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EA Exec Won't Green Light Any Single Player-Only Games

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the leveraging-synergies-like-a-champ dept.

Cloud 274

An anonymous reader sends this quote from Geek.com: "Frank Gibeau, the president of EA Labels, has shown that business truly does come before gameplay with comments he made as part of a preview document for the CloudGamingUSA event happening on September 11-12 in San Francisco. Gibeau is very proud of the fact he has never green lit a single project that consisted solely of a single-player experience. He insists that every game EA publishes has an online component to it. His reason for doing this? Apparently EA has 'evolved with consumers (PDF)' suggesting he thinks this is what consumers want in every game. ... Forcing online into every game makes little sense. While it works for a Battlefield, Medal of Honor, Fifa or Need for Speed title, there's just as many games that don't need it to succeed, or even work for online play. A good example of this would be the forthcoming SimCity, which has upset fans of the series because it will require an constant Internet connection to play. That isn't a DRM measure, it's due to the tight integration of multiplayer and how all players impact each others games."

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Then I've evolved to not buy EA games... (5, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | about 2 years ago | (#41240361)

"multi player only" is just code for "always connected to the internet", been there, tried that, no thanks.

Then I've evolved to not play WoW. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41240441)

MMOG

Re:Then I've evolved to not buy EA games... (5, Interesting)

markdavis (642305) | about 2 years ago | (#41240519)

Bingo. It probably is just an excuse to make more money.

Personally, I can't stand ANY multiplayer games. Not sure exactly why, I guess I prefer to compete against fixed challenges and at my own pace. I am probably in the minority, but I certainly can't be alone.

Re:Then I've evolved to not buy EA games... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41240565)

You are not alone. It seems there is a very good reason there are to EA titles on my list of games.

Re:Then I've evolved to not buy EA games... (1)

SirSlud (67381) | about 2 years ago | (#41240599)

To be clear, he just means all games will have an MP component, not that all games will required to be played online. The 'always on DRM' is falling out of favour with developers (Ubi has backed out this practice over the past few months) for all the reasons gamers dislike it.

Re:Then I've evolved to not buy EA games... (3, Interesting)

Your.Master (1088569) | about 2 years ago | (#41241303)

An MP component forces certain design decisions though, which aren't always appropriate to a single-player game and are frustrating to encounter over and over, especially in certain genres. That, or you end up with two games, somewhat related but optimized very differently, packaged together in one box where most consumers are really only after one or the other playstyle.

Multiplayer components to sim type games can be awful burdens.
Multiplayer for sports/racing/fighting games is pretty much expected.
Multiplayer for RTS or FPS is also a given, though it tends to enforce play-balance decisions. Blizzard steps much farther away from play-balance with the single player game, which is interesting but also frustrating when I'm waiting for my single-player SC2 experience because they need to endlessly rebalance the multiplayer (and I have played some original Starcraft multiplayer and enjoyed it, but it's not my main thing). Though I recognize that maybe SC2 wouldn't exist at all if not for the giant pot of gold that is SC2 multiplayer.
Multiplayer for adventure games is almost uniformly stupid. I say almost because sometimes they find unique ways of being stupid.
RPGs are so profoundly different with a multiplayer component that you typically hear of MMORPGs as their own genre with little crossover. Most RPGs I encounter that have both single and multiplayer are really action games with minor RPG components. You could probably do Fallout as a straight shooter if you pull out VATS, so there's the potential there, but it's not really the same game at all and it would make a shitty shooter. Neverwinter Nights being an interesting sort of exception.

Blanket statements like that make it less likely that I'd get an EA game other than maybe an RTS. II don't like most of the genres that have multiplayer as a given anyway.

Re:Then I've evolved to not buy EA games... (5, Informative)

sqlrob (173498) | about 2 years ago | (#41240613)

Nope, you're not alone. I'm the same way, have been for years.

I play for fun, I'm not going to make it another job trying to arrange my schedule around raids or matches, or dealing with a lot of the cheating idiots.

Re:Then I've evolved to not buy EA games... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41240627)

For me it is that the players online are usually casual who play every so often or hyper skilled and know every intricacy and trick in the book. Therefore, the online difficulty is super easy or super hard. That is not a fun environment to play with. It is like playing chess against someone who just learned the rules or a grandmaster and not knowing who is whom ahead of time.

Re:Then I've evolved to not buy EA games... (2)

Macrat (638047) | about 2 years ago | (#41240635)

Bingo. It probably is just an excuse to make more money.

Personally, I can't stand ANY multiplayer games. Not sure exactly why, I guess I prefer to compete against fixed challenges and at my own pace. I am probably in the minority, but I certainly can't be alone.

You don't like being killed after a couple of minutes over and over and over and over again? :-)

Re:Then I've evolved to not buy EA games... (1)

markdavis (642305) | about 2 years ago | (#41240689)

>"You don't like being killed after a couple of minutes over and over and over and over again? :-)"

LOL!!!! OK, that might be part of it too :)

Re:Then I've evolved to not buy EA games... (1)

luke923 (778953) | about 2 years ago | (#41240755)

Only if that happened in Madden.

Re:Then I've evolved to not buy EA games... (2)

meerling (1487879) | about 2 years ago | (#41241115)

Especially when you're playing Solitaire and just got all the aces out. :)

Re:Then I've evolved to not buy EA games... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41240889)

No, you are absolutely right, The Portal franciase is amongst my favourite expenditure I spend proper money on games, I pay CCP monthly for Eve Online (from 2003 to present day) ffs a small fortune no less however in that MMOLU (Massively Multiplayer Online Universe) I still flit around solo and enjoy a single player game. Some of us just like being alone. (sorry if I am ranting, I just returned half cut from a pub with real people) zzzzzzz,,, - I was trying to be a bit seriouis though

Re:Then I've evolved to not buy EA games... (5, Insightful)

chilvence (1210312) | about 2 years ago | (#41240921)

Personally, I can't stand ANY multiplayer games. Not sure exactly why, I guess I prefer to compete against fixed challenges and at my own pace. I am probably in the minority, but I certainly can't be alone.

I think I may be able to add to your point of view, in the unlikely event that any game devs are reading:

There is abslolutely no reward or interest in fighting against/being beaten by anonymous opponents which have otherwise no personal connection to the player. I love quake, command and conquer, etcetera, but only in the same way as I love chess, and I would never even contemplate playing chess against someone I had never met in person, because that would be boring; a soulless challenge, so pointless that I may as well play against a computer.

Some people become obsessed with online games, and perhaps I can see why it would be a diversion, but I am willing to bet that the vast majority of people are only interested in playing games against the people in their own existing social circle, and could not give a damn about massively multiplayer, always online bullshit - and that to lump every gamer in that crowd would be a disastrous folly. Networked games are a beautiful thing, when they are combined with a social, friendly and close knit group of friends, where all players are in hearing distance and it resembles something like a sporting event; but when exposed to the stark, impersonal world of the internet, they are about as good as a kick in the face!

Re:Then I've evolved to not buy EA games... (1)

markdavis (642305) | about 2 years ago | (#41241029)

Well said

Re:Then I've evolved to not buy EA games... (3, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#41241639)

If I had mod points you'd be getting them, that was thoughtful and well said. I think that's why I've pretty much stopped getting games anywhere but Steam, all my family and friends are there so if I want to fire up a game like Saints Row 3 I can just pop off a message to one of my buds and say "Hey want to join me in some carnage?" and playing with or against them is actually FUN. Playing against some stranger (and for some reason I usually get the smartass that "talks" in SMS speak which drives me up a wall) is simply not fun, I'd say its worse than playing against the computer as i'm not getting LOLSpeak popups from the damned computer.

Re:Then I've evolved to not buy EA games... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41241715)

Well said, but I disagree.
In a war game(read: Call of Duty, etc), it is much more realistic knowing nothing about your specific opponents.
I don't play every game for the intellectual or social stimulation you describe. Some are about reflex and instinct.

My favorite games are single-player RPG's, but I'm very grateful for the fans of other genres because it means I get to play all sorts of games.

Basically, yes the games you describe are fun, but so are others, including the "soulless challenges". Don't bash another's joy because its not your own.

Re:Then I've evolved to not buy EA games... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41241299)

I don't agree with your opinion, but it is just as valid as mine.

Re:Then I've evolved to not buy EA games... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41241485)

"That isn't a DRM measure, it's due to the tight integration of multiplayer and how all players impact each others games."

Nope, it's to keep everyone online and surveylled

Re:Then I've evolved to not buy EA games... (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#41241565)

You are not alone friend, as while there are a couple of games I'll play online co-op with friends or family (Saints Row 3 and we're looking forward to Torchlight 2 so we can go dungeon crawling together) I frankly have NO desire to run like a chicken with its head cut off blasting everything that twitches.

Once in awhile I'll fire up a little Bioshock II MP but that is more of a friendly team thing since it always ends up a race to either find the Big daddy suit or get together and drop the guy who grabbed the Big Daddy suit but I've tried dozens of MP only games and just find them repetitive and dull.

So while I can see the appeal, hell my oldest has already won around $120 in steambux playing TFII sniping the hell out of everyone for me its just too boring.

Minority? Hardly. Can You Say Fallout 3? (3, Insightful)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about 2 years ago | (#41241637)

Fallout 3. Game of the year [wikipedia.org] for several years by several groups. Massively successful. And a completely single player game. For the first time since Mech Warrior, I actually want to see a game I play/played put online (but inside I know it would likely fuck it right up). Many people obviously enjoy single player games. You aren't alone.

Re:Then I've evolved to not buy EA games... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41240623)

While EA stock has evolved to deep discounts [yahoo.com] in the last year.
This policy will not turn things around.

Re:Then I've evolved to not buy EA games... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41240903)

Indeed. I view this as an idiot move on their part- and I'll take the same position there you're doing.

Hint: Not every player has Internet access. Those that do, don't all not have caps or are billed by the byte/kilobyte/megabyte/gigabyte/etc.

For a while I was on a Verizon 3G/4G 10G plan account for Internet. Worked great for surfing, etc. SUCKED for online gaming. Sucked nearly as bad when I had to do game binary updates or was interested in Demos. (Sorry, Sony- DLC only really friggin' works when you've got unlimited always-on Internet without billing for data... And updates...same story...)

Not every goddamned game needs to rely on MMOG type play or DLC.

Re:Then I've evolved to not buy EA games... (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#41241495)

Well if it was like Bioshock II, where you could completely ignore it if you wanted? i don't see a problem with that. With Bioshock II you could completely ignore the MP if you wanted, it was just there if you wanted to spend a few minutes blasting other players but really didn't matter, same with Bulletstorm. But if you have to be online always? No thanks, even Ubisoft abandoned that crap.

Is it really any surprise that EA is on the selling block with stupidity like this though? They have been puking out assembly line crap for years and with PHBs like this are we really surprised they are up for sale? Jim Sterling at The Escapist as a great video on why people hate EA [escapistmagazine.com] but I guess he'll have to update it now to add "Having stupid MP in games that don't make sense having MP" to that very long list he already gives.

Just... (0)

Glarimore (1795666) | about 2 years ago | (#41240369)

what the fucking fuck?

Re:Just... (0)

Score Whore (32328) | about 2 years ago | (#41241065)

What have you got against a policy that says games will have multiplayer? Nothing in the "story" says there won't be single player content.

not too surprising (4, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#41240395)

EA, for a while now, has been spooked by Facebook and web games' rapid rise in market share, and desperately worried that they're eking out legacy profits on a sinking ship. To make matters worse, their last gamble on a designer-led Maxis game, Spore, didn't turn out to be very profitable. So I'm not too surprised by this position, even if I don't like it artistically.

Re:not too surprising (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41240731)

Spore didn't suck because of Maxis or developer involvement. Spore sucked because of EA and EA's business decisions.

The huge buzz caught the attention of executives and they decided to take their high-concept property and rape it's corpse for all it was worth, even before it launched.
Pencil dick middle managers smelled another sims, and with dreams of endless expansions, tried as hard as they could to turn spore in to a product they could sell the public incrementally over many years.

Well, you know the rest. The game sucked. Every bit of awesome creative vision was dashed out at the hands of the clueless goons that pat themselves on the back for running EA.

Today, here we are again hearing clueless shit from some shirt who would not know fun if it was beaten in to him with a rusty pipe. We know why EA's game suck. It's not the developers, its the useless layers of executive staff and management parasites that define the modern American business.

Re:not too surprising (1)

Bahamut_Omega (811064) | about 2 years ago | (#41241129)

If that was the case, then someone might want to tell Gibeau to look at the back catalog and see what made the games fun. If the bloody moron thinks it happens to be graphics, then he should be forced to endure some games that were actually fun to play in either solo or multiplayer.

Anyone for locking him up in a room with a copy of M.U.L.E and one of the old respective platforms it was released on? Sure it would be a pain to do; but sometimes the ones who write the cheques for the developers need to actually try playing the games whilst they are in development as a test subject.

I think some of the old game coders & designers from the earlier eras could show Mr. Gibeau on what made the games fun. I'm not talking about unlimited resources to make another cookie cutter FPShitter either. They had limitations on what they could do; and I would give them a major salute for pulling off what they did with the resources of the era.

Re:not too surprising (1)

am 2k (217885) | about 2 years ago | (#41241667)

The huge buzz caught the attention of executives and they decided to take their high-concept property and rape it's corpse for all it was worth, even before it launched. Pencil dick middle managers smelled another sims, and with dreams of endless expansions, tried as hard as they could to turn spore in to a product they could sell the public incrementally over many years.

FYI, there's a game now that's using the stuff from Spore (Spore Engine?). It's called Darkspore, and it's actually fun to play (for me at least, and unlike the original game). However, it has nothing to do with the concept behind Spore itself, it's just apparent from the unique creature style (and the creature editor for upgrades).

The only problem I have with it is that even though I bought it on Steam (when it was on sale), I have to sign into my EA account every time I want to play it, even when I only want to play single player, entering my ~20 character randomly generated password. This DRM is probably also the reason for this online-only push.

Re:not too surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41240733)

Mostly agreed. It's about risk and reward. Facebook-style casual games are relatively cheap to develop and have a huge, huge audience. The harder core your game is, the smaller the potential audience will be, and often (but not always) the more expensive it is to develop. So the incentive is to move towards those casual, online, multiplayer games. That's where the fat profit is. Why develop a highly complex flight simulator for a few hundred thousand gamers, when you can develop a much simpler Farmville for a tens of millions of gamers? There's no financial sense in the former.

So we'll continue to see a trend in this direction.

Re:not too surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41241315)

This is a trend not just in video games but in the movie industry as well. Why make something that appeals to a segment, compared to yet another generic action flick or a reboot/sequel of another movie.

The music industry, similar. "Good" music may not appeal to most, but toss another Justin Beiber in front of teenagers, and the dough rolls in.

This is why one isn't going to see cool new IP from the big names if they continue in this direction.

Re:not too surprising (1)

Mr. Shotgun (832121) | about 2 years ago | (#41241717)

To make matters worse, their last gamble on a designer-led Maxis game, Spore, didn't turn out to be very profitable.

To be fair if they had taken the more obvious lessons [cad-comic.com] from that failure Madden 10 would have been a very unique departure from the previous games.

Huge misunderstanding (1, Insightful)

supersloshy (1273442) | about 2 years ago | (#41240417)

He isn't saying that they're shoehorning multiplayer into every game. He's saying that every game should include an online component of some sort, as he says right here [kotaku.com] . They're not saying that games should all have multiplayer involved. They're saying that they should involve the internet in some way. There is nothing wrong with this. For example, take optional high score challenges in Mirror's Edge. The Sim City example, where online is required, is a bad example because that's just one game and the game was designed to be multiplayer-centric from the start. There are many, many single player games, like Mass Effect, that don't require the multiplayer or online functionality whatsoever. This is just FUD. EA isn't the best company around, sure, but including online features in single player games is definitely possible and it can't always be a bad thing depending on how it's implemented.

Re:Huge misunderstanding (5, Insightful)

blahplusplus (757119) | about 2 years ago | (#41240439)

LOL The reality is he wants to use the internet to normalize DRM one small step at a time. Everyone has seen diablo 3's success and the are CHOMPING AT THE BIT to do the same to every other game. See through the PR matrix.

Re:Huge misunderstanding (5, Interesting)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | about 2 years ago | (#41240601)

He isn't saying that they're shoehorning multiplayer into every game. He's saying that every game should include an online component of some sort, as he says right here [kotaku.com] . They're not saying that games should all have multiplayer involved. They're saying that they should involve the internet in some way. There is nothing wrong with this. For example, take optional high score challenges in Mirror's Edge. The Sim City example, where online is required, is a bad example because that's just one game and the game was designed to be multiplayer-centric from the start. There are many, many single player games, like Mass Effect, that don't require the multiplayer or online functionality whatsoever. This is just FUD. EA isn't the best company around, sure, but including online features in single player games is definitely possible and it can't always be a bad thing depending on how it's implemented.

Mass Effect is a great example. Thanks for bringing it up. When the series began, Bioware wasn't part of EA and there was no online component. EA's Mass Effect 3, on the other hand, requires players to either pvp or play an awful iPhone game to improve the effectiveness of their forces and unlock the most positive ending. This is the sort of shoehorning EA demands.

Re:Huge misunderstanding (3, Informative)

GammaKitsune (826576) | about 2 years ago | (#41241081)

That's simply not true. In Mass Effect 3, the online component is completely optional. You can use the multiplayer component or the iPhone game to get the better ending if you want, but it's entirely possible to get the best ending in the game entirely through single player, without ever touching the online components. Furthermore, the multiplayer is cooperative, not PvP. In fact, there is no PvP option in ME3 that I'm aware of. I'm not EA's biggest fan by any means, but at least get the facts right.

Re:Huge misunderstanding (1)

svick (1158077) | about 2 years ago | (#41241179)

1. As far as I know, you don't actually need to play the multiplayer or the iPhone game to get the best ending. But to get it without those, you need to play more singleplayer missions that you would otherwise.
2. The Mass Effect 3 multiplayer is not PvP (Player vs. Player). It's cooperative, you fight with a bunch of other people against waves of AI enemies.

Personally, I don't usually play multiplayer in games, but I thought that ME3 multiplayer was quite fun and not shoehorned in.

Re:Huge misunderstanding (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41241411)

When release the most positive ending was not available to those only playing single player (part of a lengthy discussion here: http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/323/index/11763105). This was altered with the Extended Cut DLC (patch?) and it should now be possible.

From what I have seen ME3 was an example of shoehorning single player content into a multiplayer exploitation of a popular IP

Re:Huge misunderstanding (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#41240685)

He's saying that every game

No, he's saying every game *EA* publishes should have multiplayer. Paradox does strategy and historical games, EA is all in on a 'multiplayer customer relationship' for want of a better way of putting it. If you want a single player game you don't have to publish it with EA, and if you don't like strategy games you don't have to ever buy anything from Paradox. Valve is pushing very hard for every new game to have achievements because that's part of what they think their customers want from the experience with them. Blizzard is pushing battle.net because they feel their customers want to all stay connected even if they're just playing a single player map in starcraft or running around alone at the moment in D3 or WoW. Everything from Atlus is some sort of emo and or RPG thing (though that wasn't always true it this is only last 6 or 7 years), Bethesda are all basically first person action FPS or RPG's etc.

Every company in this business is allowed to specialize into what they think their customers want. If it was Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft saying we won't allow single player games on their consoles we'd have a problem (and, admittedly, it might come to that), but EA saying we only do games with an online component is just making clear their particular niche.

There is for EA a strong business case that having an online component through EA will always get them some money per title, even from pirates, whereas other companies (GoG, paradox etc.) feel they can do very well without that online part precisely because they aren't EA.

Ubisoft, while they just announced they're ditching the always on DRM, has a much more complex relationship with it's customers because it has a very very diverse product line, as does Take 2.

Re:Huge misunderstanding (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about 2 years ago | (#41240717)

They're saying it's easier to control consumers, attempt to kill used game sales and force people to quit playing games when it has to call home.

Re:Huge misunderstanding (2)

meerling (1487879) | about 2 years ago | (#41241213)

I wouldn't say exactly that. Shoehorning in some kind of internet functionality, especially into a game where it is utterly extraneous, is extra time, complexity, bug issues, and costs. It does effect the final product, and when it's shit slapped on just because the CEO said to, it makes the final product worse, not better.

(You don't really think they allocate extra money, devs, testing, or time to a project for an unnecessary bolt-on just because the CEO wants that extra whatever now do you?)

SimCity makes sense online (2)

addie (470476) | about 2 years ago | (#41240429)

I'm going to avoid the DRM/always-online part of this, but I'm thrilled SimCity is going online. Cities do not exist in a vacuum, and it's about time the game really tries to simulate a regional economy.

It's a game that doesn't have to be online, but I'm glad it will be!

Re:SimCity makes sense online (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41240611)

Online play should be optional. How else will I be able to opt out of being trolled?

Re:SimCity makes sense online (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41240775)

This. I am fine with offline and online modes. Online-forced mode is just awful and I will never ever buy a game that is like it, especially if is subscription.

Re:SimCity makes sense online (1, Flamebait)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#41241047)

It's a game that doesn't have to be online, but I'm glad it will be!

Naturally then, because you like it, everyone else will too. Other similarly bad arguments: Love it or leave it, you're not a game developer so your opinion doesn't count, you don't love it as much as I do, you're not part of [Favored Group] so you can't understand, and my personal favorite: If we listened to you, this kind of thing wouldn't exist!

Re:SimCity makes sense online (1)

addie (470476) | about 2 years ago | (#41241133)

You have the same platform here as I do to express your opinion. If that opinion is that you don't think SimCity should go online, then by all means say so.

I said I was happy it will be online; I'm not sure how that suggests everyone else has to feel the same way. But perhaps you just want to be confrontational hmm?

Re:SimCity makes sense online (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#41241339)

If that opinion is that you don't think SimCity should go online, then by all means say so.

I don't think it should or shouldn't. I think that the game's design and the designers should make the decision as to whether or not a feature or aspect of gameplay should be developed or included. What's happening here is that a manager who is far-removed from the creative process has, without much knowledge or understanding of the product, its expected user-base, or the market itself, has dictated terms to the design team. Sometimes this is a non-fatal mistake, but usually when management does this (in any industry, not just game design) the end-result runs a spectrum from mediocre to truly awful. There are a great many examples of EA trying to bolt on multiplayer into game genres and titles that it is not a good fit for, and this has been the result in the past.

In short, the EA exec is a poor manager, and should be removed for the good of the company. The argument of a fraction of the userbase, or an individual poster on slashdot, saying how "happy" they are that it'll have an online component is not an argument for its inclusion -- the design of the game in this case isn't amiable to it. No other Sims title has multiplayer, and all attempts so far to create a multiplayer or "social" experience have resulted in mediocre results. Sims 3 tries to be more "social"; and even my 15 year old sister, who is oblivious to IT, game design, or anything beyond simply playing the game because she's a 15 year old girl... says that the social/multiplayer stuff is stupid.

This executive is poisonous to EA as an organization. That's my opinion, but it's also backed up by historical data of this company's efforts to achieve his vision so far, this specific game series, and the industry at large. So this isn't really about SimCity, or your preferences one way or another -- it's about one man ruining dozens of gaming titles because he's a fucking moron.

Re:SimCity makes sense online (1)

addie (470476) | about 2 years ago | (#41241423)

Fair enough, if that was the case.

But who's to say that SimCity wouldn't have gone online without such interference from management? I can think of a number of ways a SimCity experience could be improved (albeit with complications) by bringing it online. Can't we assume there are game designers who may agree? Who are we to assume that the current SimCity design team doesn't agree? I can't comment on the Sims, as it never appealed to me, but since SimCity 2000 I have wanted to be able to play a persistent set of linked cities with my friends. I think it's fair to say I'm likely not the only one who feels that way - whether I'm in the majority or not, I don't know.

I get that this article is a chance to dump on EA management - and there are plenty of reasons to do so. I simply wanted to say that regardless of the motivation behind SimCity going online (and I don't think we agree on whether that motivation comes from a design or management decision) I think it's a good one.

Maybe people should stop whining (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41240451)

.. because what they cried for is indeed coming to pass - "Those old media companies just can't change with the times and adapt their business models to modern day life!"

Say hello to an adapted business model like 99% of people called for.

Re:Maybe people should stop whining (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41240607)

Hold up. You read "adapt their business models" as remove offline/single player games (or alternatively 'require always-on Internet connection *because* of multiplayer game modes that only some players may use')? No, I don't think that's what most people called for.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that most people were probably referring to consumers being price gauged by inefficient distribution methods and insane pricing differences for DLC in different regions.

Re:Maybe people should stop whining (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41240803)

Hold up. You read "adapt their business models" as remove offline/single player games

I'm a different AC, but I think his point was that studios ARE adjusting their business models in ways that work, and those ways might not be what the average slashdotter wants.

They don't have to please the few hardcore gamers, they have to please the many casual gamers, and that's the direction they are moving. You can't blast them in one breath for not changing with the times, and turn around in the next and blast them for doing exactly that, when the market is moving towards more casual online gaming experiences. Just look at games like Farmville which are designed from the ground up around casual online play. It's one of the most successful games of all time. Studios are changing their business model to more closely align with what works. That's exactly what slashdotters were telling them they should be doing. You don't get to redefine "adapt their business model" as "do what **I** personally want them to do". Adapting their business model means doing what the market as a whole rewards.

Re:Maybe people should stop whining (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41241093)

OP AC here, thanks for the other AC for describing what I was alluding to.

Here's an example: Let's say Bob has a big, paved driveway that a bunch of people are skateboarding on. He wants them to stop skateboarding. Through a combination of measures (ignoring him; social pressure) they assert the view that it may be his driveway but he should learn to live with people using it as they want. Bob then proceeds to replace the pavement with gravel.

How reasonable is it to feel somehow slighted or to make demands that Bob re-pave his driveway? If someone first says that Bob has to learn to live with the times and accept their use, and then demands that he turns it back into the pavement it was, could such a person perhaps be described as.... "somewhat entitled in the assertions department"?

Narrow-minded kitchen sink mentality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41240459)

Yet another executive who believes a "kitchen sink" mentality is indicative of a flexible business-savvy mindset when the opposite is closer to the truth.

Rather than making bad games that do everything poorly, why not focus on better games that do a few things well?

Re:Narrow-minded kitchen sink mentality (1)

luke923 (778953) | about 2 years ago | (#41240683)

Rather than making bad games that do everything poorly, why not focus on better games that do a few things well?

Looks like zombie Steve Jobs has come back from the grave to make an AC post on Slashdot.

Re:Narrow-minded kitchen sink mentality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41241141)

Rather than making bad games that do everything poorly, why not focus on better games that do a few things well?

Looks like zombie Steve Jobs has come back from the grave to make an AC post on Slashdot.

It's an excellent point. OP AC may not say a lot, but what he says is very good.

Re:Narrow-minded kitchen sink mentality (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#41240711)

Uh... That's exactly what they're saying they do (they don't execute but that's another matter). They're focusing on games that have an online component. If you want to make a strategy game that's single player, or if you want to make a single player adventure game, they don't have the skills to market or test that, and they have no intention of acquiring that skillset. Which is why there are other publishers.

Not DRM? (1)

J_Darnley (918721) | about 2 years ago | (#41240463)

"That isn't a DRM measure, it's due to the tight integration of multiplayer..."

Its nice that they can claim a legitimate sounding reason for it but it still sounds like DRM to me. The proof will be what happens when you cannot contact their servers while playing. If you get kicked out of the game then it is DRM!

" because it will require AN constant Internet" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41240523)

Who writes like that? How can you possibly type two letters instead of one? Let me guess - it's AN American!

Re:" because it will require AN constant Internet" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41240667)

...you know... 'AN' is SUPPOSED to precede words starting with a vowel in sentences like that... 'A' for the others... so you failed your own example... grammar troll....

Re:" because it will require AN constant Internet" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41241341)

'early you never 'eard of an 'onstant 'onnection

Re:" because it will require AN constant Internet" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41240785)

As an American, I find that grammar disturbing. I wouldn't write that way.

I find your stereotyping even worse.

Such a Shame (4, Insightful)

milbournosphere (1273186) | about 2 years ago | (#41240543)

They've bought their fair share of studios that were previously oriented around a great single-player experience, and have proceeded to suck the life force out of many of them. Bioware is one such studio that comes to mind. After seeing what they did to Dragon Age II and Mass Effect 3, it's likely I won't buy another EA game again for a long while. It's really sad seeing these once-great studios killed by the plague that is EA Games.

Re:Such a Shame (3, Interesting)

zlives (2009072) | about 2 years ago | (#41240585)

DA2 was my limit.
that's why I for one fund things like Wasteland2

Re:Such a Shame (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41240621)

RIP westwood studios :-(

Re:Such a Shame (1)

ILMTitan (1345975) | about 2 years ago | (#41240783)

I will give you Dragon Age II, but Mass Effect 3 was literally 99.6% awesome. It was just unfortunate that the .4% of suck was the last 10 minutes of the game.

Re:Such a Shame (1)

Wolfling1 (1808594) | about 2 years ago | (#41240819)

Whilst I feel some anger towards EA for this Exec's blatant greed ('this is not DRM' - yeah, right), I take a more 'market driven' approach towards this problem. Good games will always sell - and they'll make lots of money. Studios that cultivate good single-player games won't work with EA, and another publisher will win the profits. EA botched Mass Effect 3 (slowest boot up ever), but that wasn't bad enough to destroy the game. If/when they're inflexible business policy does destroy a game, it just won't sell. Simple.

Re:Such a Shame (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 2 years ago | (#41240935)

Completely agree. In particular, Bioware is a real loss. It is a pity that cretins without vision or intent to do anything right can amass so much money and can destroy so much others have built.

Re:Such a Shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41241415)

It's evolution
The most successful will rise to the top

Re:Such a Shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41241021)

Many people felt that way about both games. I personally loved them overall. I was disappointed with some of the DLC for DAII, and the obv ending issues with ME3. I just don't see them as being killed.

Of course, EA games does tend to seem to stifle a company like bioware...

Re:Such a Shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41241043)

It took Dragon Age II and Mass Effect 3 to have you take that position?

The last game I bought from EA willingly was Deathspank: The Baconing. There should be a hint in that to this exec...I'm interested in mainly casual send-up type games from them at this point. Burnout Paradise was decent enough, but Criterion's not produced a decent title since then, sadly. All in all, I've not been interested in much of ANY of their offerings for years now. They've been sucking the life/brains out of tons of great game studios over the last several decades now- any studio that gets bought will have only maybe 1-2 good titles left out of them before they turn craptastic like all the others have.

Where the PC NHL, NFL, NBA and MLB games? (0)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#41240587)

Where the PC NHL, NFL, NBA and MLB games?

Re:Where the PC NHL, NFL, NBA and MLB games? (1)

damnbunni (1215350) | about 2 years ago | (#41240801)

Baseball: http://2ksports.com/games/mlb2k12/ [2ksports.com]
Basketball: http://2ksports.com/games/nba2k11/ [2ksports.com]

EA effectively owns the concepts of 'football' and 'hockey', so no one but EA can make those games. But 2K Sports releases PC versions of their titles.

Fuck forced socializing. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41240591)

Seriously, what the fuck?

If you asked me to name one thing that pisses me off more then most other things today, I'd say that it's this "forced-socialization" everyone is jumping on.

I deal with people all day, I'm a consultant for some seriously niche and highly proprietary technology. Sometimes I deal with nice people. Sometimes I deal with smart people. Sometimes I deal with stupid people, and sometimes I deal with complete and utter fuckwads. I do this every day, five days a week. I usually spend one day on the weekend hanging out with friends and family, which leaves me one day to forget about reality and escape to the far reaches of some magical galaxy where I can have a nice private adventure in the comfort of my own living room.

The last thing I want is to be forcefully shoved into a virtual room with a bunch of vulgar screaming 12 year olds who think they're "the shit" while I'm simply "shit".

I don't play games to deal with people. I play games to get away from people. I deal with people enough during the day.

Why the fuck can't game companies understand this?

-AC

Re:Fuck forced socializing. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41240865)

If you asked me to name one thing that pisses me off more then most other things today, I'd say that it's this "forced-socialization" everyone is jumping on.

Has it occurred to you that maybe you are not like most people, and they want to cater to the larger market who wants exactly that?

The market rewards companies like Zynga that sell social gaming, so that's what other companies will move toward. Sure, there are a always a few people with your mindset, but you are in a tiny niche compared to the masses out there who want to play Zynga games.

Well then I won't be buying your games (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 2 years ago | (#41240659)

Look EA, these days my problem isn't a lack of good games, it is a lack of time. I have so damn many games it is insane. There are a lot of companies in gaming and though a lot of crap comes out, a lot of good stuff does as well. So I don't need your games. I want them, but I don't need them.

If you force always online for a game that doesn't need it, or force me to play multi-player in a game where I want a single player experience (like Dragon Age 3) then I just won't buy it. I'll get other games instead.

I don't at all mind multi-player games, I have many. However any good multi-player or single player game almost always is good because they focus on it. If there is stupid shit bolted on that you have to play to play the real game, it will diminish things.

As a good example, compare Battlefiled 3 and Mass Effect 3, both EA games. BF3 has phenomenal multi-player. It is a ton of fun. The single player is crap though, it was clearly bolted on to the game as an afterthought and really shouldn't be there. However, it isn't required so it is fine.

Mass Effect 3 is a single player game, that is what the whole series has been and that is how it is made. However it has some shitty multi-player bolted on. Not RPG multiplayer, just a bad shooter. If you have a real shooter, it is amazing how bad it is comparatively. However worse than that you have to play it to get the "best" ending in the game (I use the term loosely since the ending is garbage). So you bought a game for SP and they want you to have a shit MP experience.

Well lesson learned, I won't be buying a game like that again. I want a game that focuses on what it does well.

A good example of one that does is Tribes Ascend. It is a multi-player shooter. It does have SP, but only in so far as practice levels. You can free roam any map to learn it and practise cop routes, or try out weapon loadouts on a test map against bots that do various things (stand still, walk in lines, jump, etc). They didn't try and put some cheesy SP in the game, it is an MP game, they just put in something to serve the MP better.

Pointy Haired Boss (2)

Riddler Sensei (979333) | about 2 years ago | (#41240701)

This somewhat tangentially reminds me of the Onion's jab on HP and the cloud [theonion.com] . That is, it sounds like Gibeau wants to move the company blindly in a direction and he barely even understands why. Being able to slap "online multiplayer" on the box was a cool thing...ten years ago. After many successes and many failures of applying online multiplayer to different types of games I think we these days have the information to apply it judicially. Some games benefit, others don't. Requiring online multiplayer takes out a HUGE chunk of your potential content, and thus customers. Either that or it bogs down what would otherwise be an excellent game with onerous multiplayer development and support.

Rural Gamers (4, Interesting)

Nexion (1064) | about 2 years ago | (#41240737)

I miss solo games. I purchased Diablo once I finally had a high speed internet connection (because dealing with logging in over satellite would have sucked). Yup, PAID for it. No desire to go multiplayer and my inability to play it up at the ranch prevented my initial purchase. Sad too... there isn't much to do in places where your best option for internet is satellite. Seems like the area, while sparsely populated, should be a great market for game studios. Downloading a multi gigabyte torrent is unthinkable over satellite. Thing is... it would require game makers take the time to publish DVDs that don't have a hundred outstanding bug fixes that would require a multi gigabyte download. So, no games for you rural world! Fear of piracy and complacency in QA pretty much make studios incapable of serving you.

I do so love my apartment in the city. A shorter commute and the joy of broadband.

and that's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41240749)

and that's why all their current and future games will blow!
i just want a bloody off-line Star Wars of The Old republic and a fucking offline Dragon Age WITHOUT ANY BLOODY DLC I MUST BLOODY FUCKING PAY MORE FOR!
FUCK YOU!

Re:and that's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41240959)

Umm, if you don't want DLC, then... don't buy it? Is that hard? Is someone holding a gun to your head and making you whip out a credit card and buy DLC?

I appreciate the savings (4, Interesting)

dltaylor (7510) | about 2 years ago | (#41240841)

I really like that the industry no longer wants to sell me games; I've saved hundreds of dollars not buying must-be-connected-to-the-internet games, and a couple of thousand not upgrading my PC to run them.

The difference has gone into an exploration of finer Scotch and Irish whiskies that would otherwise have been out-of-budget.

Re:I appreciate the savings (2)

Pesticidal (1148911) | about 2 years ago | (#41241829)

I feel the same way these days. I would say however the industry stopped selling games the moment they started leasing them with limited installs and always-on internet. At least consoles are for the moment free of these shenanigans, although things like OnLive are a publisher's wet dream and once this becomes common place I'm just going to have to opt out all together.

Myself, I've been rediscovering boardgames and TCGs to fill the PC gaming void together with the odd indie game.

Thank goodness for Ubisoft??? (1)

turp182 (1020263) | about 2 years ago | (#41240859)

I'm confused and don't play games online. Medal of Honor games are fun for a few hours though.

All multi-player has a "moron" issue (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 2 years ago | (#41240881)

For a a (longer or shorter) while, multi-player may be fun, but at some point I have always run into too many morons eventually. In a real MMORPG you can at least limit exposure by finding a guild, but in all the others, you can just forget about it. People that do not understand basic game-play but tell everybody what to do, cheaters, etc. Hence, my interest in these games is basically zero.

That said, besides MMORPGs, all my best gaming memories are single player games. If EA does not want my money, fine. I spend actually quite a bit on gaming, as I have given up TV a long time ago, but I refuse to have my time wasted or spent non-fun. This also pretty much rules out a lot of F2P titles.

Actual Data? (0)

jythie (914043) | about 2 years ago | (#41240923)

I wonder if he is pulling this 'consumers demand online play' from actual market data.. or listening to people inside the company that are bais towards it.

Last I heard, and this is years out of date, on-line play still makes up the minority of actual game time (and players) but makes up the majority of forum posters and developers... so companies often get a skewed view of the market and over-focus on them.

