Shannon Loftis, the head of first-party publishing for Xbox, said that Xbox Games Pass can help to fund single-player games in the future.
Speaking to Gamespot, Loftis said, “Game development in general is about a couple of things. It’s about delivering an experience and it’s about telling stories. Storytelling is as central to game development as it ever has been.”
Whilst this may sound obvious, the economics of bringing single-player games, especially big budget releases, has recently been called into question. With EA’s closure of Visceral Games, the developer behind a now-cancelled single-player Star Wars game (codenamed project Ragtag), a lot of questions were raised.
It’s an understandable question: with huge sums of money going into AAA games, does it make sense to develop an experience with a rigid shelf-life – as opposed to one that keeps pulling money in online?
Loftis spoke about the economics of single-player game development:
“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.”
The Xbox Games Pass service is Microsoft’s equivalent to Sony’s PlayStation Now – a Netflix-style games on demand service – but with the capability of actually downloading games.
Loftis said that the service, which will run you £7.99 a month, “gives us the opportunity to potentially fund games like that.”
It’s an interesting point, and certainly Microsoft has struggled this generation in producing large single-player games to compete with Sony, and even now Nintendo’s output.