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Single-player games are becoming an “endangered species,” laments Blizzard’s Pardo

Wednesday, 3rd October 2012 17:16 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Blizzard’s Rob Pardo believes triple-A single-player games are becoming an “endangered species,” due to emerging business models, piracy, and the ability for players to rent games.

Speaking with GI International, Pardo, the executive vice president of game design and lead designer on World of Warcraft, doesn’t feel large single-player titles will be around for much longer – a fact he laments.

“I don’t see there being a great business model for it these days,” he said. “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.

“A big trend is connecting everyone in their games, be it a full online experience like World of Warcraft, or just being able to have a social experience with other people playing single-player games. You’re seeing all these sorts of elements being explored.

“I think it’s really interesting because it’s not just about connecting someone so I can play with them. It’s about how I can have a social experience around the games that I play even if it’s inherently a single-player game.”

Pardo also believes future genres are going to change through “technological, business, and creativity,” which will create genres players can’t “imagine yet that are going to suddenly appear.”

Maybe these will replace single-player games, then.

Hit up the link for the full interview.

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41 Comments

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  1. Zarckan

    fuck right off you dumb mother fucker!

    the day single player games don’t exist, is the day I stop playing games.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Talkar

    He is right though. The amount of purely single player games, with no form of online connectivity, such as leaderboards are dwindling. Off the top of my head i can only come up with The Witcher 2, and even that had leaderboards patched into it. There definitely still are SP games, but i can’t come up with them right now.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. YoungZer0

    “I don’t see there being a great business model for it these days,”

    Who gives a fuck? Gamers certainly do not.

    “A big trend is connecting everyone in their games”

    Nobody wants that.

    Simply said: Go fuck yourself.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Fin

    @1@3

    Guys ye obviously don’t live in the real world. SP only games have to face what he’s mentioned there, plus tradeins. If developers shoehorn in an MP mode, people are more likely to buy the game themselves and less likely to sell it on.
    Ye can bitch complain all ye want about him bring wrong, but the problem is piracy and used games.

    Answer me this:
    Why would he say SP games are becoming endangered if they weren’t?

    Remember this guy is a VP and obviously not an idiot.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. roadkill

    F**k off c**t! Just because you can’t get as rich as you want by making single player games doesn’t mean that they are an endangered species. A typical Blizzard employee.. I hope you all die in fire you rich a**holes.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. DSB

    That is pretty depressing reading. I guess the fact that he brings up piracy goes a long way to explain what the real motivation behind always-online was.

    @4 So if you’re a VP you’re always right?

    Come on now.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. GanthKing

    Today 3th of Octobor 2012, Blizzard falls.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Dragon246

    Well, awesome epic SP games are certainly decreasing, barring open-world and rpg ones. I really hope sp games always exist. But moronic people should too that they arent helping this cause by renting/buying used/selling their games and then shedding crocodile tears over the net.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Ireland Michael

    > makes nothing but multiplayer titles
    > laments the death of single player games.

    Single player games are just fine. There are still tonnes of great single player games being released, and even the ones with multiplayer components are perfectly decent single player experiences of their own. He’s just being overly dramatic. Not everything has to make billions like World of Warcraft.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. ududy

    He’s right and also completely wrong. As a senior Blizzard employee he’s looking at the game biosphere from the top of a mountain, doesn’t see a lot of Mammoths, so he laments the passing away of Mammals.

    Single player games are alive and well. What the market discovered is that there’s not really that much of a demand for 50-million dollar budget 5-hour games. So what? We are all better for their dwindling numbers.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. The_Red

    The AAA part doesn’t matter. As long as I can enjoy singleplayer games in any form and with any budget, I’ll be good. Heck, I’ve enjoyed a small game like Spelunky (FREE on PC and cheap on XBLA) more than ANY triple-A release in the last 2-3 years.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. CyberMarco

    Maybe I have a short memory, but I don’t remember there was a problem back in the PS1-2 era from piracy in video games. Yeah, today it’s a piece of cake to pirate games, mostly on PC, so was back in the day were you could mod your console by installing a custom chip. Just stick to the less greedy business model and we’ll live happily ever after!

