The CEO of social gaming company Gogogic says that games are naturally meant to be played with others.
Reykjavik-based Gogogic specializes in casual and social gaming, so it does have a certain bias about how people play games, but even so these comments by CEO Jonan Antonsson are a little extreme. In a recent interview, he effectively dismissed single-player gaming, saying that while there's a "strong audience for hard and unrelenting games" like Demon's Souls, games are meant first and foremost to be played with others.
"The single player mechanic is a gimmick - games are meant to be played with others and it doesn't matter if it's in-person or online," Antonsson said. "The first games were designed as multiplayer experiences, but when computer and console games became a thing there was a need to construct an antagonist and/or a protagonist for commercial purposes. You couldn't depend on people coming together to have a synchronous experience over a game. That would have simply stifled sales. And since there was no reasonable way to connect people in other ways - the arcade was the only serious attempt - it became an industry need to project the game as the other player."
"Playing a game is a multiplayer activity and can easily be seen as such when you watch young toddlers play by themselves," he added. "They invent someone to play with, someone that they talk to and interact with."
I can see where he's coming from - historically, especially as children, people have played with others - but videogames have changed the definition of "play." You don't read multiplayer books, after all, and listening to music or watching television isn't an inherently social activity either. Antonsson hedged his bet somewhat by stating that even something as simple as a high score list is enough to make a game social and "transform it to an asynchronous multiplayer experience," but he then went on to restate his belief that single-player experiences are becoming largely irrelevant to anyone outside a very niche audience.
"Now we can connect people in and around a game through real time PvP and PvE mechanics and the need for pure single player games had gone down. We have multiple plots and stories and build the meta-experience for the entire audience. The premise for making games has changed - reverted back to building multiplayer experiences that are true to the game form," he said. "This doesn't mean that we have run out of room when it comes to great single-player titles or games that make you sweat and curse every couple of minutes. It means that those titles have to be very appealing and cater well to the hardcore audience."
Source: the [a]list daily