Game talkAre single-player games doomed?

 Posted by (Visited 103936 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , ,
Feb 102006
 

The entire video game industry’s history thus far has been an aberration. It has been a mutant monster only made possible by unconnected computers. People always play games together. All of you learned to play games with each other. When you were kids, you played tag, tea parties, cops and robbers, what have you. The single-player game is a strange mutant monster which has only existed for 21 years and is about to go away because it is unnatural and abnormal.

– me, at the Churchill Club

Well, that one set the cat among the pigeons…

After 24 hours, we see story after story after story after story after story on this, and of course, I also got a bunch of emails from co-workers, including the memorably titled “Are you serious?”

Yes, I am serious, but it’s worth digging into the topic a bit more thoroughly.

Historically speaking, single-player games are indeed an aberration.

Games are either symmetric or asymmetric. The vast majority of games are symmetric games: that is, games where the opposition to a player’s activity has the same choices to make as the player does. In tennis, both players get a racket, and a side of the court; in chess, both players get a side of the board and the same array of pieces, and so on. In the pre-electronic days, there were very few asymmetric games.

Some, like fox and geese, literally provided different pieces and choices to each side (the best-known modern multiplayer asymmetric game is probably Starcraft). Others, like solitaire, relied on randomization to provide the cognitive challenge to the player. Upon occasion, you would get asymmetric puzzles, as in crossword puzzles or the current rage of sudoku, but these aren’t really games in the strict sense.

It isn’t until the advent of the computer that we suddenly get widespread asymmetric design. The earliest computer games were symmetric ones — Pong, Spacewar. But quickly, the power of the computer meant that the opponent’s role was taken by primitive AI, and very quickly, developers realized that the very nature of computers meant that the opponent would likely have to have different choices than the player did. The result was games like Space Invaders, where the set of moves available to the player’s opponent is extremely different from what the player can choose from.

The videogame industry became set in an asymmetric pattern pretty early on, and has remained largely in that pattern for a variety of reasons.

  • Human interface factors. It is difficult to get multiple people around a computer monitor.
  • The invention of co-operative play, which permitted players to mimic symmetric sports games (both Gauntlet and the 100m hurdles share this structure; players play in parallel against the same opposition, which in the case of hurdles happens to be physics).
  • As computers developed, it becamse easier to deliver stories using them. It’s notable than many of the objections to my sweeping statement centered around affection for story — not around affection for gameplay.

Taken as a whole, it’s clear that the computer enabled a vibrant new branch of game types to come into full flower — the asymmetric game flourished on the computer, and by and large is clumsy in person-to-person gaming.

However, it’s also worth noting that from very early on, electronic games were also employed in a multiplayer fashion. After all, computers, from very early on, were envisioned to be networked. Right when mainframes were first proliferating across campuses, Spacewar appeared in multiplayer form. Right when PLATO terminals appeared, they were promptly used for multiplayer gaming. Right when personal computers started to be deployed in homes, MUDs were invented to take advantage of early forms of the Internet. When those personal computers were at their peak with the Apple II, Atari 8-bit, and Commodore machines, they came with multiple joystick ports so you oculd play with your friends. Right when online services first began to provide walled gardens for subscribers, there were multiplayer games there to rake in millions of dollars.

The multiplayer game never went away. It especially never went away if you consider how much of even single-player gaming was played with an audience. The default mode of playing a console game today is with multiple people on a couch. In a very real sense, we regularly play single-player games as multiplayer ones, passing the controller around, spectating, and so on. Modern market research data shows that the myth of the solitary gamer bathing in the glow of their cathode ray tube is just that, a myth.

It can be argued that the major reason why so many games were designed for single-player play instead was because of who was doing the designing. If you survey personality types, you’ll find that the personality type of the gamer is strongly introverted. In 21st Century Game Design Bateman and Boon identify what is generally considered to be the core gamer market as mostly INTJ, ISTJ, INTP and ISTP in the Myers-Briggs typology. As they say of their “hardcore conqueror” segment,

The Myers-Briggs types that dominate this cluster (INTJ, ISTJ) are two of four types that research has shown to be common to programmers, and indeed, Type 1 gameplay dominates current game design assumptions in most developers and publishers. In some cases, it seems that this has been identified as the only style of “legitimate” gameplay…

The types of games these players prefer? Action games and computer role-playing games (which it should be noted have very little to do with face to face roleplaying, when regarded from a mechanical perspective, being mostly about acquisition and power fantasies).

These four Myers-Briggs types represent only 33% of the American population. More significatly, they represent only 19% of women.

According to Bateman and Boon, it’s actually the “participant” player type who represents the larger cluster in the general population. They go on to state, “In truth, we lknow very little about these players…”

It is therefore unsurprising to see commentary on my statement that reads like this:

Such optimism towards human interaction is just wonderful, but lets face it. Playing video games in any context will always be much more rewarding than actual human interaction.
-A poster on the Joystiq thread

What we see there, people, is the introvert in action.

It is hardly a major prediction to state that as games that reach these segments become available, that they will be connected in some fashion. And indeed, the major casual games sites, which have enormous female populations, are heavily community-oriented.

Today, even single-player games are played in “connected” fashion. The poster child for this is, of course, Xbox Live. Every single-player game on that platform has online profiles, special badges called “achievements,” awareness of other players playing in parallel — basically, all the qualities of playing games in a living room in parallel, all the qualities of playing in parallel in an arcade, all the qualities of a playground. Competing for a high score in Geometry Wars 2 is exactly the same as engaging in a footrace against the clock; you are playing a lengthy extended parallel symmetric game against other players, whilst you are also playing an asymmetric one against the direct opponent (the computer, in the case of Geometry Wars; physics, in the case of the footrace).

But this is hardly the only way in which this happens. These days, the forums attached to a game are part of the gameplay experience. The collaborative building of walkthroughs is part of the game. The sharing of screenshots is part of the game. The trading of user-created game assets is part of the game. These are all forms of multiplayer play. They have a direct impact on the gameplay experience. They often serve as badges, as profiles, and as awareness of other players playing in parallel.

Some have accused World of Warcraft of being a “massively single-player game” in that it enables solo play to such an extent that you can play much of the game by yourself. Unsurprisingly, many of the current hardcore gamer community cite the attraction of playing by themselves “near other people.” There’s that introvert again… and once again, what the game provides is badges of achievement in the form of levels, profiles in the form of avatars, and awareness other players playing in parallel, via chat channels. And the difference is…?

Half the PC game market revenue comes from games on networks. Casual games, found on websites with forums and chat channels and online scoreboards; and massively multiplayer games, which brings those things within the game. The dwindling segment is the single-player eloaborately architected authorial experience. Even there, vast swaths of the market demand multiplayer content now; try making an action game without it, even a heavily story-driven one. Even the elaborately story-driven experiences made by developers like Bioware and Bethesda come with tools designed to enable players to trade game content.

In addition, the console market will be 99% connected gameplay by the end of 2008 or so as current consoles are abandoned. The entire next-gen is going to a connected experience. Even the most heavily single-player driven experience, the RPGs and story games, will be intrinsically connected. You will never be playing alone; there will always be other players there right on the other side of a network adapter. You will be playing a single-player game only in the sense that a kid on a playground who is swinging on a swing is “playing alone” in the crowd of other kids playing near them, waiting turns, pushing them, and competing with them to see who can loop-de-loop the swing and be the first in the school to crack open their skull.

In the end, there are some fundamental trends driving all this.

  • It’s now physically possible. It wasn’t before. But very soon, all gaming platforms will be on the Net.
  • We’re actually getting everyone to play, instead of only the introverted geeks.
  • This larger audience is partly driven by the fact that the geeks want games that are too damn expensive to break even given how few geeks there are.
  • Lastly, even the introverted geeks want social approval, so they engage in wrapping their games with social content that demands connection, such as walkthroughs and forums.

None of this takes away anything from the immersive story-driven experience that many gamers love. The dense rich RPGs, the elaborate RTS campaigns, the lengthy searches for secrets of the platformer, these things will all still be there as long as we can afford to make them. But they won’t be the single-player game as we know it today. Some compare these sorts of experiences to books. But books are also enjoyed as social activities today — they are traded in book clubs, they are read in classrooms, they are recommended on television and argued about in newspapers. Few books are truly enjoyed as solitary experiences except on a truly momentary level.

Single-player gaming is doomed, because already today, the large crowd playing Solitaire is doing it online, whilst chatting in a chat room, because they can; because the RPG player is doing it whilst chatting with friends about the plot in a chat room, because they can; because fundamentally, the vast majority of humans want human contact even if only fleeting. We want to know where we stand compared to everyone else, whether what we like matches what the world likes, and whether or not others care that we are there.

That’s the connected future. You need to get used to it, because it’s halfway here already.

Edit: Since the Internet seems to be erupting with commentary on this, a short form of my argument: Very soon, all single-player gaming will happen within a multiplayer context of connectivity, persistent and publicly visible profiles, and awareness of other users.

