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Valve: Not Every Product Needs To Offer Multiplayer

We are often concerned about the multiplayer explosion, and the negative impact it seems to be having on single-player experiences.

But Valve Software, a company known for both excellent single-player experiences and being a pioneer in the multiplayer element of the industry, says we shouldn't worry...even if the single-player fans feel a little stifled. In speaking to Gamasutra, Valve project manager Erik Johnson said that single-player adventures will always be a part of interactive entertainment.

"Half-Life 1 was a really offline product. I think customers want to find ways to talk about the thing that they are a big fan of with other people, and ideally experience it the same way.

That doesn't mean every game needs to be multiplayer. ...I still think the analysis that every product needs to be a competitor in multiplayer, or an MMO, is incorrect; there are a lot of people who want an experience without the stress, so I don't see that changing."

That's an interesting allusion to stress, isn't it? These days, I and many people I know utilize gaming almost strictly as a form of relaxation, and few have much of an interest in multiplayer. It really is stressful, to a point. Kicking back and going through a game on your own, taking on AI-controlled enemies and what-have-you, is a solitary experience; that much is true. But it's also a relaxing, entertaining one.

And although not everyone sees it this way, and multiplayer seems to be dominating just about everything these days, the single-player adventures really can't die. They stop...I stop.

Tags: valve, single-player, games industry, game length

11/9/2010 8:56:27 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (24 posts)

Highlander
Tuesday, November 09, 2010 @ 9:55:07 PM
Reply

I completely agree with you Ben.

I play off-line games for relaxation. Playing online generally leads to frustration, shouting and swearing at the top of my voice at the screen. When that happens my wife frowns and I feel stupid. I don't need that stress, or the stress that the weasels online generate.

So, yeah, single player off-line gaming can never die. If it does, I may have to find another hobby. Perhaps my wife won't mind if I join her collecting dolls? The 2ft tall japanese anime dolls of course...LOL!

So, yeah, single player gaming can never, ever, die.

Agree with this comment 7 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

sunspider13
Tuesday, November 09, 2010 @ 9:56:39 PM
Reply

Don't get me wrong, I like multiplayer for a hand full of certain games. But just being able to kick back, pop in a single-player game and dive into the story is the highlight of my day sometimes.

Being able to go through that experience relaxes me. Watching the 'oh $#!+' moments, figuring out a hard puzzle, or finding that one 'thing' to make you stronger or progress further in the game is a treat.

Long live single-player!

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sunspider13
Tuesday, November 09, 2010 @ 10:00:18 PM

As a matter of fact I'm enjoying my time with Vanquish right now on hard. Ok so the story maybe cliche but good god man, it's like a bullet-hell shmup in third person.

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Highlander
Tuesday, November 09, 2010 @ 10:05:21 PM

Your mention of Vanquish reminded me of something. Amazon has an offer right now that let's you buy two games at $10 off and get a $30 credit on your next purchase. It's a limited selection, but Vanquish is on the list, as is Heavy Rain. The offer is good through Saturday, so if you want a couple of games at $50 a piece with a $30 credit on your next game, check it out. The offer extends to the Wii and 360 as well, so you can mix/match your games and platforms.

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sunspider13
Tuesday, November 09, 2010 @ 10:00:43 PM
Reply

Bah sry for double post.

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CONTRABAND
Tuesday, November 09, 2010 @ 10:01:53 PM
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When i go to drop $60 on a game the first thing i look at is the story, any MP included is just a nice extra.

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Oxvial
Tuesday, November 09, 2010 @ 10:22:00 PM
Reply

I agree with the persons that say online isn't needed , With SSFIV and Blazblue I barely play online I'm okay doing arcade mode and local multiplayer with friends...if I start going online a lot I would be to good for my friends and get bored when they visit me.

So I am disappoint with the Blazblue dlc characters...almost 8 bucks and not arcade or story mode...=( .

Last edited by Oxvial on 11/9/2010 10:24:44 PM

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BikerSaint
Tuesday, November 09, 2010 @ 10:38:05 PM
Reply

Yahhh Gabe, keeping SP mode alive, FTW

HMMMM, ever since Gabe Newell has come over from the Dark Side, the force seems to be shining on him more & more each day.

And in honor of that, I'll be sending him every "buy 1-get 1 free" fast-food coupon I can find for the next 12 months.

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Jawknee
Tuesday, November 09, 2010 @ 11:17:07 PM
Reply

Amen. I just finished God of War III again with the Deimos skin. One of the best games I have ever played.

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Oxvial
Wednesday, November 10, 2010 @ 10:27:27 AM

Thump downer must be envious of Ur Deimos skin xD.

