Rockstar: Single-player attracts bigger audiences than multiplayer
It's strange that the co-founder of Rockstar Games, which is about to launch Grand Theft Auto Online next month, would say that single-player is a better deal than multiplayer.
"I think the well-executed multiplayer game clearly attracts a big audience, but it doesn't attract as big an audience as in a single-player game," Dan Houser told Polygon. "It just doesn't do that yet."
GTA Online offers a multiplayer experience for up to 16 people at once in a persistent online world. It's easy to think of that as the long-term investment — and the real reason people play — but Houser would know the difference: Grand Theft Auto 5, a single-player game, has already made more than $1 billion.
"Not everybody, not even with Call of Duty, not everyone is playing the multiplayer," he said. "There's a huge audience for people who love single-player adventures."
Short single-player games struggle, he said, especially when they don't have multiplayer. But big single-player or multiplayer-focused games can thrive if they're good.
Still, multiplayer is an important extension of GTA 5. "I think we feel passionately about open-world games," said Houser. "What we like about open-world games is that a lot of the qualities of it are not unique to single-player."
Releasing both parts separately allows them to become distinct experiences and lets the team focus on getting each right without compromising quality.
"I think that separating it out will just help people look at it as different products in their own mind a bit more and really give it a good chance to try and play it and enjoy it," he said.