Research Finds Fewer Console Games Are Including Multiplayer

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Research Finds Fewer Console Games Are Including Multiplayer

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Publishers are less keen on trying to bundle multiplayer with its games, and an analyst thinks consumers aren't too worried about it.

It's not uncommon to see multiplayer included in major retail releases. It can be a costly design decision, though, given the considerable budget dedicated to developing a solid multiplayer mode along with the core game itself. Electronic Entertainment Design and Research (EEDAR), a videogame market research firm, has found that the industry is gradually shying away from multiplayer, and more games are shipping without it.

EEDAR examined every Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 retail game in the US since 2006, and discovered that the percentage of games shipping without multiplayer rose from 24% to 41%. Conversely, about two-thirds of games released in 2006 came with online multiplayer; that figure dropped to its lowest in 2011 at 38%. The presence of offline multiplayer modes also dwindled, falling about 15% over six years.

Geoffrey Zatkin, chief operating officer of EEDAR, tells the PA Report that well-executed multiplayer can be "the heart of the game", with several games providing best-in-class multiplayer like Call of Duty, Halo and FIFA. However, he also notes that the costs of developing multiplayer (if included) aren't necessarily offset by increased sales of the game.

Zatkin adds that the game may not even benefit from the inclusion of multiplayer in the first place. "Multiplayer is a game feature, and not every feature belongs in every game. Including multiplayer for the sake of having multiplayer doesn't make sense. Multiplayer should be included because it makes the game better," he said, citing several successful games that were focused on a single-player experience, such as Batman: Arkham Asylum, Skyrim, and Fallout 3.

Even though more publishers may be cutting online multiplayer from its games, Zatkin believes that consumers are not particularly worried by the trend. "I don't think that players are noticing," he said. "I believe that people want good games. I don't think any single feature makes every game more fun; putting in a 'little bit of everything' often means that your game doesn't shine in any single area.

"A game that gives you a great experience is what you want; if the great experience involves multiplayer, fantastic. If it doesn't - well, that can be fantastic as well."

Source & Image: PA Report

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Thank the gods for that. You listening EA!?!

luvd1:
Thank the gods for that. You listening EA!?!

EA'll never listen. Besides less multiplayer will mean less online passes, 'digital services' and less DLC they can cut out of the game!

A far cry from bheing upset with the trend I am pleased by it!

The age of including multiplayer inb everything because of call of duty seems to be coming to an end!

I doubt EA will get the memo though

Desert Punk:
A far cry from bheing upset with the trend I am pleased by it!

The age of including multiplayer inb everything because of call of duty seems to be coming to an end!

I doubt EA will get the memo though

The age can't end soon enough frankly, unless your multiplayer is integral then it isn't needed. Especially if you're just gonna copy one of the big sellers.

Really?

*Looks at God Of War: Ascension, Tomb Raider, Uncharted 3, Halo 4, Gears Judgement*

I'm struggling to think of a retail console game that doesn't have multiplayer. DmC, but that's about it. I'd love to know how they got their findings.

luvd1:
Thank the gods for that. You listening EA!?!

I don't like to trash on EA, but they are a follow-the-leader sort of business. They chase after trends in the marketplace that other companies establish. If the trend is currently leaning away from multiplayer, expect that maybe they'll catch on a little later as usual.

There's one key phrase here: These are the games where multiplayer actually IS supported :P

On the one hand, this is good news. The games will be less expensive to make and developers can concentrate more on the core experience.

On the other hand, I find it incredibly depressing that analysts feel the need to basically say, "hey guys, single-player games can be good too, you know!" Kind of goes to show how obsessed the industry has become with multiplayer and social gaming as of late.

And the expanding indie market, too. That's primarily single-player.

Also, why mention Fallout 3? Instead of mention something that riles up a lot of fans of single-player, mention something less stupid. Like The Walking Dead or the aforementioned indie games.

Supposedly good news, except every major game is making a push for multi like never before.
All this news really makes me wonder is where the fuck their statistics come from.

