EA Says They're Not Killing SinglePlayer Games

Pop quiz: name the video game company leader that said the following: "I have not green lit one game to be developed as a single-player experience. Today, all of our games include online applications and digital services that make them live 24/7/365."

That's EA Games President Frank Gibeau. His remarks — culled from promotional materials for an upcoming cloud gaming conference — that caused a recent uproar. Many took it to mean that the company that publishes Mass Effect would be jamming multiplayer content into their titles, in an effort to try and stop folks from trading in a game when they've burned through the bulk of what it has to offer.

But, when I spoke to Gibeau today at the New York Games Conference, he said that wasn't what he meant.

"Let me clarify," Gibeau began. "What I said was [about not greenlighting] anything that [doesn't have] an online service. You can have a very deep single-player game but it has to have an ongoing content plan for keeping customers engaged beyond what's on the initial disc. I'm not saying deathmatch must come to Mirror's Edge."

Gibeau chuckled at his own example and continued to explain what the shape of EA's game-making approach will be moving forward. "What I'm saying is if you're going do it, do it with an open-world game that's a connected experience where you can actually see other players, you can co-operate, you can compete and it can be social. Everything that we do, we see the telemetry coming in telling us that's the best way to build our business and that's the best way to build these experiences and be differentiated from others. Yeah, I'm not suggesting deathmatch must be in Bejeweled. It's just… You need to have a connected social experience where you're part of a large community"

When I mentioned that a certain sort of player still wants an experience that can't be interrupted through social interaction, he stated that The Sims plays that way. "The new Sim City, you can play single-player," he continued. "Mass Effect 3, you can play single-player. FIFA, Madden…"

"I still passionately believe in single-player games and think we should build them. What I was trying to suggest with my comments was that as we move our company from being a packaged goods, fire-and-forget business to a digital business that has a service component to it. That's business-speak for ‘I want to have a business that's alive and evolves and changes over time'"

Gibeau's thoughts sync up with the vision that EA CEO Peter Moore imagines as the future of gaming. But he says that there's still room for single-player games in that vision, too.

"That was more where I was coming from," Gibeau explained. "That should not be misunderstood as the death of single-player games, or single-player experiences or telling stories. Narrative is what separates good games from bad games. Or great from good, even." So, don't worry about not getting a Campaign/Story Mode in the next Battlefield. It'll still be there, along with all the online elements that point at a more social, connected future.


Comments

    Hey! Somebody from EA mentioned Mirror's Edge!

    *gets hopes up again*

      They are not afraid to keep mentioning it every few months but still no real news or conformation :(

      If it does get a sequel, I'd bet all my money on it being little more than a cover-based shooter with very occasional jumping.

    Still doesn't change the fact they have the EA stamp on them. It's kinda like, certified to have the gaming equivalent of Ebola.

      I still don't get all the EA hate. Mirror's Edge, Dead Space, Battlefield, Need For Speed (Criterion's version of it, at least) have been some of my favourite games this generation, and their sports games (except for the NBA Live fiasco) are generally at least solid, and occasionally a lot better than that.

        Battlefield is going from fun and unique to copying CoD outright. 1942 and 2142 are still the best BF games ever.

        The Sims is a franchise that epitomises the EA model, it's practically a modular game where they slap features on that could have or should have been in the core game. Some expansion packs are worthy of the title, others, not so. Simcity is another issue here, I've never ever seen the appeal of needing an always online connection, and I liked building my cities by myself, thank you very much.

        Bioware games, enough ground has been covered on that.

        There's a small list of game devs that EA have led to ruin over the years, to name some developers that have been beaten into submission by EA : Bullfrog, Origin, Pandemic, Westwood...

        Launching reboots of franchises that have nothing to do with the original franchise, the new Syndicate comes to mind.

        I'm quite comfortable in my dislike of many things EA, they've been perfectly comfortable in demolishing quite a few franchises and developers that I liked very much.

          Battlefield Vietnam or GTFO! So many lost TAFE hours in that game.

        This is why I hate them - they have a track record of buying properties and ruining them.

        Mirriors edge and to a degree Battlefield I agree on. However Dead Space is really a terrible game. It's story is mindly interesting for a horror game, The problem is the game isn't scary and has boring gameplay. In general EA ruins games see Bioware for there next victim and the blundering they caused with swtor and DA 2.

          Well personal preference, I guess. When it comes to survival horror, I'll certainly take Dead Space over what Resident Evil has become.

    Mirrors Edge deathmatch you say....hmmmmm....

    "The new Sim City, you can play single-player"

    Then let me play offline!

    "as we move our company from being a packaged goods, fire-and-forget business to a digital business that has a service component to it."

    But all I want is packaged goods!

    I haven't seen Mirror's Edge anywhere at all recently. Really wish I picked up one of those $5 copies back when everyone was just trying to shovel all their stock out the door as quickly as possible.

      Apparently it's been out of print for ages.

      You can get it on demand for about $30 on XBL though.

        couple of bucks on steam during the last sale

          Yeah but I don't have steam or XBL so gimme dem boxes.

    Adding online (i.e. multiplayer) or social aspects to video games does not ensure survival. If you want to continue making money then you have to create a world that people want to continue to explore. In the case of Mirrors Edge the world just wasn't there, but that's kind of what made it good. Adding scenario packs (i.e. side missions) kind of helps but they have to be really good for us to want to buy them. I can't ever imagine myself wanting to pay for "social" experiences. I real life for that.

    If you have to hook a game on life support and drip-feed it DLC and expansion packs, then it can't be very good can it? I understand that games production is a "business" (not a labour of love anymore), but this is decaying the quality of games. If EA couldn't deliver content through the internet, would it still have two legs to stand on? I think not.
    Also it would be nice to see some original IP. The two games I'm looking forward to most right now are Watchdogs by Ubisoft and Remember Me by Capcom. Take a leaf EA.

    Here's the thing...
    I don't want to be connected, I don't want to 'leverege' my friends to 'enhance' my gameplay experience.
    At the end of the day, I'm over dealing with people... just let me play games by myself.
    Surely I'm not the only one who feels like this?

    Also, you can't call Mass Effect 3 a single player game when you have an end game result dependant on Facebook games, IOS apps and multiplayer matches.

      That hasn't been true since the Extended Cut was released. You can get the best and worst possible endings without any external applications or multiplayer matches since the EMS requirements were dropped significantly with EC. I believe you can go into the final battle and expect the best ending with 3200-3300 EMS which is easily achievable with just Single player rather then the 5600 EMS required previously.

        Yeah - so basically they outright lied, got busted, and patched it.

          *Shrugs Shoulders* Better then lie -> busted -> not patch it

      "Also, you can’t call Mass Effect 3 a single player game when you have an end game result dependant on Facebook games, IOS apps and multiplayer matches."

      Exactly the reason I never bought ME3: "you can play it single player, but we'll lock some of it away unless you do our bidding." eff that

    "online applications and digital services that make them live 24/7/365"
    Forgot the "Except when our servers are down for maintenance or whatever."

    Gaming rule no.1 - Belive the exact opposite of what EA said.

    Shouldn't it be 24/7/52?

    This is also a company that tried new IPs such as Shadows Of the Damned. A game that despite good reviews and a whack story, noone bought. EA hate should be targeted elsewhere.

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