Blizzard Says Single-Player Games are Endangered Species

In a recent interview with Games Industry, Blizzard’s Chief Creative Officer Rob Pardo agreed that the traditional, big-budget single-player game is an endangered species. He said that between piracy and the ability for consumers to rent games, it’s now extremely difficult for publishers to dump millions of dollars into a single player game and not see the financial return they need to make the investment realistic.

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Rob Pardo has been producing and designing games since 1994, when he worked at Interplay Productions. His most well-known work dates from 1997 and beyond, when he began working at Blizzard Entertainment. Pardo was also lead designer of World of Warcraft expansions Wrath of the Lich King and Burning Crusade, as well as Starcraft: Brood War. He’s also worked on Diablo II and Diablo III, and Warcraft III. He’s now Chief Creative Officer at Blizzard Entertainment.

Pardo’s work has had a huge impact on Blizzard’s revenues, and therefore Activision’s revenues. World of Warcraft contributes, according to analyst estimates, about 25 per cent of Activision’s revenues every year and about 50 per cent of its profits – that’s over $1 billion in annual revenue since 2008 (with a very high profit margin). The game is also a cultural phenomenon, with nearly 10 million players forming a very active community, with toys and other licensed gear, mentions on TV shows, and a long-planned feature film.

GamesIndustry International caught up with Rob Pardo after the introduction of the latest World of Warcraft expansion, Mists of Pandaria.


Some of the future is just defined by the games we make. If you look at which consoles are the most successful, it’s driven as much by the games that are on it as by what the console had in it. Which is why console creators usually spend so much time either themselves creating great games, like Nintendo I think does. Sony and Microsoft really try to get great first-party developers because the software is ultimately what drives the industry. Everyone’s always looking at what’s the next technological innovation that’s going to allow for the next games, but most of the times it’s games that drive the technological innovation. For years and years, people would buy stronger graphics cards because of the games that were coming out. That’s what drove it.

That’s where I think the game designers come in, because they’re going to make some great game experience, some new genre we hadn’t thought of before. That’s going to drive some technological innovation and and suddenly everyone’s going to make those types of games. You’ve seen it with MMO’s, you’ve seen it with shooters. That’s why it’s impossible to predict, because I don’t know which of the great game makers out there or some kid I’ve never heard of is going to make the next big thing that’s going to drive a bunch of new ideas.

It’s really a nice interview worth reading. Check the full interview at the link below and let us know what do you think about Rob’s statement.



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