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Xbox boss Response on Single-Player Games - Economics Are "Complicated"

Forums - Microsoft Discussion - Xbox boss Response on Single-Player Games - Economics Are "Complicated"

Xbox boss Shannon Loftis, who heads up Xbox Publishing for first-party games, believes single-player-only games aren't dead but they do have questions to face around their economic viability. Speaking to GameSpot today, Loftis said the demand by gamers for higher quality experiences comes with a price tag. While storytelling is still of paramount importance, the economics of single-player-only titles is "complicated" in today's industry due to the dramatic and constant evolution of the game market.

"Game development in general is about a couple of things. It's about delivering and experience and it's about telling stories. Storytelling is as central to game development as it ever has been," Loftis said.

There are of course strong examples of compelling single-player-only games that have performed well in the market, such as Bethesda's Fallout 4, Sony's Horizon: Zero Dawn, and Microsoft's own Ori series, Loftis pointed out. But overall, Loftis said the call for higher-quality experiences can result in a big production budget. The suggestion is that some publishers might be understandably spooked putting so much money into a project when their return is not as much a sure-thing as it could be for a product with more potential revenue streams beyond the initial game sale.

"I don't think that it's dead per se," Loftis said about the market for exclusively single-player games. "I do think the economics of taking a single-player game and telling a very high fidelity multi-hour story get a little more complicated. Gamers want higher fidelity and they want higher resolution graphics."

Loftis said Microsoft's Netflix-style Xbox Game Pass service for Xbox One, which costs $10/month for access to a library of more than 100 games, is one method by which Microsoft can help fund single-player-only games. Game Pass "gives us the opportunity to potentially fund games like that," she said.

Retail game sales and subscription revenue--from Xbox Game Pass and other sources--"helps us put games like that in the market over time," Loftis explained.

For the full article, please go to the link below:

Single-Player Games Are Not Dead But The Economics Are "Complicated," Xbox Boss Says



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This isn't the first time I've seen this weird dichotomy articulated. So it's either a super expensive story-driven game or a games-as-a-service multiplayer title?

Does Microsoft realize you can make a single-player game with a modest budget and without cinematic pretensions?



Wow this whole thing reeks.
Sony has no problem releasing a ton of Single-player games... but Microsoft has problem funding them?

"Gamers want higher fidelity and they want higher resolution graphics." I'm surprised they didn't throw in "oh and did you see our X1X - it does just that".

edit: Also guess that means we will never see Quantum break 2.  That had to be super expensive with those factors and actors.



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Veknoid_Outcast said:

Does Microsoft realize you can make a single-player game with a modest budget and without cinematic pretensions?

They're the owners of Ori, which makes it all the more confusing that they're unable to realize it.



LivingMetal said:

"Game development in general is about a couple of things. It's about delivering and experience and it's about telling stories. Storytelling is as central to game development as it ever has been," Loftis said.

Bullcrap.

If you honestly believe Games as a Service are the future, than that quote doesnt make sense.

Storytelling in online multiplayer type games is always worse than in single player focused ones (with odd exceptions to MMORPGs).

 

Xbox side just isnt as good at makeing games that tell stories, is all, and GaaS is easier money so they go for that.



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Oh please.What a load of bullshit.So how games like P 5 and Nier Automata can be already successful with 1 million unit sold?

Its simply a matter of budgeting your game right.Western studios either blow out of the proportion their budget in the development part or in the marketing.Or they just plain dosent know how to manage a project.

But being honest, the REAL reason why western studios are walking away from at the very least, single player focused games is because they cant charge extra with them, either by microtransactions or lootboxes.Its simply easier to make a multiplayer game and be done with it, then implementing a multiplayer in one game that already has a strong single player content(because these companies NEED to have microtransactions and the only way is through a multiplayer mode)

Its sad really.It also shows why MS is losing the war.



Sounds like they've officially moved on to "have strongest game console/GaaS" as the current strategy. That and probably trawling for the next big indie they can lock up. They do claim to have a Horizon type game on the way, so we'll see if that will make it to market. It's likely to have loot boxes out the wazoo if it does.



Funny that much poorer Sony can release games like Uncharted, Horizon Zero Dawn, God Of War, Spiderman, Detroit Being Human, Day's Gone, The Last of Us 2 and more...



Sounds like an inconvenient truth to me. It's still possible to make profitable single-player games, but it's getting harder and harder, just like with other games. Development costs keep rising but not a lot of ways to increase revenue have been found for single-player games.



Nautilus said:
Oh please.What a load of bullshit.So how games like P 5 and Nier Automata can be already successful with 1 million unit sold?

Its simply a matter of budgeting your game right.Western studios either blow out of the proportion their budget in the development part or in the marketing.Or they just plain dosent know how to manage a project.

But being honest, the REAL reason why western studios are walking away from at the very least, single player focused games is because they cant charge extra with them, either by microtransactions or lootboxes.Its simply easier to make a multiplayer game and be done with it, then implementing a multiplayer in one game that already has a strong single player content(because these companies NEED to have microtransactions and the only way is through a multiplayer mode)

Its sad really.It also shows why MS is losing the war.

Yeah is the easy route/lazy way (multiplayer only games are much less work).... but its a gamble, with these games.

The problem is the Games as a service market is in tough competition with one another, because of how long these games last.

Simply put, there isnt room for alot of these GasS type games.

Look at Lawbreakers, Battleborn ect.

For every one that its a mega success theres 10 others that fail to do well.