Online Does Not Mean Deathmatch

In a recent interview with Develop, EA Games Label president Frank Gibeau said that he thinks games without online components are “finished” because “online is where the innovation, and the action, is at.” This caused an uproar from the internet gamer community, who instantly assumed this meant competitive multiplayer deathmatch for every game. But that’s not what Gibeau is talking about. In fact, he implicitly said this:

“Well, it’s not only about multiplayer, it’s about being connected. I firmly believe that the way the products we have are going they, need to be connected online. Multiplayer is one form of that.”

So some of the outrage is simply people who don’t read carefully. Some is because the primary solution they have seen to this problem is multiplayer. This fall, both Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Dead Rising 2 got multiplayer, despite the original games being single-player only. EA Games itself is releasing Dead Space 2 next year with a multiplayer component. The community sees this as potentially dangerous to the single player experience.

Two points. The first is that, despite the above mentioned games having multiplayer, they are are not multiplayer only games. Each has a full sized single player experience as well. Using multiplayer as a way to build a delay needed to reduce trade-back and used sales seems like a great exchange in order to get great single player experiences.

The second is that competitive multiplayer is not the only option.Dead Rising 2 has co-op. Mass Effect 2 has free DLC for those who buy new. These methods can easily keep someone coming back long after the single player is finished. It also can sell a game that otherwise would have been passed by. Co-op has sold me on everything from the XBLA Schizoid to full sized games like Resident Evil 5.

The video game industry is going through a transition. The future will not be the same as it always has been. Much like how video games once shifted from arcades into the home, more and more they will shift to interacting with the online community. Here is hoping they serve to compliment and enhance the single player, rather than simply replacing it.

-That is all.

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