This is pleasing news. I can't stand tacked on MP and gaming is more of a solitary experience for myself. I actually hang out with my friends if I want to be social (WHOA, CRAZY!). I'm glad to hear the seeming trend of constantly tacking on MP modes is just an availability cascade and not supported by numbers or data. The opposite in fact. Happy days are here.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Really?

*Looks at God Of War: Ascension, Tomb Raider, Uncharted 3, Halo 4, Gears Judgement*

I'm struggling to think of a retail console game that doesn't have multiplayer. DmC, but that's about it. I'd love to know how they got their findings.

Forgot Metal Gear Revengeance and Bioshock Infinite

Theres more but cant think for now

Online Multiplayer? That is sooooo last year! Season Passes is where its at, yo! That and dropping your prices 2 weeks after launch for a limited time only sale to pick up those consumers who are on the fence about picking up the game new and are waiting for a pre-owned copy to pop up in a Gamestop.

So... fewer games with unnecessary tacked-on multiplayer? Actually allowing developers to work on the game instead of diverting resources to multiplayer modes that make no sense? Must be the Apocalypse!

Mortuorum:
So... fewer games with unnecessary tacked-on multiplayer? Actually allowing developers to work on the game instead of diverting resources to multiplayer modes that make no sense? Must be the Apocalypse!

Nonono, the doomsday clock hasn't struck midnight just yet. Instead of focusing on multiplayer, publishers are jumping on the Season Pass trolley. So the new strategy is to put a game out ASAP and slowly leak out pieces of the game which should've been included in the initial purchase at the game's launch.

my research shows that this research is full of shit. games that added multiplayer recently (for better or worse):

Grand Theft Auto
Mass Effect
Dead Space
Bioshock
Tomb Raider
SIM FUCKING CITY

EDIT:

Max Payne
Red Dead Redemption

This is good news to me. Too many games have been tacking on the multiplayer just to appeal to the masses (as some of the previous comments have already listed out).

I'd rather play a solid single player with content that keeps me playing than a game that feels like it has to have multiplayer to make it sell well. That said, there is something to be said for games who work the other way around (multiplayer trumps the single).

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Really?

*Looks at God Of War: Ascension, Tomb Raider, Uncharted 3, Halo 4, Gears Judgement*

I'm struggling to think of a retail console game that doesn't have multiplayer. DmC, but that's about it. I'd love to know how they got their findings.

In all fairness, Gears of War is made for multiplayer. If it didn't have online competition, it wouldn't be successful. I think it's only a problem when it's tacked on to something that is usually single player to the core.

Marik2:

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Really?

*Looks at God Of War: Ascension, Tomb Raider, Uncharted 3, Halo 4, Gears Judgement*

I'm struggling to think of a retail console game that doesn't have multiplayer. DmC, but that's about it. I'd love to know how they got their findings.

Forgot Metal Gear Revengeance and Bioshock Infinite

Theres more but cant think for now

Deus EX, Dishonoured, Metro 2033, infamous 1&2?

upcoming? as far as im aware the last of us and sleeping dogs dont have multiplayer

flarty:

Marik2:

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Really?

*Looks at God Of War: Ascension, Tomb Raider, Uncharted 3, Halo 4, Gears Judgement*

I'm struggling to think of a retail console game that doesn't have multiplayer. DmC, but that's about it. I'd love to know how they got their findings.

Forgot Metal Gear Revengeance and Bioshock Infinite

Theres more but cant think for now

Deus EX, Dishonoured, Metro 2033, infamous 1&2?

upcoming? as far as im aware the last of us and sleeping dogs dont have multiplayer

Sleeping Dogs didn't - and what do you mean by upcoming for it? It's been out since last year. Unless you accidentally got it confused with Watch Dogs. Not sure if Last of Us is going to have it or not though.

circularlogic88:

Mortuorum:
So... fewer games with unnecessary tacked-on multiplayer? Actually allowing developers to work on the game instead of diverting resources to multiplayer modes that make no sense? Must be the Apocalypse!

Nonono, the doomsday clock hasn't struck midnight just yet. Instead of focusing on multiplayer, publishers are jumping on the Season Pass trolley. So the new strategy is to put a game out ASAP and slowly leak out pieces of the game which should've been included in the initial purchase at the game's launch.

