Microsoft appears to be one of the only major first party publisher this generation that is alienating itself from single-player games. They have released 2 major exclusives so far this year with both State of Decay 2 and Sea of Thieves featuring multiplayer focused campaign and online content driven experience. It seems like the focus of Microsoft is slowly shifting to these type of games instead of single-player first party exclusives.
MCV recently interviewed Head of Microsoft Studios, Matt Booty and he shared their insight on the future of the first party games and how they see the current market trends for them.
“There will always be single-player games with maybe 20 to 30 hours of gameplay, we love those kinds of games and there’s a place for those, but it’s also certainly the case with the focus on watching, streaming, broadcast and esports that it’s really important to think about the longevity of a game,” Booty explains.
“It’s really difficult for anybody to think about making a large scale triple-A game these days without having in mind a content and service plan that goes one to two years into the future out of the gate.”
“Games really have become much more social, much more mainstream, much more widespread. We know that the games industry is growing, and that’s taking nothing away from what you call the ‘single-player, narrative, cinematic game’ but we see a lot of interest from our players in more community-driven ongoing franchises. I think that is in alignment with a lot of the trends we see in gaming overall.”
“With games being as large as they are, with the move to games as an ongoing service…It is difficult to pivot quickly and try to chase after trends that might happen even on the scale of a year. In business terms a year can be a long time, but development time being three to four years these days, that’s the span we need to think about.”
“We’ve got to get our strategic long-term bets, our game development cycles and the things our players like to do in sync. And that will set us up for success”.
The comments made by Matt Booty seems to echo a growing concern among the Xbox fans who want to see more single-player narrative driven games. Sony and Nintendo are both well known for their first party output which is mainly focused on creating such games while Microsoft seems to look more at the potential of their products in the future. This doesn’t mean they will stop doing single-player games altogether, however it is hard to see them releasing a purely single-player experience without any sort of multiplayer interactivity integrated into it.