  157 Responses to “Are single-player games doomed?”

  1. embodied in these games can provide the emotional content that Jaffe finds so lacking. [Via Raph's Weblog] [Update: Raph has written a much more detailed explanation behind his statement.]Read | Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments SPONSORED BY: Age of Empires III – Real-Time

  2. Sat 2006-02-11 Star Wars valentines Web development 2.0 No single player games dd_rescue

  3. embodied in these games can provide the emotional content that Jaffe finds so lacking. [Via Raph's Weblog] [Update: Raph has written a much more detailed explanation behind his statement.]Read | Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments SPONSORED BY: Age of Empires III – Real-Time

  4. The entire internet has probably commented on Raph’s controversial statement by now, but then that never stopped me. Yes, I’ve read his point in more depth, I still think he’s deeply wrong. Single player games are no more “unnatural and abnormal” than

  5. Or are they satisfied with the companionship that an additional controller or two will provide? Further to this discussion, Raph Koster declared the single-player experience abnormal – unnatural, even. This is clearly a sensationalist statement – similar to Greg Costikyan’s rant last year

  6. dal resto. Più o meno sul medesimo argomento è intervenuto anche Raph Koster della Sony Online Entertainment, con un post piuttosto provocatorio pubblicato sul suo blog personale, nel quale esordisce affermando che i giochi single player costituiscono, storicamente, un’aberrazione. «Il

  7. Koster, speaking at a panel, proclaimed that not only were single-player games dying, but the trend itself was an aberration. In a blog entry on his site, he elaborated on the theory (emphasis is his):Single-player gaming is doomed, because already today, the large crowd playing Solitaire

  8. over there are great and it sounds like they have some very, very cool projects for me to work on that not only have potential to improve Tiburon’s game design process as a whole, but also coincide with a book I’ve been reading and some thoughts

  9. http://www.tgdaily.com/2006/01/09/online_gaming_revenues/ News comments: Little results were found. Only about 214. And also not many relavent results Meta engine: http://www.ixquick.com keywords used: “blog on online_gaming trends” URL:http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/10/are-single-player-games-doomed Advocacy Comments: About 1,121,250 results found but not many of them are relavent. Meta engine: http://www.ixquick.com keywords used: “online game business” URL: http://www.dfcint.com/game_report/OnlineGamesbizmodelstoc04.pdf

  10. NEWS -I’ve been stewing a bit over thispostover at Raphael Kosters blog. In the post Raph talks about how single player games are on the way out and that we will only be seeing multiplayer/connected games from here on out. He’s got a lot of valid points and while I want to disagree with him I

  11. - with its multiplayer focus – yes. Armored Core, no. And I like Armored Core! I want to earn fake money and slam together savage battloids. It’s that doing so means actively denying this other class of experience. Raph Koster seems more and more like a prophet. We should probably get him out of those stocks. This is why I’m shocked that I’ve plowed so much time into Overlord. I really thought I’d presented the mix succinctly – Pikmin and Dungeon Keeper – but in place, with the full range of levels and

  12. While the post “Are single-player games doomed?” contradicts my post “Best of All, No Multiplayer”, I think there are some important points and the overall the assertion that humans are social animals is undeniable.

  13. plus multiple participants = all eggs in one basket of anti-grav, plasma shielded invulnerability) but that’s a different story. the point is, i feel the logic behind this is best represented, in fact has been taken a step (or giant leap) further by THIS

  14. hate to make a clone without good reason. However, even unrelated to clones, in the past 24 hours a few aspects of popularity within the game world have annoyed me into Blogging about them. Today, Penny Arcade included a link to Raph Koster’s Blog, a doomcast of single player games. It resulted in the thing becoming overloaded, serving up a typical “OMG too much traffic” server message. Raph’s a pretty smart guy, not omniscient (none of us are) but it bothers me that he gets so little traffic that Penny Arcade is capable of

  15. Raph’s Website » Are single-player games doomed? By his definition single player games are indeed doomed if they even existed in the first place. http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/10…-games-doomed/ I can’t … http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/10/are-single-player-

  16. s role could be optional, like the second player’s in “Super Mario Galaxy.” But I liked our idea. It would be more fun than just having him watch me play “Zelda.” In February 2006, game designerRaph Koster posted an essay on his blogabout the demise of single-player gaming. He said, in part, that “The single-player game is a strange mutant monster which has only existed for 21 years and is about to go away because it is unnatural and abnormal.

  17. When you were kids, you played tag, tea parties, cops and robbers, what have you. The single-player game is a strange mutant monster which has only existed for 21 years and is about to go away because it is unnatural and abnormal. There’s been alotof talk on the intarwebs recently about the death of singleplayer, and to a certain degree, I’ve got to take exception. While I certainly won’t debate the increasing prevalence of multiplayer games, nor will I decry the inarguable success of

  18. of true PvP combat makes solo play less appealing. Being a Soloist myself, this is not too much of an issue to me, but what do you all think? Do single-player games have to work harder, innovate more, to deserve your dollar? Is the future of gaming, asRaph Koster seems to think, MMOs? Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments

  19. was the big theme/buzzword for the entire gathering, but I perceived another major trend: everything that is big and promising and exciting has to do with magnifying user participation. I feel like I finally, completely understand what Raph Koster wastalking abouttwo years ago.

  20. In simpler terms, games are communications media, not artistic media. Games talk back. Paintings just hang out. If we consider that virtual worlds are comprised of games as communications media, we can clearly see that games, which are nowalmost always multiplayerand whose end-user experiences are influenced by long lists of contributors and participants, alongside virtual worlds, have the capacity to effect social change. Furthermore, if we consider that massively multiplayer online games are

  21. course, in the process, they bet up on me a little bit too, saying that I only advocate multiplayer for the money in it, or something. For those just joining this particular multiplayer game, you may want to read these older posts of mine:Are Single-Player Games Doomed?Is the shift to online a fad? Have single player games ever existed? Single-player Singularity

  22. Filed under: Game mechanics, Endgame, Opinion, The Daily Grind Raph Kostercertainly thinks so. He feels that single-player gaming is a phase we all went through, and that online, interconnected gaming is simply the next evolutionary step or, possibly, a return to form. People always play games together. All of you learned to play games

  23. I don’t entirely buy the death of single-player games, but here’s an interesting anecdote that might expose a potential future…

    In the early 1990′s, text-to-speech systems were almost exclusively used by the blind. TTS was synthesized in an external box with a DSP that was controlled via a serial cable. These boxes cost $1000+.

    I did a talk at an accessibility conference about the TTS API, and how TTS would be synthesized cheaply on the CPU, without a special DSP box. A number of blind attendees were upset about this; they made the point that TTS synthesized on the host wasn’t fast enough (due to limited CPU speed and the fact that the CPU was doing other stuff) for their needs, and this would cause problems for them.

    They went on to tell me that if cheaper TTS could be produced on the main CPU, their bosses (who didn’t like forking out $1000 for an external box) would buy the cheaper host-based TTS. In the long run, the TTS boxes, which were specially designed for blind users, would die off and a blind person’s only option would be CPU-based TTS, which was general purpose, and which wouldn’t meet the needs of blind users.

    Similarly…

    I’ve been wondering if there has been a decline in CRPG publishing over the last 10 years. MMORPGs, if played single-player, act like a cruddy CRPG. If the percentage of players that wanted to play MMORPGs greatly outnumbered (3-to-1?) the number of players that wanted CRPGs, then I could imagine CRPGs disappearing.

  24. There is wisdom here. Ever since I started playing UO back in 1997, I’ve gotten a LOT pickier about which single-player games will hold my interest. The majority of the games I’ve bought for my Dreamcast and Gamecube have been multiplayer. I own games like Dawn of War, Ultima V Lazarus, and Morrowind, but I barely touch them. It’s just more compelling to play games with other people.

    One thing I do find interesting about this point in the history of games is the rise of the asymmetric game. That will be the true legacy of this period of mutant aberrations. If it wasn’t for Space Invaders and Pac-Man then we might never have acquired the taste for, and design knowledge to make something like Starcraft or Dark Age of Camelot.

    Then again, Computer Games have arisen almost parallel to Dungeons & Dragons and other roleplaying games, and they too provide an asymmetrical gaming experience. Interesting how asymmetry arose in two different types of games at the same time. I wonder if that means anything… like we’ve hit a milestone of human cultural development…

  25. If the percentage of players that wanted to play MMORPGs greatly outnumbered (3-to-1?) the number of players that wanted CRPGs, then I could imagine CRPGs disappearing.

    From a raw audience point of view, I think there’s little question that MMORPGs potentially reach far far more people. They can, after all, offer the CRPG experience, PLUS offer stuff for the other personality types.

    Ever since I started playing UO back in 1997, I’ve gotten a LOT pickier about which single-player games will hold my interest.

    I said it on the panel, but forgot to reiterate it here; yours is a common experience, actually.

    Computer Games have arisen almost parallel to Dungeons & Dragons and other roleplaying games, and they too provide an asymmetrical gaming experience. Interesting how asymmetry arose in two different types of games at the same time. I wonder if that means anything… like we’ve hit a milestone of human cultural development…

    Interesting point. Of course, roleplaying games (at least, when not played as rollplaying games) have a very strong component of just “play”, paidia in Caillois’ sense — of parallel fantasizing, exploration, self-storytelling, etc. That’s a very intrinsically multiplayer sort of activity, compared to asymmetric computer games. I think the enormous gap between CRPGs and pen and paper RPGs demonstrates that.

  26. [...] Comments [...]

  27. Books and movies are single-player, though.

  28. My turn now. Your nuts Raph.

    This whole article is filled with your personal playstyle bias. For example;

    Lastly, even the introverted geeks want social approval, so they engage in wrapping their games with social content that demands connection, such as walkthroughs and forums.

    Show me some evidence that any more then ‘some’ introverted geeks ‘want social approval’ and that they would seek it online instead of among their peer group. And talking about a game to others doesn’t make it not single player any more then my grandmother describing a tough soletaire hand to her neighbor did.

    Soletaire was actually popular because it was mild self entertainment to fill in a little time that was easily transportable. Just because similar entertainments are now more likely on cell phones that can communicate, won’t likely make them multiplayer.

    Instead of working so hard to make a case, try to read it again with a neutral eye. I think you will see the flaws for yourself.

  29. The gaming industry was built upon single-player games; is it a wonder that the Xbox 360 is sucking in Japan? They’re whole thing is single-player RPG’s and other gaming experiences. A good single-player game is just a good book; you don’t read a good book in a group because it really is a sole experience to enjoy. This is because books are based upon one’s imagination, and everyone is going to imagine the book differently; this is the magic of books. The same goes for great single-player games, especially RPG’s. This is why you can’t do those kinds of things in a group, as you get clashing experiences. It’s something you enjoy alone

    What’s the most popular 360 game? Geometry Wars, a single player game. Why? Because it’s damn fun and made by a good, innovative design team who doesn’t base their success upon the avenue of their game, such as single or mutli, but just making sure it’s fun. This is something SOE does not understand

    If it’s fun and engaging, people are going to buy and play it, regardless of what genre or gameplay method it is (Katamari Damacy?) Limiting yourself to a specific genre and depending on it itself to self your game is the sign of a weak developer

    If it’s fun, innovative, has a great story. or is well designed, people are going to play it. Otherwise you would never get hits like Tetris, Metal Gear Solid, and so forth

    Agreed with the above poster. RP’s argument is like being blind to the entire gaming industry and inserting his own bias into it all

  30. Last night I was playing Sid Meier’s Colonization at my desk while my wife was watching Dancing With The Quasi-Stars. We were in a room. We were chatting. It was, therefore, a chat-room. However, I don’t think you could say that I wasn’t playing a single-player game because I was “connected” in this way. I don’t think single-player games are going anywhere, it’s just that how and where and with whom we play them is changing.

