The slow death of $60 single player gaming


Did you or will you pay $60 for any of them however?


Obviously not; the current conversation is about the relative health of the indie space. I did spend (close to) $60 on NieR Automata earlier this year though.


I feel like I’m not quite on point here, but I do buy a lot of new release games thanks to Best Buy’s Gamer’s Club Unlocked. With 20% (12$) off the top of any game I buy, it’s not a question of whether it’s worth $60 to me (and it’s often the only way to get a discount on Nintendo titles anywhere near the release). Add in the $10 pre-order incentives for games like Fractured But Whole, Mario Odyssey, and SW Battlefield 2, and I’m effectively paying $38 for a new release, which is a very fair price to me. But then, I’m sharing with the family as well.

Indie games can be fun, but I’m letting those slide until they show up in bundles, PS+/XBLG, or deep sale discounts. Suppose that makes me part of the indie “problem.”


Late to the party, but I have to comment on this one…

If you’ve been around Qt3 this long, you remember Tom’s reviews of games like Deus Ex and Secret Weapons Over Normandy. Which should clue you in that his tastes are his tastes and aren’t gospel for everyone. I loved Tom’s writing when I was an editor, I still love it as a reader, but I take the info in his reviews and frame it with my own tastes. The article is always enjoyable, it’s always a template for excellent game writing, but the conclusion is subjective, and in many cases, my tastes differ. That doesn’t negate the value of Tom’s articles, but as with all products a single review should only cement your buying decision if you’re the one who wrote it.

As for Agents, everything in his article meshed with my own experience. But the value of those things might differ for you. And you also barely played the game – you’ve also been a gamer long enough to know that basing an opinion off a tutorial is like judging a TV show by its pilot.


Besides which, Tom’s review is pretty good about warning players that the game is not like Saints Row, and that it’s more like Diablo 3. I haven’t played it yet, but I think anyone reading the review wouldn’t go in expecting a lot of the same things from the Saints Row games, but a different type of gameplay loop.


Value of Tom’s articles = (# of stars awarded + (wumpus annoyance x ∞)) - (word count / screenshots)

No, he said that even though he barely played the game, it was enough to know the reviews were right. If the reviews say something, you don’t have to play as long if you agree with them.



Well, I can play it more and explain in detail why I don’t like it, or you could just read the Far Cry 2 topic we already have.

Anyway, beside the point. My point was that one man’s “BEST WAY TO SPEND SIXTY DOLLARS EVER!!” is another man’s, well, Far Cry 2. So the value of the money spent in one giant up front bundle is extremely difficult to predict, which leads directly to

Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if the amount you spent on a game roughly equated to how long you kept playing it?

Loot crates are even better since only a few whales will subsidize the game for thousands and thousands of freeloaders. Win-win!


Hey, hey.

Plenty of games still get released in stores as $60 boxed products, but these days, the story rarely ends there. Most publishers plan to supplement retail games with add-on content, whether through expansions in a season pass or virtual trinkets via microtransactions. The latter is increasingly prevalent; the marketplace has been moving toward the free-to-play model for years. And one of the business’s “fundamental shifts” is that we’re now at a place where seemingly every other high-profile new release this fall is raising players’ hackles with an exploitative microtransaction scheme.


EA isn’t immune to this trend, because it’s affecting everybody. A number of major AAA single-player games from the past couple of years have failed to meet sales expectations, including Bethesda Softworks’ Dishonored 2 and Prey, Square Enix’s Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, and Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs 2. What’s even more worrisome is that all of those games are open (rather than linear) in their design, even the ones that aren’t open-world experiences per se.


Also, from Ars:

Maybe Visceral is more of a canary in the coal mine, though; a big, public warning that the format can’t sustain itself anymore. Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad writes on Twitter that “Prey, RE7, Dishonored 2, [and] Deus Ex” all underperformed sales expectations this year. “AAA non service / single player games can succeed,” he wrote in a follow-up tweet, “but they really need to be the best in the genre and executed perfectly.”

This is where it’s reasonable to question whether the big-budget, single-player story is peaking or is already on a downswing as a market force.


Neither article mentioned this information that came out yesterday:


But is the point that SP gaming is uneconomical to produce, or that producing games in a ridiculously expensive area of the US is a bad idea?


Pretty sure both in this situation. EA/Visceral massively overspent on Dead Space 2 and Visceral was in a bad (economically) location.


That logic with EA doesn’t make allot of sense if you look at Battlefront II. The two biggest things with that title are the inclusion of the single player campaign and dumping the season pass.


We’ll see just how the single player turns out, but if it’s anything like the Battlefield 1 campaign, well… Trust me when I say the best thing about it will be the cinematics if they follow that model.

As for dumping the season pass, sure. But they replaced it with loot crates. Not just cosmetics like Overwatch either. Your XP progression is literally loot crates now.


It’s nothing like the BF 1 , because that game has no SP. This has been pointed out clearly by Dice. I’ve seen nothing to show the MP has any sort of Pay to win or progress so far. Your just tossing wild speculation out and a fair amount of hating on the unreleased game too.


Whut? Have you played BF1? There is a single player campaign.

And I played the beta of Battlefront 2. It’s got a ton of loot box pay 2 win bull. There have been plenty of people talking about this.

Edit: That’s Battlefield 1.


That was my immediate reaction as well. Guess he meant the first Star Wars BF. Which was lamer for SP’s absence.


I’m sure @Jason_Becker is talking about Battlefront and not Battlefield with that post.

It sounds to me like Visceral Games isn’t a very thrifty studio to begin with. When your sequel uses established assets (or probably should) and you’re running a 60 million budget, maybe you’re not being realistic about your cost to asset ratio and the potential success of ANY game you produce?

DOOM succeeded largely because of single player and in spite of failed multiplayer for a series that is often revered mainly for multiplayer. Maybe you just make great games within a reasonable budget and success will follow?

I think sometimes at the studios under the roof of an EA or Activision, there’s a tendency to believe the money grows on trees…


A naive question - why do games cost so much more to make now than they used to? Is it the effort of programming far more complicated systems and engines, or is it the large amount of voice acting and super-high polygon models that require huge art teams to develop? Does a lot more money go into marketing now?

What I wonder is if one of those areas is driving cost and could be cut somewhat, while still delivering great games. Do development teams need to offer more visual fidelity (now with realistic hair!) to push newer console versions and graphics cards? I don’t want to quite go back here, but I wouldn’t be upset with not-as-great graphics: