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The success of single-player games in 2022 buries a long-standing myth

Despite ongoing PS5 hardware shortages, a few weeks ago God of War Ragnarok became the best-selling PS5 game and the second fastest-selling game of 2022 with 5.1 million copies sold in its first week; Elden Ring – Software’s hard-hitting esoteric action role-playing game – is the best-selling game of the year; and the latest LEGO Star Wars is the third best-selling game of the year.


The overwhelming success of the above makes hugely successful single player games like Horizon 2: Forbidden West (the 6th best selling game of 2022) look like a mere footnote in comparison, but the presence of a relatively new single player IP in a top 10 , which consists exclusively of far more established series, is not to be scoffed at.

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Of the top 10 best-selling games of 2022, half are single-player games, and many of these have broken all sorts of records for their publishers and platforms. Single player games are alive and well. In fact, they’re as commercially healthy as ever.

The health of single-player games makes the idea of ​​this huge category “dying” seem so patently ridiculous that one almost wonders where the idea came from. For that, dear reader, we’d have to go back to the dark days of 2010, when EA Games boss Frank Gibeau said that he and other EA bosses “steered the discussion towards how we’re going to do connected gameplay — be it together.” . operational or multiplayer or online services – unlike fire-and-forget, just boxed goods, single-player, 25 hours – and you’re out. I think the model is ready.”

The main reckoning quest god of war Ragnarok

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Well, some of you might be struggling to stomach Gibeau’s mic-drop moment, in which he concluded by saying that online “is where the innovation and the action happen.”

Suffice it to say that EA has since changed its mind. Gibeau left EA in 2015 and became CEO of mobile gaming publisher Zynga, which brought us “innovative” free-to-play games like FarmVille, FarmVille 2, FarmVille 3, and Game of Thrones Slots Casino. These are undoubtedly hugely successful games (if we only measure the success of games in monetary terms), but if these types of games are “where the action is” for Gibeau, then it’s probably for the best that he mainstream games has left industry. He’s probably perfectly content working with online-only F2P cash games, and players should be glad he’s no longer making big calls regarding beloved single-player series like Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and Dead Space. It’s a win-win situation!

Since then, EA has revived its commitment to single-player games, seemingly following the success of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. They are not only working on a Fallen Order sequel, Survivor, but also on a new game in the Dragon Age series, Dragon Age: Dreadwolf, as well as Dead Space Remake. In the case of Dead Space and Dragon Age, they revive series that have been dormant since 2013 and 2014 respectively.

Star Wars Jedi Survivor Silhouette Looking At Bacta Tank In Ruins
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is a big symbol of EA’s renewed commitment to single player games.

That’s not to say that EA makes these games at the expense of online service games like FIFA, Apex Legends, and all of their sports franchises – it just goes to show that single player and service games can easily coexist without the need for service Items stalled in single player games or vice versa. The thing is, investors and stakeholders are much more reassured by a successful service game than a successful single-player game, for the obvious reason of their long-term financial longevity.

But EA has also seen in recent years that these potentially lucrative service games also come with huge risks. Take Battlefield 2042 for example. According to Steamcharts, fewer people are playing the latest game in the War Shooter series than the previous Battlefield V or even Battlefield 1 from 2016 (best in my opinion) which was fun gigantic Resurgence since they came to Steam and have reached their lowest retail prices ever.

With 2042 now, EA is stuck fixing this fundamentally flawed and reviled game for years to come if they are to maintain any semblance of goodwill from the series’ community. Earlier this year, EA announced that Battlefield 2042 cost them $100 million in revenue, and that’s only likely to increase as they continue to update, maintain, and fix the game, although the majority of sales are already behind it. On the other hand, Apex Legends has raked in billions of dollars, so the gargantuan wins from a successful service game can easily offset the losses from a failed game. The rewards certainly seem to outweigh the risks, and these big investor business minds like that.

It wouldn’t be entirely accurate to say that 2022 was some sort of justification for single-player games because they don’t to need justify. But the seismic success of single-player games this year feels like the final nail in the coffin of a myth that’s plagued the medium for far too long. Granted it’s faded over the years, but even earlier this year we saw some (admittedly disproportionate) excitement over a tweet from EA that took a stab at a single-player game. Hopefully the numbers for 2022 put that kind of thinking to rest for good.

NEXT: Sony doesn’t need Call of Duty — it needs to bring back its own shooters

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