    Taking the opposite side, I could be tempted to consider that multiplayer games are just single-player games in which other people are involved. It’s a kind of solopsism where you are the center of the virtual universe and everyone around you (PC’s and NPC’s and MOBs alike) exist merely to serve your experience in that world. If I group with a bunch of players (even friends) my greatest concern is the advancement of MY character, not theirs.

    Oh, sure, I want them to have a good time, and I don’t want to see them have to go on corpse runs, but neither (if I’m roleplaying) do I want to see Lord Frothingslosh the Benevolent die. (Hey, the dude gives killer quests that lead to insane loot!)

    Now, I’m an absolute nobody when it comes to game design, but I feel we’re over-thinking this one a bit. I agree that single-player games will increasingly become more connected and involve other players around our experience. But even if we ever reach a future that has a Tad Williams-esque “Otherland” where the virtu-sphere is a huge collection of connected, but independent worlds there are still going to be experiences that are intended for one person. Because, I think, everyone wants to be THE hero every now and again. Not a hero among heroes. Sometimes you just have to be the alpha male (or female) ;-)

  31. A quick comment limited to “single-player” games:

    If you argue that talking to a friend or reading books (or accessing BBS back in early 90s) about any game makes it social activity – which I tend to agree – then “single-player” game never really existed. And it will never go away since it never really came.

    The only change from the past to future that we can argue is that we have brought these “meta-game-sharing” (social activity about a game outside of the game per se) from old medium (mags, bbs, etc) to the new medium (internet, chat-rooms, Xbox live arcade).

    That’s it in a nutshell – nothing more nothing less.

  32. Pre-computers there were also multi- AND single-player games. I’m not only talking about solitaire here. There were (and are) whole books of puzzles and games (crosswords, cryptograms, word division, etc.) which are specifically for one person.

    I think humans have the need for both internal communion and play AND interactive communion and play. As long as both needs exist, both types of games will exist. In order for the need to “play with ourselves” (heh) to go away, psychologically we would have to evolve a complete disinterest in our own personal growth.

    My favorite MMOs allow me to play single-player style or communally, without forcing me to do one or the other.

    But I also sit in the dark playing guitar hero jamming like a crazy person and very glad no one is on the couch to see me.

  33. [...] Single player gaming doomed, say execs [UPDATE 1]Posted Feb 10th 2006 7:30PM by Jennie LeesFiled under: Culture, OnlineAt the Churchill Club in California yesterday, Peter Moore wasn’t the only one gazing into his crystal ball. Raph Koster of Sony Online Entertainment and Lars Butler, formerly of EA, were cheerfully predicting the downfall of single-player gaming, with Koster going so far as to say that the last 21 years of gaming history are an aberration.Drawing from the fundamental principle that "people play games together", Koster and Butler predict a huge shift in the games industry as the impact of online gaming starts to really hit home. Butler’s claim that "linear entertainment in single-player is to media what masturbation is to sex" is eerily similar to David Jaffe’s comparison between games and porn. Experiences are enriched by the presence of other people, and perhaps the depth of multiplayer gaming and the online social interaction embodied in these games can provide the emotional content that Jaffe finds so lacking.[Via Raph's Weblog][Update: Raph has written a much more detailed explanation behind his statement.]ReadPermalinkEmail thisLinking BlogsComments [33] [...]

  34. Some compare these sorts of experiences to books. But books are also enjoyed as social activities today — they are traded in book clubs, they are read in classrooms, they are recommended on television and argued about in newspapers. Few books are truly enjoyed as solitary experiences except on a truly momentary level.

    I am pretty skeptical about this. Enjoying a book is almost always a solitary experience. The user interface of a book is such that it is much easier for it to be used by one person at a time, and difficult to spectate on (people read at different speeds for example). Most of the people who buy books don’t follow the recommendations of television or newspapers–they follow their own tastes. And I would like to think that most book readers are reading because they want to, not because it was assigned to them for some class they are taking.

    Myself, I buy about a thousand dollars worth of books each year. I read them alone, at most I might recommend or share one that I really liked with someone else.

    And actually, its the same with single-player games–recommending the game to someone else does not make it “multi-player”. Socializing about a single-player game (telling stories about gameplay to other friends who play the same game, for example) might be a multi-person activity but it doesn’t make the GAME a multi-player game in any way.

  35. I think most of the people reading this are misunderstanding the point. A community built around a game makes that game multi-player. So, for example: Spore. Technically single-player, but hopefully quite multiplayer despite that.

    You can have games which you play single-player, but which still have all the benefits of being multiplayer.

    (Personally, I think this ties in with content creation, but I’m a little obsessed about that subject…)

  36. [...] written a much more detailed explanation behind his statement.]ReadPermalinkEmail thisLinking BlogsComments[33] [...]

  37. Interesting Idea, but video games often have as many aspects of movies and books in them as they have aspects of games. Movies and books are both enjoyed solitarily, so I don’t see single player games disappearing either. Perhaps the quirky “it’s just a game.” (casual, plotless, simple and intuitive; like Tetris, Pong, etc.) games will become more multiplayer-driven, but the “interactive movie” game will still remain, and not everyone always likes to watch movies with someone else.

  38. Actually, I thought about it a bit more and now see slightly better where you’re coming from. I suppose an uber sci-fi adventure movie (in the form of a game) would be more interesting if all the other characters are as intelligent as you, acting more realistically than a AI following a preset course of action ever could, but I also think that a self-managed playground like that will never quite work, and even putting as few as 2 players together breeds frustrations that people play by themselves to avoid.

  39. As above, so below – your arguments are also reflected in the latest surge of dot.coms, alternately referred to as “Web 2.0″ or “The Social Web.” Most people are at some level “social animals” and hence there are many traditionally solitary activities that are now benefiting from the injection of community such as writing (blogging), photography (image-sharing communities) and gaming (MP/MMOs). Where it gets even exciting is where we can take something generated by one person and harvest our collective creativity to generate even more varied (and IMO more interesting) content. We not there yet, but it’s starting.

  40. Another person thinking I am nuts.

    Just to be even clearer: the desire for solitary experiences is not going to go away. That’s hard wired into humanity as well. But I have to point out that the number of people who go seek those out in places where there literally are no other people for miles and miles is rather small. Usually, we seek them out in places where we can easily retreat back to the comfort of the crowd.

    You’ll still have all your solo experiences with authorial control. They’ll just be embedded in multiplayer settings. SOE’s access pass + digital downloads, Xbox Live itself, even Steam — these are almost MMOs now, as they are. This will continue. Expect the same from the industry as a whole.

    As far as books and movies… I dunno, I see this trend in movies pretty clearly. Instant cell phone critiques passed around, killing initial box office take. Google Video, with the stuff ranked for me — by you. Tracking Jack Bauer using Google Maps. Streaming video into virtual spaces… MST3King a movie on a virtual space… massively multiplayer TV like American Idol… being able to watch a DVD in a 360 while still on Live, chatting with friends… the fact that kids today multitask TV with homework, iPods, and IM…

    All the harbingers are there. For what it’s worth, I don’t fall into the hardcore segment, but I still prefer solitary experiences played in parallel myself. I tend to only play console games if there’s other people on the couch, but I play solo in MMOs. I read a lot, and spend a lot of time alone. I have to rev up a lot for social occasions, and spin down afterwards. In Bateman & Boon’s terms, I’m a Wanderer.

    Most of the people who buy books don’t follow the recommendations of television or newspapers–they follow their own tastes.

    Actually, some research just hit yesterday suggesting that this isn’t true. :) It was done in the domain of music, not books, though. Bottom line: popularity (particularly amidst your peer group) matters more than personal tastes do in terms of what the average person rates highly.

  41. The Myers-Briggs reference is interesting and consistent to my experience. When our studio did personality testing on the game designers all but one fit the 4 personality types you mention!

  42. I think J said it far better then I. If you narrow the definition of single player games to those that you only play while in your sensory deprivation tank then most assuredly all single player games are doomed.

    If you define it to mean those games in which only a single player is actively manipulating the game elements of a single session then it may well be the largest portion of the games currently played.

    And I think this is far closer to the meaning most people would get if you use the term ‘single player game’.

    The social context of games is certainly growing. Perhaps you should choose a different term.

  43. It’s important to know that the panel was about “connected gaming” not “multiplayer gaming.” So single-player was chosen in opposition to that.

    I still stand by what I said above, though. :)

  44. [...] [Crash] [PN] 11.02.2006 22:18Zitat: Laut Butler ist Mulitplayer-Gaming die Zukunft, und Singleplayer sind f�r das Gaming das, was f�r den Sex die Masturbation ist Der Tysp h�rt sich wie ein Online Freak an ONLINE GAMING WIRD DIE WELTHERSCHAFT AN SICH REISSEN *MUAHAHAHAHA* Son Idiot xD [Swisslink] [PN] 11.02.2006 22:22Zitat:- Laut Butler ist Mulitplayer-Gaming die Zukunft, und Singleplayer sind f�r das Gaming das, was f�r den Sex die Masturbation ist Was ist denn das f�r ein Volltrottel? ? [quirl] [PN] 11.02.2006 22:23Zitat:- Menschen spielen Spiele immer gemeinsam, als Kinder wie auch als Erwachsene. Das Single-Player-Spiel ist ein Mutant der die letzten 21 Jahre existiert hat, und aufgrund seiner Abnormit�t verschwinden wird ??? rolf was f�r ein verdammter Kr�ppel!!! Bei Sony hams echt Leute die einfach nur eingesperrt und gefotzt geh�ren… [Zak] [PN] 11.02.2006 22:25Also Leute die nur SP oder MP m�gen sind f�r das Gaming das, was f�r den Sex die Leute sind, die nicht mit ihrer Sexualit�t klarkommen? Oder sowas in der Art. [...]

