Xbox Head of Publishing Says Devs Are Questioning the Cost of Single-Player Games
But: "Storytelling is as central to game development as it ever has been."
Xbox's head of publishing, Shannon Loftis, thinks that the cost to make single-player games will 'spook' many developers. She does reaffirm, however, that she thinks they're not going anywhere, but that there are many questions surrounding their viability from an economic standpoint.
In an interview with GameSpot, Loftis discussed the importance of single-player games. She states that the demand for higher quality experiences comes with an ever-increasing cost for the developers.
Recently, EA closed down their development studio Visceral Games, which was working on a high profile, single-player Star Wars project. With such a big project, it comes as a shock that this would happen. But since then, many industry figures have spoken out about the cost associated with single-player games and what publishers are doing to combat it. Unfortunately, some publishers do this in the form of loot boxes in a full-priced game like Shadow of War, which according to our review plays perfectly well without their inclusion in the first place, which may have actually hurt their revenue instead of helped, though that's yet to be seen.
Loftis commented on her initial statement of single-player games, "I don’t think it’s dead per se, I do think the economics of taking a single-player game and telling a very high fidelity multi-hour story get a little more complicated."
Former Bioware Montreal developer, Manveer Heir recently claimed that EA is probably moving towards more open-world games because it can "monetize then better," Which honestly sounds pretty foreboding.
Zach Wilson, a previous employee at Visceral Games, recently stated that "the assertion that single-player linear games are going to disappear is totally absurd." He implied that the answer may lie elsewhere. "EA might not be the company that carries that torch, but there are so many groups out there that are passionate about this kind of game."
In the end, Loftis thinks single-player games still have a place, stating, "I don't think that there is ever going to be a time when there aren't single-player, story-based games, I do love the idea of building a community around the experience of these games."
While many fans of single-player games may be frothing at the idea of more micro-transactions and loot boxes in their already $60 game, it's hard to deny that cost is a growing issue in the industry. How would you like to see development costs curbed in single-player games?