Why would I buy another EA game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41240947)

Never buying another EA game because of the ridiculous battlefield "crash to desktop with no warning/error message" bug that was never resolved through several releases.

Thats ok (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41240987)

Cause I won't be buying any EA games in the future anyway.

I just want to play not deal with EAs origin spy shit.

How will this affect the troops? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41241019)

I used to be overseas in one of the several combat areas. Well, there were several at the time. Some which weren't too mainstream. After a hard days' work (multiple days) I enjoyed downtime with computer games. It really sucked when steam wanted to connect to verify my identity (only happened a few times) or I bought a game from the exchange only to find that I needed an internet connection to register, or otherwise, when I didn't have any at my part of the base. This is where the seeds of my hatred for online-only games began. I saw it as a direct insult. Why can't games be played right out of the package? Why require an online component? It's DRM without calling it DRM, and it's ignorance to the fact that there are people out there that don't have internet connections available to them, or don't want connections. ~So, let's marginalize the troops.~ "F" EA!

EA is trying to survive (1)

Matthew Weigel (888) | about 2 years ago | (#41241071)

It sure is terrible that EA is trying hard not to go down the tubes. The cost of modern games is enormous, a lot of them never even recoup their losses, and yes EA is trying to eke out every penny from games that do succeed. That way, they can be in business one more year.

Re:EA is trying to survive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41241215)

EA going down the tubes? It's too bad they couldn't just disconnect them!

Games don't need to be so expensive. If you get a small creative team and have an engine, you can create a great game for cheap. If you try to build every title bigger, and have every feature that any other title has (eg. internets), then the teams get huge and individuals' productivity drops on average and a huge portion of the money goes toward making it like what came before, with less devoted to making anything new.

Re:EA is trying to survive (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41241759)

If EA wants more money from their games, they should listen to their customers instead of forcing misfeatures on them.

makes sense for profit, at least (1)

ffflala (793437) | about 2 years ago | (#41241113)

EA seems to focus its creativity into innovating new and increasingly subtle ways to nickel and dime players. You really have to hand it to them, that is one area where they shine.

It's not just in multiple levels of payment options for new content or in enhanced gameplay. They've taken it to the level of the psychological effect that branding has to mask the sensation that they're sucking money out of your pockets. Pick any game in the "Play4Free" universe, and see just how far you can actually get "playing" for "free". Then reflect on the choice of name: Play4Free. Why imply that a nonfree service is free? Maybe research showed that this kind of branding gave people less sense of how much money they were actually spending. It certainly strikes me as something straight from the late night infomercial school of salesmanship.

If you look at if from their perspective, they continue to do an impressive. It's just that their theory of game design is obviously not that they should necessarily create enjoyable, entertaining, engaging games, but rather to design games that extract as much money per player as possible. Enjoyment, entertainment, playability: these are all simply tools to be used to that end.

Sims Mideival has no multiplayer component (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#41241117)

I bought Sims Medieval just last year, not long after it was released. It has absolutely no multiplayer component that i am aware of.

Out of Touch... Big Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41241201)

EA's executives are morons. Only multiplayer? Way to cut your possible audience in half!

From comments about charging $1 to reload a weapon in BF3 (yes they actual said it), to shrugging off the "Worst Company In America" title they just won it is clear the execs are either on the coke or too concerned with $$$ than actual quality and consumer retention. Which, by the way, is what creates economic stability for a company. A happy customer buys, an unhappy one doesn't and tells theirs friends. Nice going EA!

BF3 was released in a shitty state in order to beat MW3 to market. 6 months after release you can buy BF3 for $29.95. Activision brought out COD:Elite, EA immediately copied it with Premium. 3 months after that you can get the Game + the Premium and ALL DLC for the price I paid for the original game. Slap in the face to launch date consumers, and more proof EA is on the rock, that if we want Premium we pay the FULL price, even though we've already got the game. Pretty soon it will be cheaper for me to buy that package combo instead of just getting Premium on its own.

Oh well, their asses will be handed to them by the shareholders as the sales continue to decline. Even the lemmings who think EA is good in anyway can't keep them afloat under that kind of management.

EA multiplayer games are doozys. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41241329)

Assassins creed brotherhood's multi player consists of "searching for abstergo agents" for about 4 hours or so... Fear 3 does not work on multi player either as no one is on... Screw EA's multiplayer.

Get real, folks (1)

Pausanias (681077) | about 2 years ago | (#41241345)

Your boycotting EA is not going to change the fact that the always-connected DRM model is going to be significantly more financially successful than the securerom one.

Put all the code on the servers, ship only the art, watch the money flow in. That is what Blizzard taught everyone.

Diablo 3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41241421)

After playing Diablo 3 I can honestly say that I will NEVER buy another 'single player' game that requires me to be online. I absolutely hate it. If I want to play a game unconnected than I should be able to.

All About "Monetizing" and Anti-Piracy (1)

Aereus (1042228) | about 2 years ago | (#41241595)

Simcity isn't going multiplayer because it's "better for gameplay and the consumer" -- it's FORCING online play to attempt to pad EA's wallet with microtransactions. And on another front -- most likely putting some of the game logic on the server side only, much the same way that Diablo3 only has art assets and the engine on your PC, and the rest is all done on the server side.

If they really felt multiplayer was best, they would give you the OPTION to go online, or the OPTION to use the global commodity market online, and let the features and word of mouth speak for themselves in getting people to use them. This kind of heavyhanded design work can only be explained by greed.

Exactly (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | about 2 years ago | (#41241723)

This is the exact reason I haven't bought an EA game since Dragon Age: Origins.

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