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In Memoriam: Good Bye, Offline

by Ernice Gilbert on May 4th, 2011, under Gaming, Hot, Opinion Piece

Many a gamer might disagree with me, but offline gameplay is nearing its end.

I’ve been gaming since I’ve known life; from the very first gaming systems, to where we are now, I’ve been gaming’s biggest fan. And for most of my years, and yours too, offline, or single-player gameplay was what we knew. Whether in was Streets Of Rage on Sega Genesis, Super Mario Bros. on SNES or Metal Gear Solid on PlayStation, playing by ourselves, most of the time, was what we knew and enjoyed. But when Xbox introduced Xbox Live, a massive exodus began. Suddenly gamers were leaving alone the single-player experience and joining friends from all over the world to play their favorite games. The movement grew even greater when the Xbox 360 and PS3 were introduced, and now the number of gamers who are no longer overly concerned with single-player gaming has arrived to almost half the industry’s install base; maybe even more.

Take for example Killzone 2, how many people who bought the game actually completed it? Not many. They basically bought the game, played it for a bit, and immediately jumped online. Same thing with Call of Duty and many other great titles.

But the full story has only now been brought to life in wake of the PlayStation Network hack. The service has been offline for two weeks, and quite honestly, my PlayStation has been mostly, well, off. Yes the occasional Uncharted 2 carried my attention away from other things, but for the most part the console’s been sitting idly looking pretty. Nowadays gamers expect online support of some kind when purchasing their favorite titles, and developers are doing a great job at fulfilling that need. Almost every game has a multiplayer component because it not only adds value to the product, but DLC dollars for publishers.

In essence, mutiplayer is the future.

And while single-player is here to stay, its appeal is dying…You play a game’s story mode once, for a few hours, and then move onto the multiplayer where you spend hundreds, even thousands of hours playing that same game’s multiplayer for months, and even years… We need single-player and that’s fact. The industry needs to grow and making games that are more interactive and cinematic, cry out for single-player because it is there those aspects can be showcased. But if multiplayer did not exist, games would be like movies we buy, watch, and then shelve.

Why I’m I so desperate for PSN to come back online? And why do you feel the same way? It’s because we’ve been introduced to something addictive and full of life. You feel “connected” to the friends on your friends list. Suddenly you have buddies from all over the world. Tournaments are held, email addresses are exchanged – even phone numbers, sometimes. It’s like a massive Church where games are the books to follow. A house full of strangers yet, somehow, they all get along. Gaming online has become gaming itself, an indelible part of the entire experience that has taken precedence over the single-player stint.

What’s the next evolution, then? I’m not sure. 3D is here to stay, and so is motion controls, but none of them will come close to matching the broad appeal of online gaming. Maybe meshed together, in the far-off future, when immersion has touched life-like status, another exodus will happen. And even if it does, the online connections that manage to bring us together will still be the new technology’s lifeblood. It’s here to stay. The final chapter, then.

PSN is yet offline around these parts, and with my wife off to Church I’m feeling somewhat lonely. If the service was up I’d probably be killing some ISA scum in Killzone 3, helping some teammates in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, creating some levels in LittleBigPlanet 2 while enjoying the creation of others. Or coding some “friendships” in Mortal Kombat with some friends. I’d definitely feel more “connected”.

Like everything else Sony and the PlayStation network will rise again, and when it’s back on, this article, too, will be in memoriam; because you’ll be extremely busing getting your game on.


  1. Thu, 5th May 2011 at 4:44 am

    offlines not going anywhere!
    theres still developers out there that appreciate the campaign and storys so untill every single game gets MP its not going anywhere!
    theres just some things you simply cant do online!

  2. Thu, 5th May 2011 at 5:38 am

    If you read the whole thing, you’d realize I concluded the same….It is, however, becoming less relevant.

  3. Thu, 5th May 2011 at 9:45 am

    ahhhhhh, that was kinda my point.
    thats what i cant understand about gamers today.
    they bitch and whine that campaigns are too short, or not very good, but then everytime i ask someone if they had finished a certain game they say nope ive been on the MP since release.
    ive got over 50 people on my friends list if i remember right, on any night i normally have around 20 on and im lucky if i see 2 playing SP instead of MP.
    devs are just reacting to the crowd.
    they see allot of people skipping the SP just for the MP, so thats where they put most of there time and resources on.
    tis why were seeing allot more MMOs then we use to, and tis why almost every game which use to be SP only now has some sort of online component.

  4. Thu, 5th May 2011 at 9:58 am

    Yes indeed. Great points.

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