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Blizzard's Pardo Calls Single-Player Games "Endangered Species"
Blizzard Entertainment's Rob Pardo (lead designer of World of Warcraft) feels that single-player games are fast becoming a dying breed. In fact, he refers to single-player games as an "endangered species" of AAA single-player games.

"I don't see there being a great business model for it these days. It's really sad, there's just a lot of elements out there that conspire to make those games difficult to make now," he said. "Between pirating or the ability for people to rent games, it's hard for publishers to pour millions and millions of dollars into a game and not necessarily see the return they need to make those budgets realistic."

Um, I think I can understand his point of view. And yet, somehow, the word "Skyrim" does come to mind.

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15 post(s)
Reader Comments
Dick_Swet Oct 04 2012, 07:47 am EDT
Always online requirement will really bring them back to life me thinks.
Reikhardt Oct 04 2012, 08:13 am EDT
Skyrim was EXACTLY what I was going to say.
His language is actually damning as to what's wrong with a number of the big dev's currently. He's saying that SP games are a dying breed not for artistic or gameplay reasons but for business reasons. If SP games are becoming less commercially viable it's because they're not developing games which offer the customer value for money. MP is fine and all, but there are plenty of people who still enjoy a single player game.
And if there is an issue with the amount of money they're investing into creating games, have they ever considered spending a little less? Quality vs cost in indie and small development teams must be far more efficient than in the bloated mega devs.
Avus Oct 04 2012, 08:19 am EDT
translation: Games that cannot dime and nickle the customers = dying breed. Making a game with good story and gameplay is the old way. Just look at Blizzard games for example. Do you really want to support a game developer like that??
  Cabled: No, I don't support them anymore. They suckered me o…
CJ_Parker Oct 04 2012, 08:42 am EDT
Pardo is the most endangered species in this galaxy if he fucks with my single player games.
Doomsday. Oct 04 2012, 08:49 am EDT
Fuck u Pardo!

*Goes back to playing TOR* ;)
ronja Oct 04 2012, 12:26 pm EDT
Dragon Age , Witcher, Elder Scrolls - I bought them .
WOW - played on private server , Diablo 3- didnt even touched , too mad after all waiting and suprises I didnt like . . Torchlight 2 - purchased after demo try , playing on single mode .
Take that :)
after few years (ok, not few) of MMOs , I dont want to see any online game now
touretul Oct 04 2012, 12:45 pm EDT
Big studios have share holders, parasites, fat cats owners that are not doing anything but pretend to be payed in dividents. So this companies need to produce a lot of money to finance the production of the games and feed the parasites. They need big numbers.
Smaller companies like CDProject Red, Valve, they are doing just fine selling 2 milions.
id which was bought by Zenimax is fucked.
Activision is fucked.
Global economy is fucked.
In general, we're fucked.
Breedy_Mcfluff Oct 04 2012, 01:43 pm EDT
I'd like to see a pie chart for detailed spending on video game development. How much goes into marketing? How much goes into engine development/licensing

Blizzard. A very meh company after outgrowing WoW.
archangel5 Oct 04 2012, 02:10 pm EDT
I can't remember the last time Blizzard made a single player game. Why do we care what this guy says?
Dean_Demon Oct 04 2012, 02:17 pm EDT
Yes the proof is in the pudding as they say,look at skyrim,dragon age origins,bastion,,fallout,civilization,half life.
Whisky Oct 04 2012, 02:55 pm EDT
Then make a game that can be played single play or with a group, ie - Borderlands.

I like a multiplayer option, but the majority of my gaming is single player since all my friends have lives and kids...
Lazaroth Oct 04 2012, 04:20 pm EDT
On one hand he has a point. AAA games are for making money and what makes more money than social games? Social games/$ > telling a good story.
On the other hand we have this statement coming from Blizzard, a company that thinks pandas, rainbows and unicorns are what people want.
Cheddar Oct 04 2012, 05:43 pm EDT
The thing Pardo here is missing is that this sentiment of his isn't new. Forecasting the imminent death of single-player games has been going on now for literally a decade.

And yet it never seems to quite happen, does it?

The reality is that single-player games will never go away. Yes, they make less money. Yes, they will (and already have) dwindle in number compared to mutliplayer-focused games.

But to call them an 'endangered species' is simply stupid. It's apparent Pardo is a DESIGNER and nothing more, because anyone with basic business acumen will tell you that as long as there is a demand -- even a SLIGHT demand -- there will be a market for that demand. And demand for SP games will never go 'extinct', and game-developers with a story to tell in their games that are willing to make profits a secondary concern to artistic-integrity will always be around, if not in great numbers.

Put it this way, if freaking adventure-games can make a comeback right now via developers like Telltale, then single-player games in general are obviously going to be juuuust fine.

The bottom line here is that Pardo is a designer that just wants to justify his studio's profit-focused agenda to himself by imagining they have no choice. This is, of course, a self-serving delusion; a deliberately convenient world-view. It's easier for Pardo to tell himself this lie, rather than man up to the reality that he and Blizzard have voluntarily chosen to be more 'merchant' than 'artist'.
  SeNtrY: I completely agree. It's always easier to lie yoursel…
LostPcGamer: I agree whole heartily. Tired of hearing this BS from…
Bubu Oct 05 2012, 01:54 am EDT
Yeah that's why all those kickstarter single player RPGs got like 300% of founding. Fucking idiots. Just like their fanbase.
Terminator Oct 05 2012, 03:05 am EDT
Single Player Games are definately on the decline, but they aren't dead yet. The day they stop making single player games is the day I stop gaming.
  LostPcGamer: I agree when this happens I'm done also. Shouldn't be…
daver18qc: They aren't in "decline", it's just that 15 years ago…
Terminator: @ LostPcGamer: I'm afraid you are right, the end of S…
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