayers lets developers/publishers put a generic “WITH MULTIPLAYERZ!!!” bullet point on the back of the box? It’s not because it facilitates development since easily-amused gamers will play on the same damn maps over and over for hours on end? It’s not because developers can make a microscopic amount of assets and charge $15 for it?

    No. I guess not. I guess BECAUSE USED GAME SALES, that’s why.

    #15 3 years ago