  45. [...] deusx : Raph’s Website » Are single-player games doomed? – “It can be argued that the major reason why so many games were designed for single-player play instead was because of who was doing the designing.”

    Nelson Minar : No single player games – Provocative and thoughtful essay on the social aspects of gaming [...]

  46. [...] Single player games are DOMED!!11 Got the title right this time. Koster Link Anyway, Koster and friends have a big shindig at a place called the Churchill Club. In typical, we love worlds fashion, they say a lot of statements like: Quote: [...]

  47. [...] Raph Koster expands on what he means. Granted you may disagree with him, but reading that makes me think he’s spent a damn sight longer thinking about the philosophy of gaming than alot of people, and makes some good points. Doesnt mean he’s right, but I think it shows that behind the soundbites he does have “a clue”. [...]

  48. So in other words:
    Very soon, Single Player Masterpieces like Ultima IV and Ultima VII will no longer be possible. Instead, they will be superceded with “triumphs” of multiplayerism like Ultima Online.

    Gee that’s what i call real progress. :(

  49. No, more likely a masterpiece like Ultima VII will be an instanced adventure within something larger.

  50. While I’m still not convinced that single player games will go away, some more thoughts…

    No, more likely a masterpiece like Ultima VII will be an instanced adventure within something larger.

    Ultima VII might be group-play, where you can play it alone, or invite a few friends to play it with you. You could either host the server on your own PC, or for copy protection, it might only be available through official Ultimata VII servers.

    Another possibility is single-player but download on demand. This way, you could play game X’s first level with only a small download. While you’re playing that level, the next one is loading in the background. This is a great solution for shareware since it reduces bandwidth costs since 99% of the downloads are just people browsing, and they’ll only play for 10-30 minutes. (Download on demand doesn’t exactly make the game multiplayer though.)

    Another interconnected approach is taken by Minions of Mirth, where you can play single player, but chat to other players (also playing single player) at the same time.

  51. No, more likely a masterpiece like Ultima VII will be an instanced adventure within something larger

    Hey! Don’t steal my ideas ;p

  52. Some comments on this that I made over at Quarter to Three:

    The masturbation comment was not mine!

    Also, I believe I said “twenty-odd” not “twenty-one,” but hey, I can’t control Gamespot’s writers. :)

    And yes, of course I was being intentionally provocative. It was a panel that was supposed to be provocative. :)

    Quote:
    “I think there’s little question that MMORPGs potentially reach far far more people.”

    Hyperbole. Is there evidence for this? I’m still of the opinion that WoW is reaching the same dang demographics that computer games now console games have always reached. Not more people (unless there are more of this type of people) – just the same people and their dads.

    Yeah, there’s actually a lot of demographic evidence. That said, I tend to agree that WoW mostly reaches the current gamer audience.

    However, WoW is also the MMO most like a regular single-player game. The demographics that have the potential to be reached by MMOs aren’t currently being serviced very well, although certain titles definitely point to how the market can expand.

    What IS definite is that the psychographic reached by the current mainstream game industry is frankly, a niche. Yes, I just called all of you (and me!) a niche. The stats on this are overwhelming and all over the place.

    Quote:
    And then I pull this one:

    “Single-player gaming is doomed, because already today, the large crowd playing Solitaire is doing it online, whilst chatting in a chat room, because they can…”

    How about this reason instead? The play on-line because it’s free. And they have the choice of games. And they don’t have to get up from their chair. I don’t think “they” do it because they *can* because “they” aren’t looking to play with others at all. It has nothing to do with single player or not or chat rooms.

    You have it backwards — it’s free because it’s online. It wouldn’t be possible for the wide array of games available today for free to be that way unless they were on the web. It’s far more convenient for those people to play the Solitaire that’s built into their Windows install. Instead, they sign up with Pogo.

    What is going to happen, and what I am specifically referencing, is that games of ALL sorts will be delivered via services. The services will have persistent identities. The services will have persistent high score tables. The services will maintain profiles for you. The services will publicly display those profiles. The services will matchmake you. The services will datamine your activity. The services will market to you based on your activity. The services will even likely look like games themselves, and might even BE games themselves. They will also be places of commerce. They will download everything to you; you will not buy at retail. And you will feel that all this is more convenient, that your achievements are cool to have, that your profile is who you are, that your high score is the one to beat. You’ll still dig single-player gaming, but you’ll be playing the game of the service even if you think you’ll be playing the single-player game.

    This is not exclusive to games. This is mostly how you will watch TV and movies, and how you will listen to music. If book publishers could find a way to better hop on the digital bangwagon, it’d be how you read books too.

    People who are upset about all this, or calling me stupid, or saying I am stretching the argument, aren’t looking at how they ALREADY do half of this now. Anyone who thinks that digital distribution, complete end-to-end identity management, sandbox environments with consistent ranking and embedded games covering a wide array of game styles, and lastly, yes, instant and easy matchmaking into multiplayer at the drop of a hat ISN’T the future–my God, what industry are you watching? Seriously.


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mark Asher
    Storytelling was a social experience until books were invented. I’m not sure that going from a social experience to a private experience is a step backwards. Something may be lost, but certainly in the case of books something is gained.

    As I pointed out on the blog comments, I’m a voracious reader, have done alot of writing myself, and personally, tend to lean towards the solitary experiences myself. I play MMOs as a solo player.

    Yes, there are things gained, and there are things lost.

    Quote:
    I’m not really sure why I want my single-player gaming experience Live-ified. Do I really want people to know that I didn’t finish all the campaigns in Age of Kings? Do I really want my scores published?

    I’m not sure you want it either… I’m not out there advocating it. I’m just observing and pointing out that it’s coming.

    The business pressures to live-ify everything, though, those are undeniable.

  53. All this work developing multitasking OSes, and you still expect that every game will have to re-invent ICQ?

    Of course I want to be connected with other like minded players to discuss my adventures in RPG #53. I do not see why RPG #53 should need to provide a chat channel to do that – why not use existing channels? Using the RPG #53 chat seems to be worse of both worlds – I won’t be able to talk to my friends unless I’m logged in. Or, they get to poll through the 6 different IM systems to see which one I’m currently active in.

    I’m reminded of the many attempts UO had at replacing ICQ with in game tools: ingame email, ingame IRC, ingame /friend lists. The question, from a software development point of view, is why was not ICQ just integrated?

    I definitely agree that single player games are connected games. I think, however, that they have always been connected games. Discussion of Nethack continues at rec.games.roguelike.nethack despite the lack of an in-game USENET browser. (Though, one should note that Nethack at least used real e-mail for in game mail…) And, I think, the future does not, and should not, require every game to reinvent ICQ/IRC/email. It suffices that the game plays nice with the OS and lets people use whatever solution hopefully predominates.

  54. [...] Last week the California based Churchill Club hosted an event where several major gaming developers and execs talked about online multiplayer gaming. One of those execs was Sony Online Entertainment chief creative officer Raph Koster who stated during the event: The entire video game industrys history thus far has been an aberration. It has been a mutant monster only made possible by unconnected computers. People always play games together. All of you learned to play games with each other. When you were kids, you played tag, tea parties, cops and robbers, what have you. The single-player game is a strange mutant monster which has only existed for 21 years and is about to go away because it is unnatural and abnormal. Naturally that quote has sparked a lot of debate and Koster decided to further clairify and expand his statements on his official web site. His response is quite extensive but here is a snip: Single-player gaming is doomed, because already today, the large crowd playing Solitaire is doing it online, whilst chatting in a chat room, because they can; because the RPG player is doing it whilst chatting with friends about the plot in a chat room, because they can; because fundamentally, the vast majority of humans want human contact even if only fleeting. We want to know where we stand compared to everyone else, whether what we like matches what the world likes, and whether or not others care that we are there. Thats the connected future. You need to get used to it, because its halfway here [...]

  55. Has no one thought to point to “alone together” over on Terra Nova?

    http://terranova.blogs.com/terra_nova/2006/02/alone_together_.html

    Sure, people have an innate desire to be alone, but they also have this strangely stronger desire to be around others of their kind.

  56. [...] http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/10/are-single-player-games-doomed/The entire video game industry’s history thus far has been an aberration. It has been a mutant monster only made possible by unconnected computers. People always play games together. All of you learned to play games with each other. When you were kids, you played tag, tea parties, cops and robbers, what have you. The single-player game is a strange mutant monster which has only existed for 21 years and is about to go away because it is unnatural and abnormal. [...]

  57. All this work developing multitasking OSes, and you still expect that every game will have to re-invent ICQ?

    Well, it’s complicated… for example, look at the astronomical growth of XFire. It, yes, reinvents ICQ, but does so in a cross-game way. It’s gotten huge already.

    Or look at the way that Asian games do it, where they literally replace your desktop with a game-specific desktop, within which are community tools…

    Or consider Live, where you have voice chat. Somebody reinventing the phone? Only sort of.

    Some of this will happen via integration, some via co-option, and some will reinvent.

  58. I would argue that there is yet another reason that multiplayer gaming has the potential to become dominant: It diminishes the degree to which piracy can hurt a publisher’s bottom line. Sure, eventually, players may develop their own reverse-engineered servers to connect to (as they have with many games in the past), but the vast majority of players, thus far, have favored the legitimate providers.

  59. I would argue that there is yet another reason that multiplayer gaming has the potential to become dominant: It diminishes the degree to which piracy can hurt a publisher’s bottom line.

