Mass Effect 3, Bioshock 2, Dead Space 2… what is the thing that all these have in common? They’re all AAA titles, yes, but they’re also all (mostly) Singleplayer titles. Until those games, actually. All three of those games added in a Multiplayer mode, and while Mass Effect 3 isn’t here yet, the track record for the quality of the Multiplayer isn’t looking very good. Dead Space 2 and Bioshock 2 were great games, but in a way the Multiplayer felt tacked on. Unlike a game like Modern Warfare 3, Halo: Reach, or Battlefield 3, the main focus in these games was the Singleplayer, and their original titles didn’t even have a Multiplayer mode. So, why include it in the sequel?
Well, if you read my earlier article “Are Singleplayer Games Viable?”, in the case of Dead Space 2, you’ll quickly find that a reason for the Multiplayer could be the massive number of used games sales that Dead Space the original suffered from. Approximately twice as many people played Dead Space as purchased it, and not because of piracy – because of used game sales. Including a Multiplayer mode with an online pass is just one of the many ways to combat this.
Bioshock 2 and Mass Effect 3 could just be additions to the series because of fan demand. That’s another trend in the videogame industry these days – people want Multiplayer modes, even in games that might not be very well suited to it. It’s completely understandable, of course. Multiplayer gives any game a whole other life cycle, after you’ve finished the campaign. If you took the average Modern Warfare 3 player’s game time and subtracted all the Multiplayer (leaving only Spec Ops and Campaign) you’d probably get a very, very small number – for many, you’d probably get zero.
It is, or at least used to be, the case that whenever a game came out that was only Multiplayer, people would complain and worry over the fact that people without an online connection had no way or reason to play the game. With more and more people having easy access to internet, even wireless internet, is it possible that we’ll start to see a shift? It certainly seems like games that are only Singleplayer are starting to die out. More and more games like Borderlands are even specifically Co-Op focused, even offline, and games that are largely FPS and Multiplayer focused are currently dominating the market completely. Not to mention World of Warcraft’s stranglehold on the PC market.
It’s possible that soon we’ll see the dying out of Singleplayer games. With so much to gain from both a developer and a consumer perspective, Multiplayer modes could very well be infiltrating all series soon. Hopefully, developers are smart and don’t just throw in a mode with little entertainment or value to it just to justify a consumer purchasing the game new as compared to used a few months later for a major discount.