There's been a lot of talk about what the future holds for the video game industry and how games will be distributed in the coming years. Mobile gaming is becoming more popular, and retail games are starting to become more readily available through online stores.
Free-to-play gaming is another avenue that's currently being explored by a few developers. One staunch believer in the genre is Germany-based Crytek, and the studio has recently declared its eggs are firmly nestled in that particular basket by saying it expects all its games to be free-to-play within five years.
Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli recently spoke to IGN about where he thinks the industry is headed. One area he delved into was single and multiplayer gaming, in which he said the former has to make way for the latter:
I think the notion of a single-player experience has to go away. However, I’m not saying that there will be no single-player experiences… It could be it’s called Connected Single-Player or Online Single-Player instead.
Of course, there are games out there that would fit quite nicely into those descriptions, for example Bungie's latest project Destiny has the player run through a campaign set in an online world; and recently we've seen how Watch_Dogs will incorporate asynchronous multiplayer that occurs at any point during the single player experience.
Yerli believes gaming is shifting towards a more social experience, rather than one that has the gamer play alone:
Online and social can reignite single-player in a new type of context and provide benefits that will make you want to be a part of a connected story-mode rather than a disconnected story-mode. Sure, if the technology forces you to play a traditional single-player game online, that doesn’t make sense but if it’s offering actual benefits to be online then you want to be part of it.
We're already seeing social aspects thrown into Nintendo games, with the Wii U in particular. For example, ZombiU throws your friend's unfortunate zombies into the mix while you're playing, as well as posting up messages across walls and flooring. Miiverse has certainly opened up the social aspect of gaming, it's incorporated into a few titles already - such as Nintendo Land and New Super Mario Bros. U - and though it's hardly integral, it's still there.
Crytek will soon be releasing Warface on PC, which will be fully free-to-play. It will hope to make money by aiming it towards people who frequently purchase the latest instalment of a big title simply for the multiplayer experience. The developer has no Nintendo games that we know of in the pipeline, though it did recently purchase the Homefront franchise from THQ, and already has a game in the works for it.
What do you think of Crytek's reasoning? Do you see a future for offline single player games? Let us know what your thoughts are on the matter in the comments section below.