GAMING BLEND

EA Will Add Online Functionality To All Their Single-Player Games

By William Usher 2012-09-05 18:03:17 discussion comments
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EA's president of labels, Frank Gibeau, recently made an idiotic comment about all their single-player games having some sort of online component. This instantly drew ire from the community as the quality of single-player games from EA seemed like they were destined for doom. However, Gibeau quickly came back into the spotlight to correct his statements and instead say all EA's single-player games will simply have online functionality.

So originally, Destructoid ran a story about how EA's Frank Gibeau had not green-lit one game to be developed as a single player experience. The original quote is as follows with the boss man saying...
"We are very proud of the way EA evolved with consumers," ... "I have not green lit one game to be developed as a singleplayer experience. Today, all of our games include online applications and digital services that make them live 24/7/365.

It's easy to see how this can be misconstrued and in some regards the context for this quote does leave room for misinterpretation...and misinterpreted this quote was.

After gamers riled up their pitchforks, went to Wal-Mart and bought some discounted torches and then amassed their presence under the dark corners of forum boards and the dingy alleys of social media networks, Gibeau was quickly notified of the impending EA hate-train and decided he needed to run some damage control before the stock prices dipped...again. So Gibeau put on his flame-proof jockstrap, equipped his mob-ready girdle and shielded his face against the mouth breathers with the digital riot helmet before making yet another statement.

So Kotaku worked as the intermediary between the gaming audience and corporate giant Electronic Arts, interpreting Gibeau's latest statements, where he clarified his original point, saying...
"Let me clarify," .... "What I said was [about not greenlighting] anything that [doesn't have] an online service. You can have a very deep single-player game but it has to have an ongoing content plan for keeping customers engaged beyond what's on the initial disc. I'm not saying deathmatch must come to Mirror's Edge."

I imagine Gibeau probably chuckled nervously and wrestled with the tight fitting collar of his white dress shirt as sweat presumably piled atop his forehead and his pits amassed a fair amount of fear-produced stench.

Regardless of what the executive was thinking while running the proverbial damage control routine, he tried to further expound on EA's new all-digital future, saying...
Everything that we do, we see the telemetry coming in telling us that's the best way to build our business and that's the best way to build these experiences and be differentiated from others. Yeah, I'm not suggesting deathmatch must be in Bejeweled. It's just… You need to have a connected social experience where you're part of a large community"

The new Sim City, you can play single-player," .... "Mass Effect 3, you can play single-player. FIFA, Madden…" "I still passionately believe in single-player games and think we should build them.”

Derp, you can play SimCity in single-player but you can't play it offline.

SimCity suffers the same sort of DRM measures as Diablo III's always-on DRM. I don't really see how that's preserving the single-player experience when you still have to play it at the inconvenience of the publisher's servers. And when the servers go kaput, so does the game.

However, Gibeau and crew don't really see it that way. According to the president of labels, an online component keeps people playing, engaged and less likely to trade-in the game after they get bored, perhaps?
“What I was trying to suggest with my comments was that as we move our company from being a packaged goods, fire-and-forget business to a digital business that has a service component to it.”

“That was more where I was coming from," ... "That should not be misunderstood as the death of single-player games, or single-player experiences or telling stories. Narrative is what separates good games from bad games. Or great from good, even.”

Well, Frank, so long as Mirror's Edge 2 is a good, or even, great game I don't think most people will mind. They will mind, however, if the game is always-on or you can't get the real ending without buying DLC or playing a competitive multiplayer mode or buying DLC for the multiplayer mode to rack up enough points to unlock the ending.

The main idea is that games should simply be complete upon release. Additional social features that don't interrupt the overall experience are always well appreciated, but it's a scary thing whenever we start talking about the future of video games being left in the hands of business executives.
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