    Interesting thought, Tess. And we’ve already seen what Valve/Steam/Nozzle/Hose has done in their effort to protect Half-Life: You HAVE to be ONLINE in order to play a SINGLE-PLAYER game!

  60. The argument, alas, is completely misplaced and horribly over-generalized. There has never been such a thing (in the electronic paradigm) as the “single-player game” by your definition, Raph. Even players of the earliest arcade games would discuss what they were doing in social environs away from (or during playing of) said arcade game. In the 1990s all those “introverts” you refer to communicated via FAQs, chat rooms, AOl, BBS’s, newsgroups, message boards, etc.

    So to everyone else, there’s a bit of a semantic game being played here with “single player” and “multiplayer” in the above argument. What’s been happening since, let’s just say the advent of digital gaming, is simply a logarithmic increase/upscaling in available social outlets or ways to interact both within or “meta-game.”

    Saying that single-player gaming is doomed the way Raph means it is a bit like saying snail mail is doomed. It doesn’t really say anything, unless you mistakenly take Raph literally, and assume that in fifty years the majority of games won’t have sophisticated lifelike AI, perhaps even capable of interacting with you socially in ways far more interesting than a lot of “dude, you suxorz!” which is pretty much the majority of what I run into playing DoA4 for hours on end.

  61. [...]  17:00  Raph’s Website » Are single-player games doomed?The entire video game industry’s history thus far has been an aberration. It has been a mutant monster only made possible by unconnected computers. People always play gam…by bcpbcp [games] [game] [video] [history] [2006] [blog post] [www.raphkoster.com] [raph koster] [single player] PC Logic Games: RoboCode. In this game, you have to program a robot in Java. You program how it moves and turns. You program how it hunts for opponent robots. You program how it turns its gun and …by bcpbcp [game] [java] [robocode] [2006] [blog post] [jogos legais] [logicgames.blogspot.com] [programming logic] Coca-Cola Chill 2005Gerador de músicas.by bcpbcp and 4 others [art] [game] [audio] [fun] [2005] [legal] [2006] [cocacola] [chill.coca-cola.com] réservation nom de domaine, redirection web gratuite, vente nom de doma…by jeromek [nom de domaine] [...]

  62. Yah I agree, By the definition given by Raph on single vs multiplayer then there was no Single player game to begin with. A game is taught by other people typically thus it becomes a multiplayer experience. If I taught my niece how to play Solitaire then she might come back to me later asking how to improve her game.

    The only real arguement I could see is mainly just the definition of single player vs multi player. In my opinion the single player experience is a game where other players do not impact the game you are currently playing. Multiplayer would be a game where other players directly impact how the game is played.

    I do not think building a community around a game makes it multiplayer. Otherwise the only games that were truly single player were designed and played only by one person without ever telling anyone else.

  63. I think the traditional story based single player game will still exist many many years from now. I believe in online distribution so playing it through a service like live or steam makes sense to me. Having ways to show off what you have done to friends and talk while you play it and so on makes sense as well. However, that is a experience that I think people really like, playing a game that has mood and theme without someone shouting dude, or fag.

  64. [...] Are single-player games doomed? raphkoster.com Found 6 hours ago The entire video game industry’s history thus far has been an aberration. The single-player game is a strange mutant monster which has only existed for 21 years and is about to go away because it is unnatural and abnormal. Historically speaking, single-player games are indeed an aberration. More on this thread: [...]

  65. [...] Single-player gaming is doomed, because already today, the large crowd playing Solitaire is doing it online, whilst chatting in a chat room, because they can; because the RPG player is doing it whilst chatting with friends about the plot in a chat room, because they can; because fundamentally, the vast majority of humans want human contact even if only fleeting. We want to know where we stand compared to everyone else, whether what we like matches what the world likes, and whether or not others care that we are there. Thats the connected future. You need to get used to it, because it& halfway here http://www.gamecloud.com/article.php?article_id=3456. That is the short article about what th eguy from sony online said. For the long version look here. http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/10/are-single-player-games-doomed [...]

  66. [...] Michael (raccaldin36) wrote,@ 2006-02-11 23:30:00      Solitary vs. Social This was originally going to be a reply in Raph Koster’s post on how single-player games are doomed, but I felt it became inappropriate for that setting and moved it here with a linkback.Considering Ultima Online was in the past, too, I’d say it will be superceded, too.I generally choose and read books entirely on my own. I’ve never done a book group, and since I’m such a solitary personality, probably never will.Of course, nearly every author I’ve read was first recommended to me, or was shown to me. I make it a point to type up excerpts of particular concepts encapsulated in a section of the text into my blog. I get all sorts of junk (read: kewl l00t) by looking at “Other customers who bought this book also bought…”.The actual activity of reading is largely solitary, naturally. This is almost always true. Human beings require alone time just as much as they pine for socialization, on average; I suspect the reason is similar to why we need sleep, but since we don’t know why we need sleep… ^_^What other analogies have been made… ah, movies. How many people go to the movies alone? Besides me? Okay, how many people rent movies and watch them alone? Alright. (Not rhetorical questions, here.) How many people download a movie and watch it by their lonesome?Fine. For me, movie-watching is as solitary as reading; it annoys me when people in the back decide to break my immersion and analysis by socializing audibly (something I’m also prone to doing, when I feel that a point made was one that needed to be seen). Sometimes I’ll see movies because my friends think it’s a good idea and I feel like tagging along. The chatter afterwards, especially when they talk about the movie itself, can be good. In a way, I’d actually prefer to see them alone; it’s less complicated to plan logistics.When I play an RTS, I generally prefer to play them alone. But that’s just because of the visceral fiero that I can achieve because the computer’s rarely as good and one of my friends isn’t losing to me (or I to him). I’m not particularly delighted when I trounce a friend.This post was going to go further, but I stopped working on it like… six or eight or ten hours ago…, and I’m just way too tired now to try to make the point I originally was making. But there’s a bunch of stuff here anyways, so I’m just going to drop it into my journal.(Post a new comment) solarianknight 2006-02-13 03:21 am UTC (link) Single player games are by no means doomed in any sense. Game developers will continue to make single player games because of the stories that may be told therein which are simply not possible when instead of having a single player as an audience, you have 5,000. What we’ll see more and more of are hybrid games (already happening today) where the single player mode is the story and the game and the multiplayer mode is just the game.(Reply to this) Log in now.(Create account, or use OpenID) [...]

  67. Sounds like “games versus ‘places’”. A few terms have been redefined just to make the headline a bit more provocative and really less is being said than the reader thinks once they decode the shifts in syntax and semantics. By your definition I’m not sure I’ve ever played much if any single-player game. Even back on my Atari 2600 we passed the controller around and played “alone together”, competing for high scores, etc. In grade school I was playing with a phone at my ear, discussing my tactics and what was going on with friends all the while.

    You can redefine certain words and say MMORPG’s aren’t games they are places. Or you can just say that “place” is an important consideration for MMORPG’s. Same with “singleplayer games are doomed” where “singleplayer” has been redefined to be different than what we actually mean when we say it. You could also just say that games have increasing social contexts thrown around them. That would be more clear but less provocative. Personally I think that clarity is more important. If the point is worth making it can be made without redefining language just to make your statement more sensational.

  68. I think the problem here is even you don’t know what you’re talking about, hence the backpedaling. If you mean single player experiences are going to die, which is what you originally said, you’re wrong. If you mean single player experience is a misnomer because experiences are shared, you’re not presenting a new idea. But that’s not quite what you said, otherwise you wouldn’t have been poking fun at introverted “geeks” like me.

    But now we’re faced with what you’re actually talking about.

    “Multiplayer” isn’t even the best word for what you mean. “Player” suggests everyone having the same level of interaction. You’re talking about social interaction, social interaction that does not necessarily involve simultaneous playing. The uproar over your comments has come about because some actually thought you were stating something other than the obvious. In the future, try to be clearer and less inflammatory. Of course, if all you wanted was to stir the pot, go on making sensational claims.

    And you’re still not being clear when you say

    Very soon, all single-player gaming will happen within a multiplayer context of connectivity, persistent and publicly visible profiles, and awareness of other users.

    because that’s not multiplayer at all. There are “multiple players” but they’re not playing simultaneously, which is what multiplayer means. Even taking turns is simultaneous in that the experience is shared. Relating scores is not simultaneous as it lacks context.

  69. The other thing that bugs me about Raph’s piece…it smacks ever so slightly of pretention. “The cat among the pigeons” ? Please. More like the “pigeon little” among the pigeons.

    Does it strike anyone as ironic that the chief creative officer for Sony Online Entertainment, a major online-evangelical division of one of the largest corporations in the world, is attempting to formulate an argument that justifies radical growth of financially lucrative entertainment models–most lucrative of course for companies just like…well, you do the math.

    *Of course* ongoing pay-to-play systems yield better financial returns for corporations, but it most certainly does not follow that keeping these corporations happy translates to better entertainment or experiences for us as consumers, introverts, extroverts, and all the various scientific shades of either between. We’re supposed to be voting with our pocket books, right? Except it’s become the sort of voting we do in political elections: choosing between the lesser of multiple evils (or in the case of MMOs, the least mediocre). What Raph doesn’t talk about–and it’s hugely important–is that, like any commercial product, the less you can tailor your product to meet the desires of niche audiences, the more blandized and denominator-centric it tends to become. While (following present consumer logic) I probably really am in a minority here, and having nothing to do with introvert/extrovert issue, I’m not so sure my idea of positive game-theory evolution includes moving in the entertainment equivalent direction of Dr. Phil and Danielle Steele. Bread and circuses may be great from a grab-all-carpe-diem corporate perspective, but it’s not the sort of direction that cures cancer or builds rocket ships that get us to Mars.

    Again, the most important lesson to learn here is to be wary of predictions wrapped in radical-sounding rhetoric that say the equivalent of “by such-and-such date all computer will be biometric.” Like we didn’t see that coming twenty years ago. Single-player games were never doomed, because they never existed in the theory-rhetoric of Raph’s contextual scope.