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Jawknee
Wednesday, November 10, 2010 @ 5:15:40 PM

:) That Deimos skin is awesome. The only crappy thing about it is Red orbs hold no value but i figured out away to get them to work. Lets hope Sony Santa Monica doesn't figure out the exploit. Sucks not being able to upgrade the Blades of Exile. So far those are my favorite Blades. Grapple Combat is the best.

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Snaaaake
Tuesday, November 09, 2010 @ 11:17:08 PM
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So true!!!

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___________
Wednesday, November 10, 2010 @ 12:25:24 AM
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thats how it should be, but thats not how it is.
games should not have to add MP, but sadly allot of people refuse to buy games if they dont have MP, no matter how long the game is.
why do you think some of gamings biggest series, GTA, dead space,resident evil, assassins creed, which use to be SP only have changed?

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Scarecrow
Wednesday, November 10, 2010 @ 12:29:52 AM
Reply

It's good to turn off the "auto-sign" option.

It gives you the kind of freedom many of us have lost.

When we turn on our consoles we're automatically signed in and see other players signed in. We kinda feel obliged to join them or play some kind of multiplayer game.

Not being signed in to the network is great. It gives you the option to go for something else offline. Less pressure/influence.

And for once I agree with Valve, multiplayer is good and all but not all games need or should have multiplayer.

Agree with this comment 4 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Highlander
Wednesday, November 10, 2010 @ 3:12:40 PM

That's a nice idea. I may have to do that. Don't forget that you can also modify your status even if you are online so people won't bug you.

It's as bad as facebook. My wife was telling me one of her friends got all hurt 'n stuff because she hadn't replied to her facebook status. My wife's point of view was "And...?". But I hate that about the always on world. People think that you can be contacted any time and that you *have* to respond or else you hate them. I tell all my friends that I don't check my email or voicemail regularly so if they don't get a response within 5 minutes they should not spam my message box or get all annoyed, they just have to show some patience.

Last edited by Highlander on 11/10/2010 3:16:11 PM

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Lawless SXE
Wednesday, November 10, 2010 @ 12:52:52 AM
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Damn straight. Of course there will always be people that stick almost exclusively to the multiplayer market, because that is how they get their kicks. From beating random people on the internet. Some of like little more than overcoming an obstacle that has been intentionally set in our paths.

The two markets can co-exist.
Peace.

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Akuma07
Wednesday, November 10, 2010 @ 3:37:44 AM
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Dear Valve.

In the past year you have restored a little lost faith in you, and the fat controller AKA Gabe Newell.

It is cool that you are so focused on single player experiences, because thats what us hardcore gamers want.

But for the love of god, can you PLEASE hurry up and give me Half-Life2 Ep 3, either that, or just release a direct sequel. Please.... Its been years since I have taken my crowbar to the skull of the Combine.

Kind regards,
An old fan.

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JackC8
Wednesday, November 10, 2010 @ 6:44:58 AM
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I've just never understood the appeal of beating other people online. Does that actually boost people's self esteem or something? I don't get it. And it's the most repetitive thing in the entire world. Once you're familiar with a map it's just the same thing over and over and over.

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Highlander
Wednesday, November 10, 2010 @ 3:17:37 PM

Yep, it does, as does beating someone and then tea-bagging them or cussing them out anonymously.

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A2K78
Wednesday, November 10, 2010 @ 9:21:02 AM
Reply

even though multiplayer is good, the single-player experience has always been a critical part of gaming, and thats because not every game cannot be multiplayer.

"I've just never understood the appeal of beating other people online.'

the appeal of trying to beat others online is just another attempt at mimmicking the arcade scene and it social atomosphere. Truth is online WILL NEVER duplicate or ever come close to ever replicating that atomsphere. Its for this reason why all of these online fighting games end up failing when it come to the experience..they cannot replicate the notion of being there(as in the social nature of fighting games).

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Highlander
Wednesday, November 10, 2010 @ 3:19:00 PM

"Truth is online WILL NEVER duplicate or ever come close to ever replicating that atomsphere. Its for this reason why all of these online fighting games end up failing when it come to the experience..they cannot replicate the notion of being there(as in the social nature of fighting games). "

QFT - Quoted For Truth.

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556pineapple
Wednesday, November 10, 2010 @ 9:53:39 AM
Reply

Honestly, I'm not a huge multiplayer fan. Online, anyway. I still enjoy playing a game split-screen with other friends in the room, but online play just doesn't usually appeal to me. I got GTA IV the day it came out, and I still haven't played it online.

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eLLeJuss
Wednesday, November 10, 2010 @ 10:57:22 AM
Reply

Cough *AC Brotherhood* Cough.......

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animalmother
Friday, November 12, 2010 @ 9:10:11 AM
Reply

Screw this idea....i want a counterstrike kind of game. Newell gave me hope and im sticking to it.

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