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Blizzard's Pardo: Single-Player Games an "Endangered Species"

GamesIndustry International has an excerpt from their in-depth interview with Blizzard's Rob Pardo where the World of Warcraft lead designer expresses skepticism about the "endangered species" of AAA single-player games. "I don't see there being a great business model for it these days. It's really sad, there's just a lot of elements out there that conspire to make those games difficult to make now," he says. "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."

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65. Re: Blizzard's Pardo: Single-Player Games an Oct 4, 2012, 20:47 Bhruic
 
Beamer wrote on Oct 4, 2012, 10:48:
My point is what Parallax said - they really cherry picked the quote here.

They picked the quote that was likely to be the most controversial. And - surprise, surprise - it's turned out to be. Why is that the least bit surprising?

My other point is that regardless of what is necessary, it's what's happening. AAA single player games are currently endangered because there's a clear trend away from them. Will it be a long term trend? Maybe not. Will it mean all single player games go away? Of course not. We heard warnings of that back when UT and Q3 came out and it never came to fruition. But there's a clear movement towards higher budgets and, therefore, more desperate ways to make money back. If AAA games are more likely to make that money back when they're multiplayer we'll see more of that.

You're again equating two different arguments and presenting them as if they are the same. They are similar, so it's understandable, but they aren't identical. In one, it's "this is happening because of X". The other is "this has to happen because of X". Pardo is claiming the second, you are claiming the first. The problem is, no one is arguing about that it is happening, they are arguing that it doesn't have to happen.

Also, people keep mentioning Diablo 3 as an example of a single player game. It wasn't really. It was a multiplayer game that you could play without other people. It was always on, and the experience was essentially the same with or without people. That was a multiplayer game. SimCity 5 is a multiplayer game. This is going to be the trend from publishers. Whether necessary or not, they're currently making fewer true single player experiences. For the time being.

This again? What defines a single player game vs a multiplayer game is whether you have other people in your game when you are playing it. Terraria, for example, can be played entirely single player. Or you can play it multiplayer. There's no functional difference between either other than your choice of menu selection. The only thing that Diablo 3 did is remove the menu selection. You can still play it single player, you aren't forced to play with other people, so calling it a multiplayer only game is just incorrect. Requiring you to play online doesn't automatically make something multiplayer.

Which isn't to say that Diablo 3 didn't aim their game at the multiplayer side, but the same is true of Borderlands 2. They designed the game around coop. But you can still play it (and Diablo 3) single player.
 
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64. Re: Blizzard's Pardo: Single-Player Games an Oct 4, 2012, 19:10 Prez
 
Yeah, after 30 days you have to log on again. Then you can use guest another 30 days.

I do in fact remember hearing that now. Compared to the crap they saddled Diablo 3 with it is inoffensive and unobtrusive and not a big deal. I am holding out hope they don't have an always-on mandate with the next SC2 campaign but given how far gone Blizzard is I expect to be disappointed.
 
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63. Re: Blizzard's Pardo: Single-Player Games an Oct 4, 2012, 17:09 Mr. Tact
 
Prez wrote on Oct 4, 2012, 16:07:
SC2 was only single player offline for 30 days at a time.

Really? That's the first I heard of this. I played it offline almost exclusively (since playing online led to annoying progress resets when connections to the server was lost) but I never went over 30 days.
Yeah, after 30 days you have to log on again. Then you can use guest another 30 days.
 
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62. Re: Blizzard's Pardo: Single-Player Games an Oct 4, 2012, 16:50 Beamer
 
dorian wrote on Oct 4, 2012, 16:48:
an another thing...i wonder if popcap agrees with pardo's opinion that single player games are not worth it.

Well, PopCap doesn't make AAA games, so they don't fall under the umbrella of his statement.
 
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61. Re: Blizzard's Pardo: Single-Player Games an Oct 4, 2012, 16:48 dorian
 
an another thing...i wonder if popcap agrees with pardo's opinion that single player games are not worth it.  
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60. Re: Blizzard's Pardo: Single-Player Games an Oct 4, 2012, 16:44 dorian
 
its blizzards justificaion for "planned obsolescence".
expect it.

its a forced upgrade on consumers. multi-player population dies..so does the game and that allows them to puke up the same game with improved graphics and charge you again for a sequel (ahem, planetside 2)

look at city of heroes. 20,000 petitioners, enough to justify leaving a server up. nope. NCSoft wants those loosers to fork it over and play guild wars 2 NOW.

software as a service, crap service, like diablo.

show rob pardo what you think of "planned obsolescence", buy an indie game today.
 
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59. Re: Blizzard's Pardo: Single-Player Games an Oct 4, 2012, 16:07 Prez
 
SC2 was only single player offline for 30 days at a time.

Really? That's the first I heard of this. I played it offline almost exclusively (since playing online led to annoying progress resets when connections to the server was lost) but I never went over 30 days.
 
