The slow death of $60 single player gaming


Mostly content creation (assets and designed content using those assets) , unless you project uses its own engine or a heavily modified one. Game scopes have grown, but also has engine functionality so you can still manage with sensible engineering teams (again unless modifying engine code).

But games are huge now, and assets so detailed they take much, much more time to produce. A AAA character can easily take two man months from idea to animated model. Those quake models? One day or two.


I am glad Ubisoft is still making AAA single player games. But looking at that article below from last year, AC Origins is going to need at least 10-15 million copies sold. I mean the size of the map, filled with stuff to do and ridiculous level of detail. I can only imagine the budget they had with the 5 year dev cycle.

This was the write up last year regarding the hiatus, sales figures.


I doubt DOOM was a particular financial success. A studio of hundreds of people worked exclusively on it for 5 years. (Conservative estimate: 5 years * 200 people * $150k fully loaded annual cost per employee => 150M) . It was them promptly discounted to half price within a couple of months of release, a third of the price within six months.


I think it’s entirely reasonable to suggest that too much is being spent on AAA singleplayer games and that some other route needs to be taken to reliably see return on investment. I am skeptical that freemium wallet drainers or competitive multiplayer titles of any sort are a better direction for that purpose because I think there is significantly less room in the market for those titles. After all, your average player will complete a singleplayer title and move on to buy another one (or build up ridiculous backlogs, like I do!), but a player that plays one freemium title or competitive multiplayer thing is probably not going to play another one, much less sink much money into those competing products. Particularly if their friends aren’t also. And while they can be very very lucrative for the lucky few that draw the crowds, I think we’ve seen with MMOs, MOBAs, etc that that only works for a few.


If a game has offline olay against bots, I consider it single player. Battlefront counts, because you could play tons of game modes offline and also split screen. It was actually quite nice. I barely played it online.

Sadly there are very few games where you can play against bots now, besides strategy games. I dunno why. I enjoy them a lot.


I would gladly pay US$60 for Fallout 4, despite its flaws. But not everybody has to have a massive, handcrafted (i.e. labour intensive and hence costly) open world. It sort of goes back to the complaint that every AAA game has some bog standard gameplay elements. Those bog standard elements cost money, while the return of investment (i.e. gameplay hook to players) may be minimial.

If your sequel has to be bigger and better, then the easiest way is to make MORE of everything, not something different. Nowadays AAA developers are getting burned because 2x bigger in everything doesn’t necessarily translate into 2x gross or even net profit.

For example, I’m completely ok with Ubisoft’s iterative approach to making Assassin’s Creed. Every new game every year has something different, but not necessarily bigger than the last one. It doesn’t have to be, as long as there are new and interesting things happening. This year it is Paris, next year London etc. And then they just dropped the iteration and opted for a big bang in Origin. It is still an open question whether Origin will be as big a hit as the investment suggested though.


So true! I feel the open world syndrome really hurt the last Batman game.


I will say if you’re going to do a massive open world it really ought to be handcrafted, though. A massive procedurally generated open world is just boring bloat.


Is it okay for game journalists to tell you to pick up a game later when it’s on sale instead of at full price now? For instance:

The best-case scenario for ELEX is that it’ll be worth picking up on sale a year or two from now after it’s been heavily patched to fix its rampant bugs and infuriating balance problems.


All they had to do was remove “on sale” from that sentence and they’re good.


Sad that this illustrates how the most faithful and profitable customers often get the worst experience from their game.


It’s been that way since about the mid 90’s on PC. The Internet only made it easier because you could more readily download patches.


Yeah but it’s that way for everything. If you’re patient, you get things cheaper and the rough edges will have been smoothed over. Early adopters are more or less “gamma” testers. And pay a premium for the privilege.


Yes? Why wouldn’t it be okay?


And it’s a shame that console games are joining them. Publishers appear to be factoring in a “day one patch” into the normal flow of game releases. Is it even possible to install a game on an XB1 without an internet connection anymore?


@RickH …which is what I was saying when Microsoft entered the business with Xbox many years ago and was so focused on being online and including a hard drive in the box alongside courting PC developers to join them. It’s played out exactly the way I expected it to back then.


There is not even a porthole for my Dreamcast to connect to the Internet and I’m glad it’s staying that way.


Mine did!


Where did you get that nice grey photo background?


Green screen.