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Phoenixblight

    @12

    No matter how much they cut the price. People will always want to go for free if they can. People are only as faithful as their options.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Ireland Michael

    @11 Likewise, Dust and Mark of the Ninja are two of my favourite games of the year, and they’re both single player.

    When you accept that good game don’t need to cost $60 or be AAA big budget titles, you start to appreciate just how many great games are out there.

    @12 It’s not a problem. They just have a vested interest in stopping it because they think it is

    It hasn’t stopped either the music industry film industry from making more money than ever, and it’s not stopping gaming either.

    The people who steal stuff weren’t planning to buy it in the first place anyway, but stealing it may eventually lead them to actually doing so somewhere down the line.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. ManuOtaku

    Well, they will be if they are like diablo III, with an always connected singleplayer online, the funny thing, with a piece of irony throw in the mix, is that their approach(always connected online) is the real thing that would kill or endangered singleplayer games.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. DSB

    It’s obviously about balance. Cutting prices won’t do anything unless the pricing is a barrier in itself. It’s not anymore, but if you look at Steam, it didn’t truly blow up until the prices started coming down.

    I wasn’t interested in paying 60 euro for a videogame in 2003, but as long as they’re reasonable, I’m there.

    Like Michael says, when executives start talking about piracy they’re talking about potential profits, not lost profits.

    Even with torrents widely availabe, the PC is still every bit as profitable as consoles, but it could have more “potential” profits, depending on how many people you imagine to be pirates.

    It’s like this holy grail for the industry. If only they can get the big chest full of pirate gold, they’ll be set for life. I think it hurts the big picture. I think the industry needs to worry a bit more about their products.

    A bad game isn’t worth 10 euro, fuck 50.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. CyberMarco

    @14 “The people who steal stuff were never going to buy it in the first place”

    I have thought a lot about this situation, but I can’t think it’s a one-way solution. If this is true, then why there are tons of torrents about movies-songs-games etc. if an individual wasn’t keen on the product, he wouldn’t care less for pirating it. I see it like Phoenixblight said, they’ll always try to go the free way.

    @16 Back in 2003 I was more than happy to spend 50-60€ on day one for a game, knowing that it contains the full experience, with most of the bugs/glitches fixed and some real value in the end. Now you buy a 60€+ half-ass broken game, split in god knows how many pieces so they can “extend” the game’s life with DLC, season passes and sequels that could have been DLC…

    #17 2 years ago
  18. Fin

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much ignorance in one page of comments.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. Ireland Michael

    @17 Then why are movie companies and record labels posting record breaking profits all the time, higher than anything they’ve ever made in the past?

    #19 2 years ago
  20. CyberMarco

    @19 Haven’t thought about that really! Well, I tend to download some TV-series, because here in Italy they always dub the original audio because Italians are lazy as **** ( I’m Italian too, half of it anyway :p) and wont learn a foreign language, and you lose most of the meaning of the movie in the translation. (I think other European countries do the same, like Spain)

    #20 2 years ago
  21. GwynbleiddiuM

    He was talking about Triple-A tittles though, for triple A’s and large budgets they have he’s not far off. It’s a sad thing really, but the sad thing goes to the fact that Triple-A tittles are targeting a massive demographic. It has to appeal to everyone and I think it’s a fatigued cycle, people are eventually getting tired with all the same games they’re playing.

    I’m with The_Red and Ireland Michael on this.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. The_Red

    @14
    Those 2 are awesome. Heck, Dust is almost like a triple-A game but without the grey / muted colors and polygon madness. Now… gimmie Super Time Force ASAP!

    @21
    Hopefully we can get even more awesome and unique titles like those 2 small but insanely fun titles.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. ManuOtaku

    Guys keep in mind that dust was done by just one man, that in itself is unbeliveable and remarkable, and i agree mark of the ninja and dust are incredible games

    Right now iam having fun with Heall Yeah wrath of the Rabbit, great game too.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. ignoreLander

    “….single-player games are becoming an ‘endangered species’…. Says the guy whose company produced the most egregious example to ever happen, the ‘online requirement dungoen crawler. What a piece of sh*t.