Season pass isn't the problem as much as day-one DLC. Again, it's easy to beat on Mass Effect 3; making the From Ashes content an add-on instead of including it in the core game was a naked cash grab of the worst sort. The Javik and Liara plot content you can only get with the DLC is so interwoven into the main game (and subsequent DLC, like Citadel) that you're literally missing a huge chunk of the game without it.

Borderlands 2 is the poster child for Season Pass. While the first two pieces of DLC were solid and made it look like buying the season pass might have been a good idea, the Sir Hammerlock DLC was very poorly constructed. My guess is that by 2014 the season pass concept will have died on the vine, at least in its current form. The quality of DLC is so haphazard that giving gamers the opportunity to pay a large chunk of cash now for the promise of DLC that may or may not be worth it when (and if) its released will not be a big money-maker for publishers. Even if I'm wrong, it will not make a lot of money for them from me.

Mortuorum:

circularlogic88:

Mortuorum:
So... fewer games with unnecessary tacked-on multiplayer? Actually allowing developers to work on the game instead of diverting resources to multiplayer modes that make no sense? Must be the Apocalypse!

Nonono, the doomsday clock hasn't struck midnight just yet. Instead of focusing on multiplayer, publishers are jumping on the Season Pass trolley. So the new strategy is to put a game out ASAP and slowly leak out pieces of the game which should've been included in the initial purchase at the game's launch.

Season pass isn't the problem as much as day-one DLC. Again, it's easy to beat on Mass Effect 3; making the From Ashes content an add-on instead of including it in the core game was a naked cash grab of the worst sort. The Javik and Liara plot content you can only get with the DLC is so interwoven into the main game (and subsequent DLC, like Citadel) that you're literally missing a huge chunk of the game without it.

Borderlands 2 is the poster child for Season Pass. While the first two pieces of DLC were solid and made it look like buying the season pass might have been a good idea, the Sir Hammerlock DLC was very poorly constructed. My guess is that by 2014 the season pass concept will have died on the vine, at least in its current form. The quality of DLC is so haphazard that giving gamers the opportunity to pay a large chunk of cash now for the promise of DLC that may or may not be worth it when (and if) its released will not be a big money-maker for publishers. Even if I'm wrong, it will not make a lot of money for them from me.

I agree with you for the most part. I don't begrudge Gearbox or Call of Duty BlOps2 with their DLC... for the most part anyways. The first Borderlands had 4 big, really great DLC blocks and it just made sense to make a season pass to help the fans out with a little upfront discount of 10~15$ in the long instead of paying $15 per expansion. CoDBlOps2 also made sense as the multiplayer maps do get released fairly regularly as well.

My problem comes from DLC like The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct for 1) having the gall to come up with a season pass with an untested, unproven form of gameplay with the franchise and 2) being an obvious cash grab at the success of the AMC TV show and the TellTales game. How do you make a zombie survival game boring and tedious? Survial Instinct.

I'm not sure if publishers are going to stop the season pass trend any time soon. When you think about it, all the publisher has to do is tell the developer to focus solely on the bare minimum story and gameplay to get it booted out the door and that anything else they want to have put in the game can be added/expanded upon after launch in DLC. Its pretty much nickel and diming us over the course of the year for the full content of the game that should've been present at launch. And then... Game of the Year Edition for the original $60 price tag. lolz ur stooopid fur buying ar dlc XDDD

Logic? In the videogame industry???

It's a madhouse! A MADHOUSE!!!!

SSX NEEDS LOCAL MULTIPLAYER!!! (sorry for shouting, i just feel very strongly about that particular reboot)

It doesnt take researchers to realise local multiplayer has been seriously lacking in modern games. I personally think that if consoles want to survive the next generation, they need to bring it back!

I like having the option to do both. Good single player experiences are always nice to have - but it's also great fun to play with a close buddy. Not enough good cooperative games out there. The only notable one in my mind for the last SEVERAL years was Splinter Cell Conviction. And the coop ending for that? Wow.. Voice chat had never gone so silent during a mission..

