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PS5’s Single-Player Promise Must Succeed for Gaming’s Greater Good

Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:40 PM
William Worrall
Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:40 PM
  • Sony has been the biggest proponent of single-player gaming during this console generation.
  • Head of Sony Worldwide Studios, Herman Hulst, says that will continue going forward with the PS5.
  • We need this strategy to succeed if we want gaming to grow as an art form.

The battle lines are being drawn up for the console war. The Xbox Series X seems to be standing on the lines of game streaming, and subscription services. The PS5… well, we don’t know anything about what the PS5 is doing.

The real burning question is whether or not the PS5 will continue to live up the single-player promise made by the PS4. According to the new head of Sony Worldwide Studios, Herman Hulst, that’s s big yes .

PS5 logo - Website Screenshot
The promise of the PS5 ‘coming soon’ has got many people excited, but there is also a sense of trepidation surrounding the future of single-player gaming. | Source: PlayStation 

The PS5 Might Be The Last-Bastion of Single-Play Gaming

The war between single-player and multiplayer has been raging for quite a while now. For the longest time game companies seemed convinced that you just couldn’t sell a single-player game without a token multiplayer mode attached.

At the start of the last decade, companies like EA claimed that single-player games were finished . Since then, games like God of War and Horizon: Zero Dawn proved them wrong. If Hulst is to be believed, that PS5 will continue to do so.

It’s really down to the PS5 to keep single-player games alive. Sony’s consoles have been the biggest proponent of single-player gaming over the last 5 years. They’ve single-handedly proven that single-player games can still sell well.

Live Service Games Stand in Direct Opposition to Single-Play Games

The biggest opponent to single-player gaming is live service gaming. Games like Destiny 2 and Grand Theft Auto Online are games that are intended to be pretty much eternal and require you to interact with other players. They also usually require you to invest money in micro-payments.

destiny 2 loot box
The likes of Destiny 2 are big on a live-serving gaming model but they’re abandoning microtransactions altogether.| Source: Bungie

While these sorts of games will almost certainly be available on the PS5, they probably won’t be the main draw. For the longest time, Sony has been the place to go for single-player gaming. For the good of gaming as an art form, that really needs to continue.

Live service and multiplayer-only games certainly can advance the art of game development. But, they tend to be designed around driving players towards microtransactions, which isn’t conducive to creating great art. Single-player games meanwhile exist only on how well-made they are, and focus is given over almost entirely to the art of design itself.

If gaming wants to continue to grow, the PS5 needs to successfully double down on single-player games.