    And frankly, I don’t know a single so-called “introvert” that doesn’t spend an enormous amount of time “socializing” in online contexts, messages boards, forums, chat rooms, blogs, etc. It’s not the old hat notion that all forms of electronic interaction are becoming simultaneously interconnected that’s going to cause heartburn, by the way…it’s the centralized, concentrated removal of individual controls and checks and balances that starts looking dicey. If I want to play Half Life 2, I ought to be able to go online, pay for it, download it, and disconnect, period. I shouldn’t have to filter with Zonealarm to prevent connecting to Steam (Where’s my option not connect, eh? Don’t give me some nonsense about it being “for my own good”–what’s that all about, prelude to another Phil Dick short?) If consumers continue allowing companies to narrowly define and dictate what we can or can’t do in terms of “plugging in” to their veritable data mining operations and subscription-money-drip models–using their checks and balances–how far are we, really, from eventually climbing into the bio-sack battery units?

  70. Well what do you think would become of games like Final Fantasy or other single player RPGs, which tell the story of a specific character (or group of characters)? Would games with that type of story cease to exist? Or do you propose that these games would be linked online with some sort of scoreboard, posting who got the main character to level 99 first, how quickly people have defeated the boss, etc.?

    Mmorpgs are all about the power progression, developing, leveling up and equipping a character. They’re not about story, and that’s fine. I know that when my group in WoW goes and kills Van Cleef in Deadmines, he’ll be back for me to kill again tomorrow if I’m so inclined. And he’ll always be there, for anyone to kill. But that’s OK, because its what we expect from the genre.

    Honestly, I love MMORPGs, but I love single player games too. I don’t want a scoreboard in Final Fantasy 7 telling me that someone else killed Sephiroth in 3 hours less than it took me to, because that, for me, ruins the immersion. Just like I don’t like when people talk in the theater at the movies, or when someone ruins the ending of a book. I like to experience these things MYSELF. Does that mean I never talk about these things with friends? Of course not.

    But, I think people value that type of solitary experience, one that allows the use of imagination, one that immerses you without some “1337 d00d” bragging about how he has a bigger epeen.

  71. Tangential:

    Where’s my option not connect, eh? Don’t give me some nonsense about it being “for my own good”–what’s that all about, prelude to another Phil Dick short?

    http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20060210-6153.html

    It helps you stay honest, honest!

    More on topic:

    Raph never says that single-player games are going away because they suck and multiplayer is better. He says they’re going away because it’s less profitable, because they’re highly niche.

    Now, I’d reply that They won’t go away, they’d merely fade in comparison (well, they kinda already have), but Raph says that in his follow-up, so I’ve got nothing to say.

  72. By your definition I’m not sure I’ve ever played much if any single-player game. Even back on my Atari 2600 we passed the controller around and played “alone together”, competing for high scores, etc. In grade school I was playing with a phone at my ear, discussing my tactics and what was going on with friends all the while.

    Right… same here.

    You accuse me of redefining language, and it’s a comment you’ve made before. I’m not trying to redefine language, I am trying to use it more precisely, and our disagreements often seem to arise when my attempts to do so are seen as redefinition to something different as opposed to more sharply limited, usually because I haven’t been clear in providing definitions.

    In this case, I tried to make clear what I feel a single-player game IS in the first few paragraphs about symmetric and asymmetric games. In general, when you’re playing with friends on a couch, you’re the one engaging in redefinition: you’re redefining the rules of the game to include things like the rules on when people have to pass the controller (“one level” or “one life” or “one game” or whatever house rule you used). It’s to my mind exactly the same structure as when people participate in the game of pole vaulting, say, where people play the same single-player game sequentially, in competition with each other; or perhaps games where players play a single-player game sequentially in co-operation with each other (relay races, for example, in those cases where not all the teams racing are present on the track at the same time).

    The Olympics are going on — tonight I watched snowboarding. To me, it’s undeniably a multiplayer game that is going on, even though each player faces the half-pipe solo and is scored on their own merits.

    Once we have shared profiles, chatting, connectivity, instant “hop-in” ability into friends games, and most critically, the digital equivalent of that living room and that couch, we’re playing a multiplayer game as far as I am concerned, though I can see that this position is probably too abstractly theoretical for most people’s taste.

    Once we take that digital equivalent of the living room and expand it to be a gamespace of its own, there’s zero doubt in my mind, though.

    otherwise you wouldn’t have been poking fun at introverted “geeks” like me.

    I’m not poking fun at introverted geeks — I AM one. There’s no malice meant in quoting the guy who prefers single-player games to people. It’s an observation of a characteristic behavior, not a slam.

    “Multiplayer” isn’t even the best word for what you mean. “Player” suggests everyone having the same level of interaction.

    Once we’re in a gamespace with embedded games, I think everyone DOES have the same level of interaction, and that’s where I am asserting we are headed.

    You’re talking about social interaction, social interaction that does not necessarily involve simultaneous playing. The uproar over your comments has come about because some actually thought you were stating something other than the obvious. In the future, try to be clearer and less inflammatory. Of course, if all you wanted was to stir the pot, go on making sensational claims.

    As I have already pointed out, the controversy started from hearing five sentences worth out of what was over an hour of discussion, in the context of connected play. That would be why I wrote the whole follow-up post.

    And you’re still not being clear when you say

    Very soon, all single-player gaming will happen within a multiplayer context of connectivity, persistent and publicly visible profiles, and awareness of other users.

    because that’s not multiplayer at all. There are “multiple players” but they’re not playing simultaneously, which is what multiplayer means. Even taking turns is simultaneous in that the experience is shared. Relating scores is not simultaneous as it lacks context.

    When you take turns playing completely separate save games on the couch, competing with each other for how long you live or how far you get, that’s still multiplayer in my book. And I’m not just “redefining” here — you’re measuring yourselves against the same metrics, at the same time, in the same place, even though you’re taking turns.

    And what I am saying is coming (actually, already mostly here with Live) is really a step beyond that. You’ll have a persistent identity which flags your achievements to everyone, and they will likely be achievements that are global to the service, not just to one game.

    Does it strike anyone as ironic that the chief creative officer for Sony Online Entertainment, a major online-evangelical division of one of the largest corporations in the world, is attempting to formulate an argument that justifies radical growth of financially lucrative entertainment models–most lucrative of course for companies just like…well, you do the math.

    Anyone who’s known me online for any length of time knows how absurd a statement this is. :)

    *Of course* ongoing pay-to-play systems yield better financial returns for corporations, but it most certainly does not follow that keeping these corporations happy translates to better entertainment or experiences for us as consumers, introverts, extroverts, and all the various scientific shades of either between.

    Again, I didn’t say I was advocating this. I said it was coming. Not the same thing.

    What Raph doesn’t talk about–and it’s hugely important–is that, like any commercial product, the less you can tailor your product to meet the desires of niche audiences, the more blandized and denominator-centric it tends to become.

    Actually, I have talked about that very thing on this very blog, several times. I believe the “future of content” post talks about it, for example.

    Well what do you think would become of games like Final Fantasy or other single player RPGs, which tell the story of a specific character (or group of characters)? Would games with that type of story cease to exist? Or do you propose that these games would be linked online with some sort of scoreboard, posting who got the main character to level 99 first, how quickly people have defeated the boss, etc.?

    I think there’s two things to talk about there.

    One is that it’s getting harder and harder to make the game you are describing. That particular dilemma, which I discussed at length in “Moore’s Wall,” I don’t have a good answer for in this case. I don’t know what that will mean for the future of that sort of game.

    The other is what that game might look like embedded into a larger-scale experience. I don’t know that it has to look any different. But when you emerge form the instance, everyone in the space that contains that game will know where you are in it, unless you choose not to display it publicly, I think.

    I think people value that type of solitary experience, one that allows the use of imagination, one that immerses you without some “1337 d00d” bragging about how he has a bigger epeen.

    Me too. I tend to play MMOs solo, myself. And you may have noticed that the games I called out as best of the year were mostly single-player.

  73. [...] Are single player games doomed? [...]

  74. [...]   , - “” . , . , , - . (, , ) , . , –   . ,  ! ( , ) . [...]

  75. A discussion on this topic seems biased, if only because it takes place online. Those large chunks of Americans who lack online access, let alone onling gaming access don’t really have a chance to to comment. So let me act as their voice.

    Videogames are a form of entertainment and expression not very different from books, music and movies. Making a statement that all music is a shared experience and only loners and certain personality types listen by themselves and disconnected is rather silly. All kinds of factors are taken into play. Sometimes enjoying an activity with others enhances that act, other times, you just want your own private, uninterrupted world. It’s less a particular personality type and more human nature, most people want to be able to close the door to their bedroom and just have some time to themselves. And it’s true with games as well. It can be an absolute blast getting a group of friends together to play halo or mario kart or whatever, or gaming online with buddies/strangers. But it is also still a joy to play a single player game like Metroid Prime, Mario 64, Zelda or any other highly personaled worlds where you are the hero, everything revolves around your experience and bringing others into that world breaks the fantasy. These games can be forced into a multiplayer box, but why? Some people do complain when a game lacks multiplayer options, but it seems rather odd to suggest that all games, always, must, and soon will solely be multiplayer experiences. The internet has certainly enabled an explosion of discourse around games, but even as social creatures, we can still enjoy solitary pursuits. For the record, I don’t want a future where every developer is focused on the multiplayer experience, keep making some kickass single player games.

  76. thispaceforsale,

    I am not advocating getting rid of single-player games, nor am I saying that the experience they provide is inferior.

  77. You accuse me of redefining language, and it’s a comment you’ve made before. I’m not trying to redefine language, I am trying to use it more precisely, and our disagreements often seem to arise when my attempts to do so are seen as redefinition to something different as opposed to more sharply limited, usually because I haven’t been clear in providing definitions.

    I do think what you are saying is clear. It’s just clearly not what the headline entails to everyone who plays games. If you wanted to say that games are going to be increasingly symmetric in some fashion or another, well you should have just said that.