Timothy Chang:

"A game that gives you a great experience is what you want; if the great experience involves multiplayer, fantastic. If it doesn't - well, that can be fantastic as well."

Capitain Obvious to the rescue of the video games industry!

What took you so long?

Horray! Tacked on, halk baked multiplayer is a waste of time.

This is great, because call of duty can continue upsidegrading their multiplayer experience and everyone else can focus in either on making a multiplay competitor, or on the single player mode alone.

Cheers

I could have sworn that the exact opposite was true, that multiplayer was being tacked onto pretty much every game this generation. I was honestly sure the plague that is multiplayer was only spreading further... it would seem that I should bow to the superiority of market research instead!

MetalMonkey74:
SSX NEEDS LOCAL MULTIPLAYER!!! (sorry for shouting, i just feel very strongly about that particular reboot)

It doesnt take researchers to realise local multiplayer has been seriously lacking in modern games. I personally think that if consoles want to survive the next generation, they need to bring it back!

I HATED the ssx reboot, and hated it even more for the fact that it didn't have any splitscreen. Still cant get that bullsh* excuse out of my ear "oh, oh, the visuals won't be able to sustain itself on the consoles with splitscreen mode, too much processing", GTFOOH...

Big problem iwith the lack of splitscreen current consoles is people are quite alright with thier being no splitscreen, people want there games no matter what greedy moves company's pull nowadays, and the continuing trend shows it.

Next gen (zzzz..)will do fine with a minimum of splitscreen support for games; this generations seems to be doing pretty fine without it.

Bleidd Whitefalcon:

flarty:

Marik2:

Forgot Metal Gear Revengeance and Bioshock Infinite

Theres more but cant think for now

Deus EX, Dishonoured, Metro 2033, infamous 1&2?

upcoming? as far as im aware the last of us and sleeping dogs dont have multiplayer

Sleeping Dogs didn't - and what do you mean by upcoming for it? It's been out since last year. Unless you accidentally got it confused with Watch Dogs. Not sure if Last of Us is going to have it or not though.

erm yes i meant watch dogs =/ dammit

You know what kind of world I'd like to live in? The kind where single player games don't have a forced multiplayer component and where multiplayer games don't have a forced single player component. For example Battlefield and Call of Duty don't need single player. No one buys those games for their 4 hour long scripted single player. On the other side, Mass Effect and Dead Space don't need multiplayer.

Desert Punk:
A far cry from bheing upset with the trend I am pleased by it!

Heh. A FAR CRY! Get it? Cause... FC3 had... multiplayer component... *joke dies*

flarty:

Marik2:

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Really?

*Looks at God Of War: Ascension, Tomb Raider, Uncharted 3, Halo 4, Gears Judgement*

I'm struggling to think of a retail console game that doesn't have multiplayer. DmC, but that's about it. I'd love to know how they got their findings.

Forgot Metal Gear Revengeance and Bioshock Infinite

Theres more but cant think for now

Deus EX, Dishonoured, Metro 2033, infamous 1&2?

upcoming? as far as im aware the last of us and sleeping dogs dont have multiplayer

Skyrim (late in 2011),Darksiders 2, The Witcher 2 (is this out yet on a console?), Kingdoms of Amalur. I believe those are all single player only. Anyhow, of course Halo and Gears is multiplayer. There isn't a reason to play those games without multiplayer. I'd agree, though, that shoving MP into Tomb Raider and Uncharted 3 is a complete waste.

The implications of that list are more intriguing than its explicit conclusions.

This does not necessarily mean single player games sell better, or are largely more popular.
(it could be true, but this trend does not prove it)
It is entirely possible for the number of players (either by gross or proportion) playing multiplayer to increase annually despite the proportion of games offering multiplayer decreasing annually.

Call of Duty 4.x maxes sales every single year, and by far, most of its popularity can be attributed to online multiplayer.
(indicated by sales of map packs and online usage)
It could suggest an avoidance trend of other companies. They can't compete with online megagames since the appeal of those follows Network Good logic (bigger population = bigger appeal).

READ: This is all conjecture, and just an example of the sort of thoughts this provokes.

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