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The problem with single-player games – Reader’s Feature

God Of War – successful but increasingly in the minority
A reader looks at the industry’s obsession with games as a service and why single-player games are starting to become a niche concern.
If you’re primarily a fan of single-player content then the shift in priorities to online games and the games as a service model must be infuriating. The number of big budget single-player titles has fallen this generation and the concern must be that this trend will continue.
Sony has been the poster child for story-driven adventure games this generation and have been rightfully rewarded with critical plaudits and commercial success in both software and hardware sales. But while it’s true that God Of War and the rest sold very well the profits from these games is dwarfed by the money made from the likes of Fortnite.
Games as a service also brings in a constant revenue stream to developers rather than the release and done sales of traditional titles, so you can see why publishers prefer this quick turnaround of titles with instant indications of success; rather than pouring money into a title for five years with the hope it’ll turn a profit when it’s released.
People cry for more single-player titles but the pyre of games that struggled to make a profit is high. Sunset Overdrive, Quantum Break, Prey, Dishonored 2, Titanfall 2, Wolfenstein II… three decent new titles, three excellent sequels and more that came and then sank without a trace. You can argue that these games just weren’t good enough but game development is not a science, and for developers the appeal to be able to continue to mould your game into something special must be high.
I personally have really enjoyed Fortnite, but I came in after months of updates to Battle Royale and that in itself was an update to the Horde style game Fortnite started as. Sea Of Thieves has the best emergent gameplay I can remember and it’s been great going back to face the Megalodon and last night I took down the Cursed Sails ships with the help of another vessel and the gameplay felt rejuvenated and fresh.
Horizon Zero Dawn, God Of War, and Uncharted 4 have been my favourite story-driven games this generation (probably supplanted by Spider-Man next month). But with them complete I don’t see myself wanting to go back to them any time soon. Games as a service changes that and I’m enjoying the experiences that brings.
I don’t however want to see the end of big budget story-driven single-player titles. I will continue to invest in Sony and Nintendo hardware and games to play the best single-player titles and I have a real hope that Microsoft have seen the wisdom in investing in these types of games to drive hardware sales. They even have the chance to completely change the way game development is funded through Game Pass and we could see the sorts of innovations that Netflix brought to the TV space.
For players still frustrated at a lack of single-player titles I really hope that the indie developers (à la Dontnod) can step in to fill this void. The graphics may not be as gee whiz bang but that may allow story, character, and gameplay to shine through.
By reader DarKerR (gamertag)/DarKerR-UK (PSN ID)

The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.
You can submit your own 500 to 600-word reader feature at any time, which if used will be published in the next appropriate weekend slot. As always, email [email protected] and follow us on Twitter .

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