Multiplayer Gaming  Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Multiplayer Gaming  RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Destiny: Proof That Online Gaming Has Impacted Solo Gaming Thu, 11 Sep 2014 08:27:42 -0400 Fathoms_4209

Before you immediately leap to the defense of single-player games, saying they'll "always be around," consider the biggest titles in existence.

Call of DutyWorld of Warcraft, and the newly released Destiny are on that list, as are several other IPs - some MMOs, some that thrive on the multiplayer component despite offering a campaign option - and this isn't debatable. Multiplayer generates far more revenue than any single-player video game and for obvious reasons. Ongoing experiences that require subscription plans and/or offer microtransactions will always outstrip the play-once-and-done formula.

So, from the business side, it's inevitable that we'll see more and more games that focus almost entirely on multiplayer. And while there remains a vocal contingent that supports solo gaming (I'm a member of that group), we're well aware of the continuing trend. You'd have to be blind otherwise.

Will single-player-only experiences be banished to the low-budget indie realm?

Think about it: If a game requires so many millions to produce, it will require so many millions to make money. The easiest method of ensuring a return on your investment is to include a multiplayer component that hooks players for months, even years. There's no denying that those who indulge in multiplayer in MMOs or online gaming like CoD or Destiny play more hours than the average gamer. They almost have to if they wish to progress. Plus, the so-called "social" movement of playing games together has reached a fever pitch; many don't even bother with campaigns anymore.

So, if a publisher isn't going to drag in a huge amount of cash with a campaign-only experience, they're less and less likely to back it. Sure, we've still got great franchises that thrive on single-player; Naughty Dog is a perfect example of a studio that does an amazing job in this capacity. Uncharted and The Last Of Us were incredible, groundbreaking IPs that, while offering multiplayer, obviously centered on the single-player adventure. But such experiences are dwindling in number.

Single-player will only survive if it's BIG

And when I say "big," I'm talking about the world. Grand Theft Auto V was massive because it was massive; because gamers could easily spend 50, 60 even 100 hours in that wonderfully immersive world. The same will be true of upcoming games like The Witcher 3: Wild HuntBatman: Arkham Knight and Assassin's Creed Unity. The bottom line is that if you want to sell a single-player adventure these days, it has to provide the player with a huge amount of play time. The days of selling a game that will deliver 8-10 hours (which was once acceptable) are gone.

Can you even name an upcoming title, other than Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, that will essentially offer a standard-length campaign and little else? Yes, of course, such games do include multiplayer but almost nobody buys them for that reason. On the flip side, almost nobody buys a new Call of Duty for the campaign, either, and guess which makes far more money? And you can't even enjoy Destiny unless you're connected.

There are two types of games in the future: Those that focus entirely on revenue-generating multiplayer, and those that focus on gargantuan virtual worlds where one player can spend 100+ hours.

That's the long and short of it.

If You'd Grow Up, Maybe I'd Play Online More Often Wed, 15 Jan 2014 18:13:39 -0500 Fathoms_4209

No, not you personally. It's just something I say, a general address to the gaming community, when someone asks me why I avoid online multiplayer.

I understand that multiplayer is starting to dominate on a global scale. I also understand its inherent appeal, as I've enjoyed playing certain games at certain times. I can appreciate the heightened competition, and I get that human opponents are infinitely more challenging than AI opponents.

But they're infinitely more annoying, too.

Does your mommy know you're on here?

One of the things that shocks - and disappoints - me during the rare occasions when I go online: the disconcerting number of very high voices playing the extraordinarily violent Battlefield 4 or Grand Theft Auto V. No, I'm not referring to female voices; I'm referring to the voices of boys who obviously haven't reached an appropriate age for the game in question. Even worse, they're often some of the most abusive players you'll find; sometimes I wonder how nobody is hearing them. Do they not have parents? Parents who might be curious about the horrific raging directed at a video screen?

Of course, the depressing answer is that the parents know--they just ignore it. They most likely bought the kid the game, didn't they? Head-in-the-sand ostrich syndrome, I suppose. Still, it definitely doesn't help the online atmosphere, because there's an additional snowball effect when other gamers realize just how young one of the abusers is, they poke relentless fun at said abuser, which only further enrages the hostile kid. It's just a vicious circle of really bad behavior.

Your life appears to be defined by this experience...and that's worrisome

I'm a fairly laid-back individual, but I can be competitive. Just ask my brothers. However, there's a logical, rational line to draw when playing against others, isn't there? The operative word here is "playing." That's what we're all doing, right? Yet, I hear things from people who seem so emotionally invested in the game that you're wondering if they've got money riding on the outcome. Either that, or they have so little to look forward to in life that they've attached an unhealthy significance to a completely fictional experience.

Either way, it's concerning. It's not something I want to hear. If you're a competitive individual, fine. But you also have to prove that you're a stable individual and many times, I seriously question the stability of some people I've encountered online. It's not funny, by the way. I don't find potential mental issues amusing; I find them depressing.

You have "skillz." That's nice. I know what sunshine feels like.

I don't want to imply that everyone who plays games online is some sort of awkward, socially inept shut-in. I know that's not true, especially because multiplayer has become a huge mainstream (and casual) phenomenon. That being said, the well-adjusted gamers aren't difficult to spot when online; they're the ones who just want to play. They're the ones who don't have a meltdown if they lose. They're not who I'm worried about; I'm worried about the people who sound like they'd crawl through the mic and put an axe into your neck, if they could. Hell, people have said that.

Now, if that's the level of emotion you're bringing to the table, it means, psychologically, that you don't get outside much. It means you're pouring more and more of yourself into a fictional world because that self isn't being exposed to the real world often enough. Maybe if they got out more, they'd be nicer people online. They'd see that sunshine and realize that in fact, losing a game to complete strangers is essentially meaningless.

Yeah, it's partly me

I know I can always just play with friends, and I've done that. It's just about all I'll do, though. I really can't stand "interacting" with the general gaming community when online, but I do recognize several factors. First, the type of game you play online really matters. For instance, I never run into psychos when playing Gran Turismo 6 online. Second, I acknowledge my personal preference, which has always been for single-player experiences. If it doesn't have a narrative, I'm going to get bored. I find so many multiplayer experiences unbelievably repetitious and monotonous; that's just the way I am.

Even so, I'm positive that I'd try more online multiplayer games if I wasn't so certain I'd run into people who, frankly, sound like complete wackjobs.