Is Single Player Gaming Dying?

My first PC was a Commodore PET with tape drive. My first game on that platform was Weather Wars which I typed into the computer transcribing machine code from a print magazine. So I freely admit I’m a gaming dinosaur.

With decent Internet speeds available almost everywhere, the games industry has responded by creating multi-player coop and death match battle “royale” style games. It’s gotten to the point where finding a single player game is akin to spotting a Dodo.

Single player games like Thief, Half-Life, Duke Nukem and Splinter Cell have morphed into Overwatch, Fortnite and Grand Theft Auto online. That’s great if you’re into that sort of thing, but I’m a nomad.

My schedule is sporadic and setting up a game time convenient to my friends is tough. I could be gaming at 6PM or 3AM depending. Plus, I enjoy doing my own thing strolling around, exploring, trying different things. Having some teenager hyped up on Red Bull ROFL stomping me does nothing for my overall game experience.

I’m not against multi-player, I have multiple Elite Dangerous accounts as one example, but that is a controlled experience and has a solo mode if all else fails. Overall, I’m just finding multi-player displacing single play to the point where we no longer have an option. A few games I own can turn off multi-player, then nag you constantly to join an online session when you do. It isn’t immersive, it isn’t necessary and it’s simply annoying.

TLDR: I prefer Fallout to Fallout 76. Am I alone?

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Of course single player is not dying, it’s just that there is an incredible amount of money to be made from multiplayer and AAA are a bunch of money grubbing [redacted]. Multiplayer locks people into games that their friends are on, competitive is an endless well that means the game itself doesn’t have to provide all of the entertainment just a competent enough sandbox, and because it’s PvP there’s people to show off the shiny crap you bought/gambled to acquire. And now that you’ve bought the shiny crap you’re locked in even more, a depressing circlejerk.

AAA needs to die. We need to accept that the long running franchises that we grew up with are mostly either discontinued or lost to the likes of EA, Activision/Blizzard, Square Enix, Konami, probably a list longer than my arm. Just play the old games and find new indie games that tickle your fancy.

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I say single player IS dying. Multiplayer requires less work and more revenue opportunities. This however is a huge topic but as someone who won’t touch multiplayer games (because they are scams) this leaves little to play. That said most single player games these days are finding ways to cash in on a lot of the same scammy BS so they are rarer and ruined by design anyhow. Right now the #1 game I play is Escape From Tarkov…and I play offline only…not through the games normal offline but like cough offline proper. totally legit cough man something in my throat.

This.

The companies keep adding the multiplayer crap for DRM and better advertising.

No-one (relatively) is gonna buy all the cosmetics without the peer pressure to do so, which is what a lot of multiplayer seems to be geared to

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Totally depends on the genre and audience of the game. I play mostly single-player titles, some also feature multiplayer or coop, but main purpose is singleplayer. Indy games, simulation, RPGs…even AAA titles like Total War or Elden Ring (last AAA titles I bought) are predominantly singleplayer.

But I agree that many genres adapted to the fact that half the world has broadband internet. Cooperative and Competitive experience in games is not a bad thing, but games that focus exclusively on these aspects weren’t feasible during the times of IPX/SPX and nullmodem cables.

If you don’t like the direction of former favorite franchises, indy market is doing great in offering alternatives. The renaissance of e.g. CRPGs opposing the mainstream RPG developments of today, is a prime example of this.

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In normieland maybe :stuck_out_tongue: . My weeb games are as just as forever alone as they always were.

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I really appreciated the Doom2 model. A “good” campaign stock w some “better” levels later and all the while an active community making .wads to give it more longevity.

There was the option built in to menus in Doom or Quake and others for xplayer but to me I thought it should be separate since I didnt use it. “Floppy dishks are expensive” so why pack xplayer in w the campaign? Sure I laughed my ass off playing <12fps battle royale w friends and roommates but it felt bastardized and emersion in the art and story of the game diminished.

Id like more level mods in fps’s and stand alone campaign games. Make the xplayer the DLC addon.

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I don’t think single-player is dying, but I feel like single-player games are being made more by small/indie companies who care more about making a fun game, while AAA companies care more about the money so they’re all cashing in on multiplayer because it opens up more opportunities for creating gambling addiction in teenagers and young adults.

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No reason for the modern AAA developers to spend money making a decent single-player experience when they can pump out another garbage ‘e-Sports’ title for Twitch to put on display and then milk it into the ground. It sucks, but that’s just how it is now. There is a generation growing up now where the ‘typical’ game to them is probably some kind of competitive FPS/arena shooter with potentially tens of thousands of dollars of lootbox bullshit being thrown at them. The days of paying $60 for a complete experience are dead.

And so that means most (not all) of the actual decent single-player games are now rolling out of smaller studios or indie devs. Elden Ring is the first full-price game from a relatively large publisher that I’ve bought since 2019 when Ace Combat 7 came out. I donate to the Dwarf Fortress guys/Tarn on a somewhat regular basis just because I want to support what they’re doing, etc.

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I have >250 games on Steam and many of the ones I keep going back to are indie or borderline. The Long Dark, Dishonored, Subnautica, Hardspace Shipbreaker, the Metro series… AAA studios can do good single player as well: Fallout, Elder Scroll series, Grand Theft Auto, State of Decay 2, but I’m seeing a trend towards multi-player and loot box economies that turn me right off. Never bought Fallout 76 as the premiere example of a train wreck.

When I look ahead to upcoming games I’m seeing The Day Before, Starfield, State of Decay 3, Saints Row (and a bunch of others) all multi-player titles and I have zero interest in go, go go all the time every time.

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I think Age of Empires IV is a good example of why I despise the modern gaming industry so much. An AoE title has goddamn daily quests like it’s a mobile gacha game. It’s not even multiplayer that I mind, it’s that everything now needs to have some sort of shitty competitive ranked system because devs have realized how easy it is to take advantage of the Smash Bros “I have to prove I’m the best at X” type player, which is a lot of them. You know who you are.

I’m just gonna stop or this is going to turn into a rant really quickly.

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Ya that’s a good way to put it.

Not that AAA doesn’t make single player, but they’ve been experimenting with monetization for years and they’ve found that gambling works best. Only problem is it’s kind of hard to integrate that into a purely single-player game where you aren’t able to show off your gambling wins to other players. So new games that would ideally be single-player now have multiplayer elements mixed in to accomodate gambling monetization.

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There is no WAY single player gaming will ever die completely, it’s just too good a medium to tell a story that you CAN’T tell via multiplayer. Plus there are grumpy bastards like me that don’t want to play with you guys.

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RANT Away!

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same, monetization and loot boxes are the death of video games.

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I hope not, but if they do it saves me money. Retro Gaming and Emulation sounds better every day.

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Nintendo just need to release Pokemon and I am content. I despise dailies in any game and if AAA die then they die.

Hades was awesome, Jotun was ok, APE OUT was fun. Good single player games still come out, we just need to spot them.

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For every previously loved genre sucked dry by big blood suckers publishers, there is some well polished Indie title to be found.
And for the price of one big empty multiplayer survival crafting horror basebuilding sandbox with optional stealth escort missions, you can get eight (or more) quality games made by a few friends in their shed.

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even less quality games, can support smaller devs on their way up…

A single player game I’ve got multiple series out on and totally enjoy is Dawn of Man. That game is super fun!

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