    As a former track athlete, the asymmetric nature of track was part of its appeal and was important. Doing track was a very different experience than playing backetball, soccer or tennis. Just as important as beating the other people, often more, was the goal of beating a “PR”, a personal record. Looking back I remember records I set more than I remember people I beat. Yes, you can lecture about symmetric qualities there, but really it still is an asymmetric sport.

    Similarly, the asymmetric qualities of games like Indigo Prophecy are a very important distinction. The authorial nature of such experiences, the fact that they have a beginning and an end — these matter quite a bit. And continue to matter if these games are embedded in other services. And this aspect is the most important aspect of “single-player” in the minds of those who don’t speak Raphspeak.

    Sure, you are interested in other stuff. We get that. But you don’t need to co-opt language to get there. If you want to talk about asymmetric games versus symmetric games and the hazy ground between these — then talk about that! You don’t have to pretend that this is what everyone else means when they talk about multiplayer versus single-player however. To do so is, in my opinion, just to invite a lot of bickering about language instead of the stuff that matters.

  78. Raph is a smart guy, but he has that sort of brutal intelligence that tends to leave unlike minds in the dust. I’m not really in disagreement with what he says, only his way of tossing around ambiguous language without regard to whom it might offend or confuse. I respect his enthusiasm about the future of connected gaming, but if his colorful hyperbole is going to result in the need for endless clarification one wonders why he wouldn’t simply try to be clearer in the first place.

  79. By the definitions Raph has provided, I don’t think ‘single player games’ really exist. The earliest cabinet machines introduced a primitive multiplayer through the high-score table, and simply by being positioned in a public place encouraged a kind of multiplayer atmosphere.

    A ‘single player game’ sounds more like a puzzle – a jigsaw puzzle, or an adventure game. The player attempts to solve the puzzle and – once solved – it is known and no longer presents a challenge. But even these can be social experiences, as I’m sure all of us know.

    So given this, single player games by the definition as something experienced only by one person and without any external input aren’t doomed – they never were.

  80. So is the Pac-Man machine in a pizza place from the 80s a multiplayer experience because it has a high score table? Because there are communal experiences? Because there are other people nearby? Or just the fact that I cannot escape other people unless I became a hermit, so even if I snuck into this pizza place after it closed, played pac-man, did not get a high score and told no one of this event having taken place, only then would it be a single player experience? Or because of the potential that someone else, someday might be aware of my solitary activity, my single player gaming is still bound to a world of connectivity, perhaps because my very actions were infuenced by my flight?

  81. [...]   , - “” . , . , , - . (, , ) , . , –   . ,  ! ( , ) . [...]

  82. [...] Last Friday Raph Koster posted another provocative post to his site, asking whether Single Player games are Doomed? He argues that because of the continuing adoption of online components in solitary games, there really will be a time when a truly single player game is a thing of the past. [...]

  83. [...] Anonymous: Single Player Games Doomed? at MMOG Nation [...]

  84. In rebutal to your argument, I would like to firstly note your own citation that the opponent in many games is often a synthetic form, such as artificial intelligence or a complex set of physics, this presents a player with an entity he would perhaps never encounter in the physical world.

    Perhaps as computing power increases, the exotic parts of this medium will grow accordingly, offering competition with something besides a person, rather an indirect creation of an artist or visionary.

    Nonetheless we are social creatures who seek interaction and approval with others of our kind, thusly it stands to logic that this aspect will permeate different games in many forms, however this will not denote the ressence of (the term you so sensationalisticaly coined) assymetric games, as they allow interaction with something completely alien and new to the player, an appeal that i believe is widely held.

    I will take this time to note that I am not an “introvert” and find offense at being associated with it because I enjoy single player games, I interact with others on a daily basis and forge strong bonds with them, as anyone else would, I enjoy many MMO games because they have a simmilar ffect to the aforementined affect of single player games, allowing communities to form in an otherwise unplausable environment, and allowing those communities to interact on completely new levels. Nonetheless I believe your logic does not stand

  85. One of the first comments made was:

    A quick comment limited to “single-player” games:

    If you argue that talking to a friend or reading books (or accessing BBS back in early 90s) about any game makes it social activity – which I tend to agree – then “single-player” game never really existed. And it will never go away since it never really came.

    The only change from the past to future that we can argue is that we have brought these “meta-game-sharing” (social activity about a game outside of the game per se) from old medium (mags, bbs, etc) to the new medium (internet, chat-rooms, Xbox live arcade).

    That’s it in a nutshell – nothing more nothing less.

    This made me wonder, Raph, how you define a single player game? If I’m understanding your statements correctly (which I admit I might not be) then as J said, single player games have never really existed.

  86. [...] “Singleplayer-games zijn abnormaal” Singleplayer-games hebben hun beste tijd gehad. Dat beweren althans twee hooggeplaatste heren uit de gamesindustrie, Raph Koster en Lars Butler. De eerste is creatief directeur bij Sony Online Entertainment, de tweede voormalig directeur bij Electronic Arts.Onnatuurlijk en abnormaalKoster noemde deze vorm van gamen ‘onnatuurlijk en abnormaal’ tijdens een paneldiscussie in de Churchill Club in het Amerikaanse Californi. Butler was het hier mee eens: “Lineaire entertainment in singleplayer is tot media wat masturbatie is tot seks. Het zal altijd wel blijven bestaan, maar het is niet een echte sensatie.”Gemuteerd monsterBeiden claimden meer vertrouwen te hebben in de volgende golf van multiplayer games. “Mensen spelen altijd spelletjes samen. Iedereen leerde spelletjes met elkaar te spelen. De singleplayer-game is een raar, gemuteerd monster dat nog maar 21 jaar bestaat en gauw weg zal gaan,” aldus Koster, die er in zijn blog nog dieper op ingaat. Mail een vriend    Printversie 15/02/06 22u18 [...]

  87. This made me wonder, Raph, how you define a single player game? If I’m understanding your statements correctly (which I admit I might not be) then as J said, single player games have never really existed.

    See the new post. :)

  88. [...] Re: Time for a short breath… Yep Raph Koster was featured on GU Comics today because of that comment. http://gucomics.com/archives/view.php?cdate=20060215 Of course he explains it on his website and apparantly he has a very different defination of what a single player game actually is. By his definition single player games are indeed doomed if they even existed in the first place. http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/10…-games-doomed/ I can’t say I exactly aggre with him but he does make many good points in his essay and in his replies to the comments that followed. __________________ People are products of their own ingenuity; they are who they choose to be. [...]

  89. [...] …Though I do know someone who can get through huge fleets of enemy soldiers in that game without taking a hit BECAUSE of CQC, so mileage obviously varies.Tomm – 18 02 06 | 00:11The MGS gameplay isn’t exactly throwaway. Each MGS game is great fun the first time through as a total experience, but after that, I start focusing in on my favorite cutscenes or favorite gameplay parts, don’t really think about the whole anymore, and wish the game would let me go straight to specific places rather than force me to play through linearly every time. I’m thinking back to Perfect Dark, where, after the first play through, each mission can be picked individually, the cutscenes can be watched without gameplay, and the battle mode has endless options. I think it was the battle mode that gave PD its longevity: It was designed for multiplayer, but the availability of bots meant you could still build yourself a wide variety of single player experiences.Dean Siren ( ) – 18 02 06 | 15:07If you haven’t seen it, check out Koster’s full explanation of his argument: http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/10/are.. [...]

  90. [...] Well, apparently his comments were merely taken out of context. This is from IGN Insider’s discussion of the subject… Because before I even knew there was controversy a-brewin’, Koster had written a lengthy blog post that clarified his position. And as it turns out, despite all of the chatter that his original comments had stirred, he wasn’t talking at all about games becoming the exclusive domain of massively multiplayer worlds. In fact, according to his very own executive summary of the blog post, his point was this: "Very soon, all single-player gaming will happen within a multiplayer context of connectivity, persistent and publicly visible profiles, and awareness of other users." So, basically he just wants games to have online funcionality in the background, as in, you can upload your high scores, and check if your buddies are online while playing a game. Not that everything should be an MMO. Blog post here. __________________ Life is love or the lack thereof. [deviantART Gallery] [...]

  91. [...] You might want to read an article called “Are Single Player Games Doomed?” click here Wolfie – it’s an interesting read.Whilst I can see the potential for online games and the like, I still think that there are some gamers who enjoy solitary play (me, for one).As a side note, I agree about BiA – I loved the demo, but the games itself has been an incredibly hard game to get through – not because of the difficulty levels, but because it’s so boring after the first five minutes. [...]

  92. [...] Are single-player games doomed? (2971) [...]

  93. [...] The entire video game industry’s history thus far has been an aberration. It has been a mutant monster only made possible by unconnected computers. People always play games together. All of you learned to play games with each other. When you were kids, you played tag, tea parties, cops and robbers, what have you. The single-player game is a strange mutant monster which has only existed for 21 years and is about to go away because it is unnatural and abnormal. . :))) | [...]

  94. [...] (For those late to the party, you need to read “Are single-player games doomed?” and :Is the shift to online a fad?” to get the context). [...]

  95. [...] on, and on. Sony has a bad tendency to say one thing then do another.I’ll be back later with more.(Post a new comment) Log in now.(Create account, or useOpenID) [...]

