Ok, to save the economical firestorm comments and hate comments based at people who don’t play multiplayer saying “well then just don’t play the multiplayer!” I’m going to say right off the bat this is just an idea and I think we can do without the flamer comments.
The split between multiplayer based gamers and gamers who enjoy playing alone is becoming a wider and wider gap each year as the online community of gamers continues to grow. Of course we understand here at Only Single Player that multiplayer has become an essential part of the gaming experience, connecting gamers far and wide. We also understand that developers aren’t going to shaft the single player side of things in games, as there’s always a story to tell. I pose the question of whether or not the multiplayer portion of games should be sold as a downloadable experience only. Now like I said, don’t take this as a totally plausible idea. I’m more interested in what the community has to say about it and I think some of my points in this editorial may make some gamers think differently about this option.
From my personal experience there are always some games that I buy purely for the single player experience such as Uncharted 3. The multiplayer in Uncharted 2 wasn’t exactly my cup of tea and I only put a couple of hours into the online portion before getting bored and dropping it all together. I was hoping Uncharted 3’s would maybe catch hold, but it didn’t either. Then there are games like Call of Duty which are primarily bought for the multiplayer portion of the game, but that’s partly because of how little effort is usually put into the campaigns. Black Ops in my opinion almost broke the trend of the boring shoot-em-up campaigns found in the Call of Duty series, but MW3 went right back to the old routine. Finally, for those of us who like to have both parts of a game intact, a game like Gears of War 3 is the ticket. As of right now, that’s the best example I can think of for a game with a very strong campaign and multiplayer component that has taken hold of my interest, to the point of almost becoming an addiction.
The way I see the idea of splitting up the games by selling the multiplayer portion as DLC, and keeping the single player on disc, is pretty simple. Place a price on the game depending how much of each experience is included. So, Call of Duty (sorry, but it’s the best example to use in my opinion. Not hating on the game in any way) has a much heavier focus on its multiplayer and co-op component over the campaign side. Why not sell the multiplayer side of the game on the online store for $40, and the physical copy for $20, for those who want the game to play the campaign. In a way, that makes perfect sense, right? You’re still paying the same amount you would normally pay if you buy both pieces, but you’re saving money if you only want one or the other. But then again, you have to factor in the production costs of the physical copy of the game. To produce millions of copies of the campaign and sell it for $20.00, expecting that it would sell a hell of a lot less compared to the multiplayer, would almost seem pointless. In theory it works, but with all the other factors of production included it’d be a gamble. A plus to the removal of the multiplayer portion from physical discs would also allow more room for campaign material.
Games like Uncharted 3 on the other hand have a much bigger focus on the single player aspect of the game. So why not sell the campaign as a retail disc for $40, and the multiplayer for $20? Another point I’d like to make is for those who don’t have an internet connection capable of playing online games without running up their data limit for more important things. Those players are basically buying features they can’t even use, for the same price as everyone else who can. So the idea that we could split up the games to have the multiplayer portion of games on the online marketplaces and have the single player releases as physical releases would obviously sound great to them. There’s tons of things, such as the production costs I mentioned above, that keep this idea from becoming a reality and there are those of us who would rather have all the content needed to play the full experience on one disc. Bigger hard drives would also become necessary, although for PS3 owners, this wouldn’t be a huge issue as almost any laptop hard drive can replace the factory default. The Xbox 360 owners, on the other hand, have to use Microsoft certified hardware, which is NOT cheap.
As stated before, this is only my thoughts on an idea that could possibly work in the future. From where I’m standing, I going to guess that more of you will oppose this than agree. But in my opinion, it makes sense to value the games based on the ratio of how much of the game is based on either multiplayer or singleplayer. Let us know what your thoughts on this idea are. Does it seem plausible to you, or just something that will never happen.
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