    #24 2 years ago
  25. Mineral4r7s

    Unplug your LAN Cable and everything except Diablo 3 becomes Single Player =P

    #25 2 years ago
  26. Dragon246

    @Ireland
    “The people who steal stuff weren’t planning to buy it in the first place anyway, but stealing it may eventually lead them to actually doing so somewhere down the line.”
    Yep true. Funny I heard the same thing from a burglar who stole a ferrari and told the court that it would lead him to eventually buy it. But still court didnt understand such a fair argument and sent him to jail and even took the car away from him.

    #26 2 years ago
  27. DSB

    Did he make an illegal copy of that Ferrari, or did he actually steal it though?

    Flawed comparison is flawed.

    #27 2 years ago
  28. CyberMarco

    @26 I don’t think these 2 things are the same, if you pirate a movie, you just take a copy and the previous owner still has the movie, in the case of the Ferrari you get the car but the previous owner doesn’t have it anymore.

    What I think Ireland wants to say is that buy pirating a movie that I’m not really interested maybe I’ll get to buy the next one (or even the same that I pirated) because I really enjoyed the content. That would work in an ideal world, but seeing how stuff works, I really doubt it!

    #28 2 years ago
  29. Fin

    Piracy is wrong.

    #29 2 years ago
  30. Ireland Michael

    @26 I agree with your analogy, but that’s a pretty bad comparison. Hahaha. A $15 movie is a bit different to an entire car.

    (I find it funny how everyone calls me Ireland instead of Michael. Heh. Just something I noticed.

    #30 2 years ago
  31. DSB

    I think Chris England from Goldhawk Interactive wrote one of the most balanced articles on piracy.

    http://www.xenonauts.com/category/news/page/2/

    You can only go with “Piracy is wrong” for so long. It doesn’t change anything, it doesn’t make people like your company, and it doesn’t sell games.

    … Which is pretty much what the industry exists to do.

    #31 2 years ago
  32. TheWulf

    I’m just not seeing that at all, Pardo.

    I mean, sure, you have a few big businesses saying this (EA, Blizzard, et al) but do you really see many of them doing it? Mass Effect 3 was a largely single-player experience, we have had quite a few good single-player games lately, like Fall of Cybertron, Darksiders II, and even a good film tie-in which was better than the film it was based upon (yes, I’m talking about the Amazing Spider-Man).

    And you have tens more if you look outside of my particular tastes. Then you have the big ones on the horizon like Assassin’s Creed and so on. You know, if anything, I’d say that the presence of single-player games is growing.

    No, what this is about is being cynical, it’s about wanting to squeeze money out of people with auction houses, and rationalising DRM with shitty arguments. And who does that, Pardo? Who does that? I wonder. Besides, Newell has pointed out that piracy isn’t a big problem at all for reasons which are entirely too obvious. Piracy is just a scapegoat, an almost imaginary problem for people that want to drain more money from their games than is their right.

    This is just cynicism. Straight up cynicism, pure and simple. Torchlight II has been tremendously successful, with no evil DRM schemes, no online requirements, and no auction-houses. It’s also an offline single-player experience. And I bet that sticks in Pardo’s craw.

    In fact, this sounds desperate. Is Torchlight II doing better than Diablo III did? Does Torchlight II have more buzz surrounding it than Diablo III did? Is that what this about?

    Anyway. To put this succinctly: This man is full of shit. And likely has no dick.

    I mean, rather than own up to making mistakes with Diablo III, we get this sort of BS. It’s ridiculous. I wonder if there’s someone at the Blizzard offices right now asking ‘Why don’t people respect us any more?

    This is kind of why.

    Totally full of shit.

    Learn to respect your customers, Blizzard. Then they might respect you.

    #32 2 years ago
  33. TheWulf

    Also, kind of sad that people forget indies when they make their ridiculous “OMFG SINGLE-PLAYER IS DYING!” arguments. If it’s not triple-A, then likely it’s either single-player, or it’ll have a completely optional co-op mode with offline single-player.