  96. [...] At the Churchill Club in California yesterday, Peter Moore wasn’t the only one gazing into his crystal ball. Raph Koster of Sony Online Entertainment and Lars Butler, formerly of EA, were cheerfully predicting the downfall of single-player gaming, with Koster going so far as to say that the last 21 years of gaming history are an aberration. Drawing from the fundamental principle that "people play games together", Koster and Butler predict a huge shift in the games industry as the impact of online gaming starts to really hit home. Butler’s claim that "linear entertainment in single-player is to media what masturbation is to sex" is eerily similar to David Jaffe’s comparison between games and porn. Experiences are enriched by the presence of other people, and perhaps the depth of multiplayer gaming and the online social interaction embodied in these games can provide the emotional content that Jaffe finds so lacking. The Ralph Koster’s "Update" on his "Are Single Player Games Doomed?"statement" His contention is Single Player Games are an abberation because the vast majority of traditional gameplay (sports, board, et.c) are symmetric requiring another to interact with. To be opposite of as in "Chess" or "Tennis". Or in Sports, multiplayer. Single player games are not really "games" in this sense of the word. Computer gaming has changed this where the computer’s AI has become the "opponant" and "the very nature of computers meant that the opponent would likely have to have different choices than the player did". So, Computer gaming became "asymmetric" very early largely because of these reasons: 1, Only so many can huddle around a monitor 2 Invention of co op play so traditional style "symmetric gameplay is mimiced 3 Easier use of Computers to deliver stories as they become more sophisticated. However, since all computers were envisioned to be "networked", multiplay has always been there too. Even the early "asymmetric" games like Pong, Space Invaders were played in this fashsion. Both "Joystiq" and "Ralph’s Website: Update" has brought alot of insightful responses from gamers on all sides of the issue. Worth reading through and perhaps post your own. What do you think? There are those, here, that want to keep RUNE’s "Single Player" game in RUNE 2 whenever it gets started. Others play the Multiplayer Aspect only and eskew the SP. But these essays deal the Computer games as a whole on this issue. So what are your thoughts? __________________ Laurie "The Deep Minded" Saver of Kazi’s Sanity Keeper of Kirby’s Viking Weaponry runegamegoddess@yahoo.com Runegamegoddess Home&Rune info page http://pages.zoom.co.uk/dbm/finalviking.GIF Last edited by Laurie : 02-12-2006 at 11:22 AM. [...]

  97. [...]   toggle Are single-player games doomed? (Answer in article.) I still have not found any other 4 or 5 multiple joystick/jopypad games to [...]

  98. [...] pretty much like “single-player gaming is doomed” huh? Interesting to contrast this with the negative reaction that Hellgate:London is getting [...]

  99. [...] doing so means actively denying this other class of experience. Raph Koster seems more and more like a prophet. We should probably get him out of those [...]

  100. [...] doing so means actively denying this other class of experience. Raph Koster seems more and more like a prophet. We should probably get him out of those stocks. Heh. Nice to see him and I agreeing every [...]

  101. [...] An interesting essay–http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/10/are-single-player-games-doomed/ [...]

  102. [...] Your page is on StumbleUpon [...]

  103. [...] Are Single-Player Games Doomed? It’s an article that Penny Arcade had linked in their July 16 newspost. The guy makes a pretty compelling argument. I say this as a devout single-player gamer, mind you. The first comment about the blind and TTS speaks volumes to me, though._________________Jeremiah Henson [...]

  104. [...] player games: Doomed or Not? Well, this guy got his headlines with a strongly worded prophecy of the doom of single player games. Apparently, [...]

  105. [...] In his usual inimitable style, Tycho commented that perhaps I wasn’t crazy when I said that single-playing gaming was doomed. When I sit down to each night’s electronic feast, the choice to play with people or without [...]

  106. [...] So this is an interesting article about the death of single player gaming[...]

  107. [...] Current mood: creative Single-player games are doomed!!! Read this article Are single-player games doomed?.I don’t have time to write my own thoughts about this yet, but I’ll add them in later.If you feel [...]

  108. [...] So what do you think?I can think back to when I was playing the Dragonlance games on a 386 PC. (With Super VGA colour!) [...]

  109. [...] this engine is. With the engine a la mode to Microsofts online infrastructure, we are seeing Raph Kosters, Penny-Arcade comments under the microscope. But you already knew that. Multiplayer support has been a de facto industry [...]

  110. [...] interesting book for anyone who likes to dive into a bit of psycho analysis behind game design. My only point is, 2k could be the first to really dive into this, and really be unique in that [...]

  111. [...] I’m bringing this one up after reading this article Its an interesting article, as it probes the reasons we play games in the first place, the sort [...]

  112. [...] Single-player gaming? [...]

  113. [...] an interesting article which I could not disagree more with. Raph makes the wrong argument here in that he compares a [...]

  114. [...] Most, if not all, my sweet gaming memories come from single-player experience [...]

  115. Raph Koster: Single Player games are doomed…

    Raph Koster explains why he thinks the future will belong to multiplayer games (only)….

  116. [...] Single Play PC Games R DOOMED!! He makes some good points about social interaction and how more games support multi-gaming, provide forums, etc. I also agree that WoW could be viewed as a solo MMO up to a point, because you aren’t going to be pug’ing it in the end game instances too often. But at the same time many MMORPG’s still don’t support the casual gamer very well because the end game content requires organized groups, 3-5 hours per sitting to make decent progress, and many MMORPG’s don’t allow you to progress in the end game (raid content) at a decent rate without a stable guild or other type group. I wrote an article over at Guild Cafe On CORPG’s, and I think that CORPG’s are a good bridge type of game that could become quite popular over time. They offer a lot of the same things as MMORPG’s, but without the massive time commitment and the normal barriers to casual and competitive play. NcSoft appears to be ready to launch more titles using a CORPG type model, so its a new but growing genre. Btw for those who like PVP and advancement via PVP, Fury is a very good game._________________Guildmaster, LotD [...]

  117. [...] Ralph Koster states with matter-of-fact arrogance that single-player games are dead. By his definition of multi-player it certainly seems to be true. How does one define a multi-player experience anyway? Is it solely limited to content in the game? I admit, my enjoyment of Oblivion was amplified when I shared my experiences and amusing anecdotes with the gaming community at SA. [...]

  118. [...] Are single player games doomed? I found this interesting article from an old Penny Arcade news post and it was really fascinating. Perhaps some of you guys have already read it. It makes some great points imo. http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/10…-games-doomed/ [...]

  119. [...] largest target audience for computer games. Please read the prophet of gaming… Raph Koster [...]

  120. [...] largest target audience for computer games. Please read the prophet of gaming… Raph Koster at http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/10/are-single-player-games-doomed/_________________Your review of this post andor signature constitutes a legally binding agreement [...]

  121. [...] Raph posted on his site an obvious provocation about single player games but I sort of anticipated that theme already a few days before. And not [...]

  122. [...] sent me a link to Raph Koster’s Are single-player games doomed? “just to rile me up” and it did just that. Although his original post is from a year [...]

  123. [...] sent me a link to Raph Koster’s Are single-player games doomed? “just to rile me up” and it did just that. Although his original post is from a year [...]

  124. [...] was the physical light game of choice amongst teen agers in the late 90′s. There’s a great article here about how electronic games that survive are social games. The kids right down my block (in a [...]

  125. [...] ex-Sony Chief Creative Officer Raph Koster asked the question “are single-player games doomed?” on his blog, later rephrasing his answer to suggest (somewhat obviously, I thought) that single-player gaming [...]

  126. [...] > OGIpedia > Osservatorio > Homo Videoludicus Fat Andrew 13 Feb 2006, 23:51 Qui trovate il post sul suo blog (ho preso la palla al balzo dall'editoriale che Tgmonline gli ha dedicato [...]

  127. [...] Compare Prices and Save. Sponsored by: http://www.become.com [Found on Ads by Yahoo!] 8. Raph’s Website » Are single-player games doomed? All of you learned to play games with each other. When you were kids, you played tag, tea [...]

  128. [...] than it was 5 years ago, and I believe, as Raph Koster does, that single player games are doomed:http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/10/are-single-player-games-doomed/Although I would add that I think casual-style single player games will remain relevant (games such [...]

  129. [...] February 2006, game designer Raph Koster posted an essay on his blog about the demise of single-player gaming. He said, in part, that “The single-player game is a [...]

  130. [...] find candid traveler photos of the hotel I just booked and discover new blogs about topics I enjoy (Are single-player games doomed?) And that is cool, even to [...]

  131. [...] was het hier mee eens: “Lineaire entertainment in singleplayer is tot… Source: Raph’s Website » Are single-player games doomed? [...]

  132. [...] Koster called single-player games an abberation, one that came about because it was easy to create single-player games, but hard to create [...]

  133. [...] former coworker Raph Koster posited during a panel discussion that single-player video games are a “mutant monster.” I wasn’t sure this was true, so I asked him to clarify. With his permission, the following is an [...]

  134. [...] (I wonder if there really are single-player games anymore — not the first to wonder this obviously). [...]

  135. [...] they chat a little bit about whether, as Raph Koster is quoted, “the singleplayer game is an aberration.” Pardo calls out Super Mario Galaxy’s co-star mode as an example of a terrific [...]

  136. [...] they chat a little bit about whether, as Raph Koster is quoted, “the singleplayer game is an aberration.” Pardo calls out Super Mario Galaxy’s co-star mode as an example of a terrific [...]

  137. [...] they chat a little bit about whether, as Raph Koster is quoted, “the singleplayer game is an aberration.” Pardo calls out Super Mario Galaxy’s co-star mode as an example of a terrific [...]

  138. [...] they chat a little bit about whether, as Raph Koster is quoted, “the singleplayer game is an aberration.” Pardo calls out Super Mario Galaxy’s co-star mode as an example of a terrific [...]

  139. [...] Games are interactive media. Not all interactive media are games, but all games are interactive media. And games are in majority multiplayer. [...]

  140. [...] that spices up most major game releases: the multiplayer. Anyhow, through most of human history, gaming has always been primarily multiplayer, from buzkashi to [...]

  141. [...] At the recent GDC, Jason Rohrer opens fire on single player games, and their lack of challenge, art, and infinite replayability. It’s a subject that’e been around for a long time, most notably covered by Raph Koster three years ago when he called single player games an aberration. [...]

  142. [...] robots are cool, yada yada yada.  But, to paraphrase Raph Koster, what if multiplayer games are the future?  Where be some of that computer arti-fish-ial intelligence in [...]

  143. [...] games, you have to look at the overall context too. As I have been saying for quite some time, all games are becoming connected experiences. And it turns out that social networks are becoming the glue. They are sweeping away all the [...]

  144. Expekt…

    Hello there! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from an established blog. Is it very difficult to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about creating my own but I’m not sure…

  145. […] erosion of the pure single-player experience, as I stated would happen ages […]

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