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58. Re: Blizzard's Pardo: Single-Player Games an Oct 4, 2012, 14:45 Flatline
 
Slashman wrote on Oct 3, 2012, 20:39:
Yeah I mean look how crappy the sales for Torchlight 2 were. And Skyrim totally cratered in the sales department too. Everyone just pirated that one or rented it...

The Witcher 2 was a flop. The Batman: Arkham games tanked hard. Xcom: Enemy Unknown will probably be a failure. Dues Ex:HR, The Fallout series, Bastion, Dragon Age: Origins. So much single player fail. How does the industry stand it?

From Blizzard's POV, Torchlight 2, Witcher 2, the batman games, and xcom *are* financial failures. Remember, they were bringing in more than 60 million a month for YEARS. And if WoW sales numbers are the new normal for Blizzard, single player games are a waste of time and money, even if they're financially successful. They just aren't successful *enough*.
 
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57. Re: Blizzard's Pardo: Single-Player Games an Oct 4, 2012, 12:24 Creston
 
PropheT wrote on Oct 4, 2012, 01:54:
mlw wrote on Oct 3, 2012, 23:17:
One word to debate this idiot: Skyrim

Well, 4 words kind of put that to rest when the future of that series is "The Elder Scrolls Online".


TES Online is a spinoff, not the "future" of the series. Todd Howard himself has confirmed that TES Online isn't going to affect the Elder Scrolls single player series in any way, shape or form.

Bethesda would also be fucking insane to switch to an MMO only after Skyrim has sold 10+ million copies (and counting.)

Creston
 
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56. Re: Blizzard's Pardo: Single-Player Games an Oct 4, 2012, 10:48 Beamer
 
Bhruic wrote on Oct 4, 2012, 07:40:
Beamer wrote on Oct 4, 2012, 07:12:
This guy really said a lot of things every single person here agrees with.

I don't know about every single person, but probably most. But I'm not sure what your point is with that - just because someone says something I agree with doesn't mean they can't also say something that I don't agree with - and something that I consider to be stupid.

Is anyone here surprised by that? Yes, there are still big AAA single player games, but we all see the trend the industry is trying to further monetize things to cover the fact that we have a billion people working on most AAA games these days. We may not like it, but we all see that trend.

You're talking about something else here. Can companies make more money by monetizing things? Certainly. Does that mean that doing so is necessary? Not really.

My point is what Parallax said - they really cherry picked the quote here.
My other point is that regardless of what is necessary, it's what's happening. AAA single player games are currently endangered because there's a clear trend away from them. Will it be a long term trend? Maybe not. Will it mean all single player games go away? Of course not. We heard warnings of that back when UT and Q3 came out and it never came to fruition. But there's a clear movement towards higher budgets and, therefore, more desperate ways to make money back. If AAA games are more likely to make that money back when they're multiplayer we'll see more of that.
Also, people keep mentioning Diablo 3 as an example of a single player game. It wasn't really. It was a multiplayer game that you could play without other people. It was always on, and the experience was essentially the same with or without people. That was a multiplayer game. SimCity 5 is a multiplayer game. This is going to be the trend from publishers. Whether necessary or not, they're currently making fewer true single player experiences. For the time being.
 
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http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
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55. Re: Blizzard's Pardo: Single-Player Games an Oct 4, 2012, 10:45 Mr. Tact
 
SC2 was only single player offline for 30 days at a time. D3 was not, in the minds of Blizzard, a single player game. They coded and marketed D3 as a MMO. So, Warcraft 3 was and will probably remain the last single player game from Blizzard.  
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54. Re: Blizzard's Pardo: Single-Player Games an Oct 4, 2012, 10:34 KilrathiAce
 
This will further ensure that we wont get much advancement as far as AI with the engines etc..  
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53. Re: Blizzard's Pardo: Single-Player Games an Oct 4, 2012, 10:01 Optional nickname
 
Dear Blizzard,

Thank you for your time and games granted to us from Warcraft 1, Starcraft 1, and especially Diablo 1. Your next sequels were stellar, but your third iteration of Diablo 3 has totally destroyed your credibility.

I say this to you, as an enthusiastic gamer, since tabletop Pong.

I am in T1 Distribution for NorthAmerica, and all of my database customers of 70,000 professional resellers agree, that they will no longer ever purchase another one of your games. You have left a really bad taste in our mouths

I think you will finally bury yourselves with Titan. May that monster (titan) whack you with it's mallet of might, and forever rest in peace.

You have insulted the integrity of gamers across the land with your experimental Diablo 3. You already ruined innovation with WOW, I guess I must accept there is some defect in human nature, that so many mindless followers still play your games today.

thank you for the memories, but you are officially buried, along with EA in my books.

you really hurt yourselves more than you did me.

