In a recent interview with Games Industry, Blizzard's Chief Creative Officer Rob Pardo agreed that the traditional, big-budget single-player game is an endangered species. He said that between piracy and the ability for consumers to rent games, it's now extremely difficult for publishers to dump millions of dollars into a single player game and not see the financial return they need to make the investment realistic.
"One of the bigger trends is there's a lot of smaller games able to be created, so you are seeing a lot more innovation that isn't possible in the AAA space because of the money and the risk involved," he said. "You'll see a lot of these really innovative indie games, mobile games, social games, that people can try out and test new and innovative ideas."
Some of those ideas, he said, will eventually turn into AAA games. They'll also become an "experimental hotbed of gaming design."
He goes on to defend the subscription-based game model, saying that it still works when games aren't over-valued. That means publishers and developers need to design a game to keep the player engaged on a daily basis. Some have slapped on a subscription model because they thought they could get away with it, and failed. Players looked at what they received for $10 to $15 per month and didn't see any value.
Pardo actually moves on to defend the free-to-play model as well, calling it a strong, friendly business that lets potential customers try a product with no risk, and then lets them pay for what they want (such as gear, locked continents, extra characters, etc).
"I think that is a really strong model," he said. "Free-to-play is almost like a genre of business models, there are so many different ways you can apply it. I think for free-to-play to work really well it has to be deeply integrated with the game design itself. What is it that people are going to buy, and how much are you going to pay for this versus the other thing? One of the biggest issues with free-to-play models these days is the feeling that a lot of games give me: That for me to progress in this game, or to really have a deep game experience, you have to pay. That's where free-to-play gets a bad rap. But that's more the game design than the model."
The full interview can be read here.
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I'm trying to imagine Shadow of the Colossus as anything but a traditional single-player experience and it's making me shudder. Let's make the game free and charge you to boost your stamina; no more lizard-hunting needed! Or hey, we'll upgrade your sword so that it guides you even when you're in the shade!Reply
I have a hard time believing piracy really hurts companies that bad. With steam you've got so many good deals I can't imagine people would pirate games anymore(unless the game is just pure garbage); if someone does pirate games anymore it's sad I think.Reply
I kind of wonder why console games don't have serial codes for accounts yet too, they lose so much money on people trading and selling used games.
Skyrim oh i guess that is not a big hit either?Reply
I think its something like 98% of PC games are pirated copies apparently, thats what EGM claimed and tbh, isn't that surprisingReply
Even with steams awesome sales
FU Blizzard and your shitty World of Warcraft games. No everone likes MMORPG's I would give up gaming before I would start playing stupid unrealistic games like World of Warcrap that takes no skill.Reply
The "is game worth 15$ a month" part is bit funny. Wow is hardly worth anything but people keep playing it because they are so obsessed about virtual items they have there.Reply
I got bunch of friends who always complain how bad wow is, yet they keep playing. When i ask them why wont they just quit, they tell me they dont want the things they worked hard for to go waste.
I dont even.
In response to the title :Reply
No, Blizzard *wishes* single-player games were an endangered specie.
I agree that the $59.99 single-player game with an 8-hour play experience is an endangered species—cough, Activision, Ubisoft, EA—and it damned well should be. Single-player games like Skyrim that offer customization and tons of replay value will continue to do just fine.Reply
Lack of story rich single-player games is what makes me lose the interest in gaming. Mass Effect series was the last game I was interested in.Reply
edogawaI have a hard time believing piracy really hurts companies that bad. With steam you've got so many good deals I can't imagine people would pirate games anymore(unless the game is just pure garbage); if someone does pirate games anymore it's sad I think.I kind of wonder why console games don't have serial codes for accounts yet too, they lose so much money on people trading and selling used games.On the piracy point, I know that a lot of piracy is to actually *try* the game before you buy it, because often times demos are completely non-representative (or non-existent). Publishers see piracy as lost sales, as if every time a game is pirated that's one person that isn't buying it. The thing is, either they don't have the money to buy it (so that's not a lost sale either way), or they like it (after which they're likely to buy it, so it's not a lost sale), or they don't like it and they'll delete what they downloaded (which is a lost sale, but is their fault moreso than the pirate's).Reply
Also, you make a good point about used sales: I'd wager used games hurt publisher's profits much more than piracy (even if what I said about piracy is totally wrong).