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Stick or Twitch? How streaming is hurting single-player games

Stick or Twitch? How streaming is hurting single-player games

June 20, 2018 | By Chris Kerr

June 20, 2018 | By Chris Kerr
More: Design, Production, E3

The apparent demise of single-player games is the latest zeitgeist to grip the games industry, with many suggesting the rise of the games-as-a-service model will ultimately spell the end for lone wolf narrative experiences. 

Speaking to IGN, however, some devs and industry figures have suggested that general shift towards multiplayer offerings is being driven by another, less-discussed factor: streaming. 

One of the folks quizzed by IGN, Vlambeer co-founder Rami Ismail, believes the emergence and immense popularity of streaming and video platforms like Twitch and YouTube has changed how studios think about development and marketing. 

"One of the most under-discussed effects of Twitch, YouTube, Let's Play -- the whole content creator ecosystem -- on the games industry is how the marketing impact of those platforms has affected what kind of games developers make," offered Ismail. 

"Why would any major studio outside of a first party trying to sell consoles, or a studio with a reputation for single-player games, bother with an immersive, single-player campaign?"

It's a fair point. Unless you're a major player, or have the backing of a Sony or Microsoft, why would you cut yourself off from the marketing power offered by content creators and their respective platforms?

Now, that doesn't mean it's the end of the line for single player games. The God of Wars and Horizon Zero Dawns of the world will likely persist. But outside of that select bubble, Ismail believes we might see a shift towards streamlined single-player offerings with a focus on more unpredictable, streamer-friendly features like sandbox worlds and procedural content.

As it stands, then, it seems the overriding message is evolution rather than extinction. To hear more industry figures weigh in on the debate, be sure to check out the full article over on IGN.

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