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Are high price tags to blame for the slow demise of single-player-only games? Shadows of the Damned director Massimo Guarini seems to think so. Reflecting on why Grasshopper Manufacture's quirky hell-bent action title failed to set the gaming world on fire, Guarini suggested consumers are reluctant to pay the same for solo titles as they do for multiplayer fare, and that maybe it's time the industry rethinks its retail strategy.
“Single-player-only games are nowhere close to being doomed. The problem rather lies in how they're produced, through which channels they're sold, and at which price points,” Guarini told GameSpot Australia, clarifying, “I can't see in any way a single-player experience being less engaging or interesting because of the absence of multiplayer. Instead, I can definitely see how players who pay 60 or 70 bucks for a game can be quite sensitive to the lack of additional features that can justify their investment.”
Guarini said the industry is stuck in the past when it comes to pricing their goods, only now they have much higher production costs to contend with. Instead of changing perspectives, he noted game makers are instead expending huge amounts of energy on validating the cost, explaining, “We're still struggling to pack games with features, extras, bonuses, achievements, in order to barely justify that price tag, which is given by excessively high development and licensing costs. We must learn our lesson from the huge, epic failure the music industry is still suffering nowadays for not being able to adapt to the digital revolution.”
Price debates aside, Guarini admitted Shadows of the Damned also suffered from a less-than-ideal promotional budget; a result of the game's long and financially draining development cycle. Still, while sales fell shy of the studio's expectations, Guarini said the positive vibes Grasshopper has received from both critics and fans has made up for the dissapointing numbers, adding, “I still receive many messages from fans and gamers all around the world, and it's quite amazing to see how this game has managed to engage people, putting a smile on everybody's face and making everyone feel refreshed. I am very happy about this. As a creator, this is the biggest reward I can get.”
Read the full interview here.
Jul 26, 2011
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