In fact the "traditional single-player" experience will be "gone in three years." 2014 is the solitary gamers' apocalypse - already seeing it "starting to crumble".
Mark Cerny was speaking at a Sony-organised panel behind closed doors. "I believe the traditional single-player game experience will be gone in three years," he declared.
"Right now you sit in your living room and you're playing a game by yourself – we call it the sp mission or the single-player campaign. In a world with Facebook I just don't think that's going to last." 2009's action RPG Demon's Souls is a prime example of the death knell.
"We're already seeing the wall starting to crumble a bit," he said. "Demon's Souls, even though on one level it's a single-player game, as you're walking through the world you're seeing the ghosts of everybody who died in that world via the internet."
"You can leave messages for them. They can leave messages for you. There's actually a boss you fight in that game which is controlled by another player."
"We're talking five, 10 years out. I believe three years from now, if you aren't doing that, you are being criticised in your reviews for your lack of innovation."
Developers are suffering a unique problem with the shift of focus from single-player only experiences to connected ones. "The funny thing here is, we don't even know what to call this. Is it single-player or is it multiplayer? We don't even have the words," said Cerny.
"It's kind of Orwellian. If you don't have any word for freedom you can't have a revolution. How can you be talking about design when we don't have the words to describe it? Yet, that will be the standard, I believe, in 2014." Hardware will keep on getting connected.
Sony president of Worldwide Studios, Shuhei Yoshida, says this move will keep on gaining momentum as more and more hardware gets greater connectivity.
"I believe almost every electronics device will be connected," Yoshida said.
"It's going to be very natural to have the social connectivity behind your game. So, whether or not it's a real-time, synchronous, head-to-head game or traditional single-player game, you could be connected to the world."
Cerny concluded: "A game without the presence of other players in it – you go out three or five years, I believe that is unthinkable given how connected we're becoming."
Will all single-player games be at least connected to some form of network by 2014? Does it bother you that solo games want to communicate something out to the world?
"Traditional single-player" won't last in "a world with Facebook"
17 August 2011 | By Simon Priest