Are Multiplayer Games the Future for Gaming?  

Many video games now offer a multiplayer mode which allows players to invite their friends or play with other live gamers.

Gaming platforms and companies that now offer multiplayer games include PlayStation, Xbox, Fortnite and 888casino, among others.

But are multiplayer games the future of the gaming industry? Will these games continue to grow and conquer new markets?

The impact of multiplayer games on the industry

Before assessing whether multiplayer games will shape the future of the gaming industry, it is worth noting how these games have impacted the industry so far.

The first multiplayer video game ever created is believed to be Empire. Empire was a game released in 1973 that allowed players to play together via a system called PLATO.

This first real-time multiplayer game was soon followed by Spasim which was released in 1974.

Both of these games are generally considered to be the first two real-time multiplayer games, meaning that players played remotely and in real-time with each other. Before that, there were two-player games that could be played by two individuals sharing the same gaming device.

Players could not play with each other remotely but could play against each other on a gaming device. The first ever two-player video game is considered to be Tennis for Two, created in 1958.

This game is also considered to be the first video game ever created.

This game was later followed by Spacewar! (released in 1962), Pong (released in 1972), and Astro Race (released in 1973).

According to two researchers named Ken Wasserman and Tim Stryker, multiplayer games are successful for a number of reasons:

  • players find that playing against other human beings instead of bots is more rewarding and entertaining
  • the mistakes and other errors that human players can make playing more suspenseful and riskier than playing against a bot
  • playing in real-time makes a game more exciting because it demands a quicker response time and reaction

So how has the popularity of multiplayer games shaped or impacted the gaming industry up until now?

Simply put, providers now have to offer single player and multiplayer modes if they want their games to be more successful. This means that they have to develop a game that will have the technical capacity to connect players living in different places.

Developers and providers now rely on the internet to connect their players. Some games might connect gamers via a local area network or only allow gamers to play against each other if they share the same computing system.

However, most games nowadays will simply require players to connect to the internet in order to activate the multiplayer mode.

Still, offering a multiplayer mode requires a lot of work, organization and a well-developed technical platform to support this type of gaming mode. The gaming industry has had to invest in new technologies and rely on the developments of the internet to offer the multiplayer mode to its clients.

But have all of these investments and developments been worthwhile? Are multiplayer games truly the future of the gaming industry?

Multiplayer games and the future of gaming

Although some gamers enjoy multiplayer games and select their games based on the availability of this gaming mode, some players do not feel the same way.

A 2021 study by Statista found that most players prefer single-player games over multiplayer games.

Another study by Midia came to the same conclusion with single-player games being more popular across all age segments (from 16 to over 55 year old players). However, the results of this study show that younger gamers (aged between 16 and 34 years old) prefer single-player games but are still keen on multiplayer games.

Older gamers (35 and older) clearly enjoy single-player games much more than multiplayer ones.

Only time will tell whether this trend is specific to the current generation of gamers or whether all players eventually come to prefer single-player games over multiplayer games as they begin to age.

As these numbers and studies indicate, single-player games remain more popular than multiplayer ones. However, this trend could change over time with more individuals turning to multiplayer games for a bit of social time with their friends and family.

Multiplayer games still remain popular and are still being extensively developed by companies and distributed by providers.

There is still a market for these games even though they are not as popular as single-player games.

Final thoughts

For the time being, it appears that multiplayer games are not as popular as single-player games. The future of gaming seems to lie with single-player games although multiplayer games might surpass these games if trends come to shift.

Both gaming modes are popular and will continue to be developed for the foreseeable future. For the time being, games will most likely offer both modes to their players to please most consumers.

Susan Kowal
Susan Kowal is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor/advisor, and health enthusiast.