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40% of Command & Conquer players go online

But EALA boss Sean Decker doesn't believe multiplayer is right for everybody

Around 40 per cent of gamers playing the last Command & Conquer game went online for a multiplayer experience, but while the team at EALA is working to motivate a higher proportion to do so in the forthcoming Command & Conquer 4, it'll never hit complete saturation.

That's according to the studio's head, Sean Decker, who told GamesIndustry.biz that while online experiences had become more compelling over the years, there would always be a section of the player base that just wanted to play solo.

"Right now the majority of our players play single player, but when they're done with the game about 40 per cent go on and play online," he said. "So I think you need to respect both of those - and first-person shooters have the same thing. The vast majority of people would finish the campaign, and then about 40 per cent of players would go online."

While he admitted that consoles still had some work to do with respect to the real-time strategy genre, he praised them for making multi-player accessible and popular.

"The consoles have done a great job of online... Xbox Live, you can collect everything you've ever done, and it's super-easy to connect - just give us your line and your accounts and go from there. We need to get to that level of accessibility for people [on the PC] and find more reasons for people to play.

"When you think about the reasons people play, there are so many - there are very competitive people, there are people who are co-operative and want to play with their friends, there are people who are collectors who want every achievement and award... and everybody has different things to motivate them to go online, and the question is, can you provide what that person wants?

"So far we've provided some of those elements, but not all - and that's what we're going to try and do."

But he was quick to underline that while not everybody wants multi-player, he did think that everybody would eventually play in a connected environment - however that manifested itself.

"I think there are a lot of people who don't like to play games online," he explained. "They want to go home and play for 20 minutes by themselves and just have their own experience - they don't want anybody else interrupting it.

"And then, hey, they've gotta put the kids to bed or whatever else it is. There are a certain number of people who want those experiences, and there are a lot of people who are just there to forget about the day.

"I think trying to get to a place where everybody will play online... But having a connected experience is different, though - if you're playing an MMO but not joining up with everyone else, you're having a connected experience but not really playing with others.

"So, connected experience? Yeah, I think everybody will be having those, and it's a good way for people to go, especially when people want to play at home, work, wherever they want."

The full interview with Sean Decker is available now.

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