PlayStation Single-Player Games are “Thriving,” Users Spend More Time Offline Than Online


Single-player games are dying! We’ve been hearing that old chestnut for years, and yet, Sony’s own data says that isn’t the case at all. This information comes from confidential documents obtained by Vice Games, which were originally distributed to developers in late 2019. According to Sony, “single player is thriving” and in fact, most people spend more time playing offline games than online, which certainly flies in the face of the notion that all anyone cares about anymore is Fortnite and Call of Duty.

Interestingly, the Sony documents also reveal a number of the PlayStation 5’s new UI features, specifically Activity Cards and Game Help, were purposefully designed to make single-player games easier to get into. Sony found one of the main things keeping players from engaging with single-player games was not knowing how much time they’d need to achieve something in a game, and thus Activity Cards and Game Help were designed to make it easy to get up to speed quickly…

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In an ideal world, every player has the time to spend hours per day, every day, playing [single-player] games. In reality, most people have jobs. Or kids. Or school. Or all of the above. Often, free time comes wedged between other obligations. An hour before bed. A 30-minute break between homework assignments.

In a busy world, that time [to play] might not come for a while. When they finally do find a spare hour, they've forgotten where they were, and what they were doing. Then what? We can change “Should I start playing?” to “Which part should I start playing?” The options are there. The choices are clear. The game is calling. Pick up that controller. It's time to play.

As someone who’s more of a solo gamer himself, it’s definitely heartening to see PlayStation doubling down on single-player experiences like this. I’ll admit, I’ve already found myself using the Activity Cards to hop into Spider-Man: Miles Morales quickly – they won’t be for every game, but for certain mission-heavy games, they can be a godsend.

What are your thoughts on all this? Are you more of a solo of multiplayer gamer? What could Sony and other console makers do the better support single-player games?