The earliest video games, such as
Tennis for Two (1958),
Spacewar! (1962), and
Pong (1972), were symmetrical games designed to be played by two players. Single-player games gained popularity only after this, with early titles such as
Speed Race (1974)
Space Invaders (1978).
The reason for this, according to
Raph Koster, is down to a combination of several factors: increasingly sophisticated computers and interfaces that enabled
cooperative gameplay and story delivery within a gaming framework, coupled with the fact that the majority of early games players had introverted personality types (according to the
Myers-Briggs personality type indicator).
Although the vast majority of modern games incorporate a single-player element either as the core or as one of several game modes, single-player gaming is currently viewed by the
video game industry as peripheral to the future of gaming, with
Electronic Arts vice president
Frank Gibeau stating that he had not approved one game to be developed as a single-player experience.
The question of the financial viability of single-player
AAA games was raised following the closure of
Visceral Games by
Electronic Arts (EA) in October 2017. Visceral had been a studio that established itself on a strong narrative single-player focus with
Dead Space, and had been working on a single-player, linear narrative
Star Wars game at the time of the closure; EA announced following this that they would be taking the game in a different direction, specifically "a broader experience that allows for more variety and player agency".
 Many commentators felt that EA made the change as they did not have confidence that a studio with an AAA-scale budget could produce a viable single-player game based on the popular Star Wars franchise. Alongside this, as well as relatively poor sales of games in the year prior that were principally AAA single-player games (
Resident Evil 7,
Dishonored 2, and
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided) against financially successful multiplayer games and those offer a games-as-a-service model (
Destiny 2, and
Star Wars Battlefront 2), were indicators to many that the single-player model for AAA was waning.
 Manveer Heir, who had left EA after finishing his gameplay design work for
Mass Effect Andromeda, acknowledged that the culture within EA was against the development of single-player games, and with Visceral's closure, "that the linear single-player triple-A game at EA is dead for the time being".
Bethesda in December 7 2017, decided to collaborate with
Lynda Carter to launch a Public Safety Announcement to save single-player gaming.