P.S, you do have a chance to redeem yourselves, and that is to remove ALL trace of coporatism from your Diablo3 game engine. Will you do this? It depends solely on you. A real man will admit his own flaws.

This comment was edited on Oct 4, 2012, 10:08.
 
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52. Re: Blizzard's Pardo: Single-Player Games an Oct 4, 2012, 09:46 Bhruic
 
Undocumented Alien wrote on Oct 4, 2012, 09:34:
ALL the games that I remember from Blizzard, with the expection of WoW and D3, had Single Player, OFFLINE game modes. There may not have even been a WoW or D3 if thier previous games weren't so successful, that by the way, had SP OFFLINE components.

A single player game isn't the same as a game with single and multiplayer components. Which isn't the same, for that matter, as sololy multiplayer games. I don't see him saying that games with a single player component can't work, just that single player only games can't (or rarely) work. Which, again, I don't agree with, but that's a different issue. Blizzard has never made single player only games. There's almost no chance they'd make a single player only game in the future.

This is about as impactful as if CliffyB said he didn't see much of a market for turn based strategy games. There's no chance (assuming he wasn't quitting) that he'd be making one anyway, so his opinion isn't really noteworthy.
 
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51. Re: Blizzard's Pardo: Single-Player Games an Oct 4, 2012, 09:34 Undocumented Alien
 
ALL the games that I remember from Blizzard, with the expection of WoW and D3, had Single Player, OFFLINE game modes. There may not have even been a WoW or D3 if thier previous games weren't so successful, that by the way, had SP OFFLINE components.

Way to forget your roots Blizzard... or are they still Blizzard?
 
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50. Re: Blizzard's Pardo: Single-Player Games an Oct 4, 2012, 09:20 Verno
 
Man it is really disappointing to hear Rob Pardo of all people say this. I think it's a bit disingenuous, there is a very healthy market for singleplayer games but publishers are absolutely ravenous and wasteful so they want increasing amounts of revenue with numerous ways to monetize the consumer with little risk. They have built these monstrous companies where the shareholder comes before any other consideration and become utterly dependent on expensive marketing for success.

Only in this fucked up industry could someone sell 10 million copies of Diablo 3 and then say singleplayer games are in trouble. This really sucks, it likely means no more SP Diablo or Warcraft.

Preorder a seasons pass and have a chance to unlock a preorder reward! Buy a hat for your pet to battle in a virtual arena! Gaming is such a fucked up business these days.
 
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49. Re: Blizzard's Pardo: Single-Player Games an Oct 4, 2012, 09:17 Bhruic
 
Spektr wrote on Oct 4, 2012, 09:11:
Ok Mr Pardo. You and your company are officially on my black list.

Ok, sorry to single you out, but wtf?

When is the last time you played a purely single player game from Blizzard? When is the last time Blizzard even made a purely single player game? There's no chance that Blizzard had any plans to make a single player only game in the future, even if it was financially viable, because that's not the type of games they make. So why would you "black list" him for making a statement that - while I don't agree with - has zero impact on, well, anything?
 
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48. Re: Blizzard's Pardo: Single-Player Games an Oct 4, 2012, 09:11 Spektr
 
Ok Mr Pardo. You and your company are officially on my black list. Yes I have played WOW for years but those days are yesterday. And I didnt even try D3. Go on and maximize your profits. I'd rather play interesting creative new games like say Minecraft that your nth iteration of your big franchises that you are sucking dry. Burn the ground that you are standing on and we will see where you are in a few years. I really hope Titan is a success because I am sure that the weakening income you are getting from WOW is already not enough for your company and your greedy shareholders.  
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47. Re: Blizzard's Pardo: Single-Player Games an Oct 4, 2012, 08:46 InBlack
 
Ill take Bhruic's reasoning a step further:

Just because Mitt Romney (insert Obama if you like, its all the same to me) said a few things I agree with that doesnt invalidate the fact that he is a total douchebag with a (not so) hidden agenda.
 
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46. Re: Blizzard's Pardo: Single-Player Games an Oct 4, 2012, 08:03 El Pit
 
Beamer wrote on Oct 4, 2012, 07:12:
Yes, there are still big AAA single player games, but we all see the trend the industry is trying to further monetize things to cover the fact that we have a billion people working on most AAA games these days. We may not like it, but we all see that trend.

I see that they are looking for ways to maximize profits. What I can't see right now (and nobody else can at the moment) is that going multiplayer only or with alibi single player (e.g. BF3) will lead to higher profits. The future has to tell this story. I think (but that's just an opinion since neither ActiBlizz nor myself know the future) they would lose a lot of buyers and profits by mainly catering to the multiplayer fans. But let's see whether the other big players in game biz will get on board of the ActiBlizz train and what the outcome will be.

This comment was edited on Oct 4, 2012, 08:59.
 
Consoles? I owned two: a Pong clone and an Atari 2600. And that's it.
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