Strauss Zelnick, the CEO of Take-Two Interactive, thinks that any doomsaying about single-player games is at best premature.
Speaking to VentureBeat, Zelnick was asked about the upcoming release of Red Dead Redemption 2 and if the perception of single-player, narrative games being less profitable overall was accurate.
“There are people saying that a game won’t work if it’s not a free-to-play battle royale,” Zelnick explained. “People really are saying that, and not even tongue-in-cheek. I don’t buy that. Single-player, in my opinion, is not dead, not even close. Companies that feel like they’ll just avoid the hard work of building a story and characters and go right to where the money is in multiplayer, I don’t think that’s going to work. I’d be surprised.”
Zelnick points out that, while a big reason for Grand Theft Auto V’s monstrous success is its multiplayer mode GTA Online, it points to players wanting single-player games because they want that single-player campaign alongside the multiplayer.
Zelnick’s right, but I would probably argue that the perception of single-players games being gone is itself outdated. It is hard for anyone to argue that when there have been multiple major single-player only titles to sell millions and millions of copies in the last few years. Anyone who is still doing that is assuming that, if a game does not sell fifty million copies and generate revenue for years, it’s not worth selling.