Today’s younger generation of gamers may be shocked to learn that video games were once almost exclusively single-player – back when home video game consoles were first introduced to the public back in the 70’s. Granted there were some co-op titles here and there where you could play against a single friend to beat their score or beat them to the finish line first but there were no truly online multiplayer games outside of the occasional four-player game in the arcade.
Over the intervening years, multiplayer has come into existence and sits at the top of the “must have” features list for games coming out today and single-player campaigns seem to be dwindling with only the odd title here and there remaining locked to the single-player only experience. Most A+ titles released today are adding multiplayer modes to allow you and your friends to share in the experience and many developers are releasing their games as multiplayer only, doing away with the single-player experience altogether such as Activision’s Titanfall or Bungie’s Destiny. In multiplayer games, you get a sense of community – engaging with your fellow players in casual chat, helping each other out during gameplay, and even competing against one another affording the players an experience you just can’t get in a single-player experience. Then there’s the whole “humans make for better opponents than AI’s do” argument and it’s true – computers can’t simulate the “human factor” so playing games, whether they be first-person shooters or real-time strategy games against other people always presents a more difficult and unique challenge than a single-player experience could afford.
Humans are very competitive by nature and multiplayer games capitalise on that trait, a fact that many game developers owe their success to and as those successes pile up, more and more major developers and even smaller indie developers are turning to multiplayer experiences for their games.