Microsoft's Shannon Loftis says single-player games have complicated economics now

However, are single-player experiences really dying? We don't think so but according to Shannon Loftis, the general manager of Microsoft's Global Games Publishing, their economics have become "complicated." Speaking with GameSpot, Loftis said that quality single-player titles come with a high price tag. She added:

I don't think that it's dead per se. I do think the economics of taking a single-player game and telling a very high fidelity multi-hour story get a little more complicated. Gamers want higher fidelity and they want higher resolution graphics.

Delivering these high-quality experiences increases the production budget and publishers may be afraid of putting so much money into a single-player project when the returns aren't guaranteed. What if the game wasn't received well by the audience? What if it got poor reviews which further impacted sales? All of these are factors that play a major role when developers and publishers decide to fund games.

Single-player games have limited revenue streams because you can't really add microtransactions or charge for expansions the way a series like Call of Duty does. Multiplayer titles just have more potential revenue streams beyond the initial purchase made by a consumer.

Games like Assassin's Creed Origins and Middle-earth: Shadow of War have received some flak for the way they incorporate loot crates into single-player games despite the fact that they aren't necessary to the experience. It seems like with growing budgets, developers need a way to make sure that their titles are profitable and this is a new norm.

When it comes to single-player titles, gamers have to realize that "AAA" ones will probably become more frequent and contain microtransactions. It's the only way developers can guaranteed that they'll make sufficient returns on their investment. As Loftis said, the "complicated" economics will lead to new models to fund such titles. Single-player games aren't dying, but they are changing.

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Asher Madan

Asher Madan handles gaming news for Windows Central. Before joining Windows Central in 2017, Asher worked for a number of different gaming outlets. He has a background in medical science and is passionate about all forms of entertainment, cooking, and antiquing.