    And look at all of those KickStarter projects which aren’t single-player.

    Oh wait.

    #33 2 years ago
  34. _LarZen_

    Well I think Rob Pardo is wrong and I think people are slowly starting to get a little tired of games pushing multiplayer in to every game.

    #34 2 years ago
  35. Talkar

    Before people get way too worked up, i’ll recommend that you’ll read the full interview so you get the context and not just the sensationalist piece that is posted here ;)

    #35 2 years ago
  36. GwynbleiddiuM

    @TheWulf if you bothered to read it up, he said “TRIPLE-A Single-player”, he never said the single-player is dying, what he said was TRIPLE A Single-Player games are becoming an endangered species! It’s in the FIRST line, check it out before you start writing a book.

    And all of the games you mentioned had some sort of online function, it is also what he said “be it a full online experience like World of Warcraft, or just being able to have a social experience with other people playing single-player games.”

    You’re too quick to discredit what he said, at the same time don’t really bother yourself to read what he has to say, so typical of you.

    #36 2 years ago
  37. Ireland Michael

    Batman: Arkham City
    Skyrim

    #37 2 years ago
  38. Fin

    @37

    Two in the past year?

    Kinda proving his point aintcha?

    Anyway, ya’ll can’t have it both ways. Either don’t pirate and don’t trade in games, then you can have big SP experiences with no online DRM. Pirate and trade in? Tacked-on MP and online DRM is what you get.
    Pick one.

    #38 2 years ago
  39. OrbitMonkey

    Its almost as if this guy doesn’t get that gamers like to play both?

    Lets take Halo for example. Its a big MP game, but would it be as big without the SP story of the Chief ?

    #39 2 years ago
  40. Ireland Michael

    @38 That was just off the top of my head. There are plenty of other examples. There are also a tonne of games with multiplayer components that still manage to have stellar single player in them – Portal 2, for example.

    #40 2 years ago
  41. YoungZer0

    @38: That’s so sad that you have to apologies for the shitty behavior of developers.

    DRM is useless. It always has been, it always will be. The only people it punishes are the real customer. The Always Online DRM of Ubisoft is the reason why they lost so many sales in the PC Market. Yet people who used the cracked version of their games never had to experience the insane problems their games brought with the DRM.

    Don’t trade in games? What are you, fucking retarded? Sorry, but you have to be insane, to think that you – as a customer – shouldn’t have the right to sell YOUR belongings.

    That’s completely nuts and the fact that you think it’s okay, just shows how heavily manipulated you are. The videogame industry is the only industry that thinks it’s highly destructive to trade in their games. You don’t see that kind of behavior anywhere else. James Cameron won’t think less of you if you sell Avatar. Ridley Scott won’t hunt you down if you sell your copy of Prometheus.

    And they shouldn’t, because it your RIGHT to SELL what you OWN.

    Yet corporate sell-outs will have you believe that you’re a big part of the problem by selling what belongs to you.

    If Blizzard wouldn’t have decided to fuck the asses of their paying customer, by installing the DRM they have, i might have bought the game too. Which would mean more sales. And i’m not the only person with principles. But hey, more power to Runicgames.

    See, it’s interesting, that a company like RunicGames can still exist. Look at Torchlight 1. That game had no multiplayer, and no real DRM to speak of, yet it sold, it granted us a sequel and the company thrived. And they sold the game for 20 Bucks! How is that possible? That must be magic, right? Nope, they are simply not greedy sons of bitches.

    Torchlight 2 is out, it has been cracked day-1. Yet, they don’t seem to care.

    Here’s the thing, really: It doesn’t matter how ‘good’ your DRM is. It’s more attractive for crackers if it more restrictive. It took them a few months, but they cracked Ubisofts highly destructive DRM.

    It doesn’t even matter if the game has a multiplayer. Ever heard of Tunngle? Or Hamachi? I can play multiplayer games without any problems, online, with other people.

    #41 2 years ago