The Road to E3: Multiplayer

We count down to the 2011 Electronic Entertainment Expo with a series of features about the issues affecting the future of the games industry.

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Multiplayer gaming has been an integral part of the wider gaming experience since the arcade days, taking on a new form with each passing decade and wave of technical innovation. In December last year, EA Games president Frank Gibeau declared that publishers can no longer get away with making games without a multiplayer component; indeed, Gibeau made it clear that games that fail to provide this all-important experience are likely to fail. This statement, bold as it was, echoed the thoughts of the wider industry. In an interview with Forbes magazine in June the same year, Square Enix head Yoichi Wada confirmed that every game that the company made from that point on would include some element of multiplayer or social gaming. Square Enix wasn't the only publisher eager to go down that road. In the past two years, the push toward multiplayer gaming has led publishers, developers, and consumers to rethink the way in which video games are both made and played. Ubisoft introduced multiplayer for the first time in its Assassin's Creed franchise; Valve launched co-op in Portal 2; Warner Brothers hinted at including multiplayer in future Batman games; and Sony has begun hiring programmers for what could be a multiplayer God of War game.

So where is multiplayer headed? Does it really stand true that games offering only single-player experiences are a thing of the past? Or are developers looking to create a more seamless experience between the two? To find out, GameSpot spoke to some of the biggest names in the industry today, including John Romero, Ubisoft's Patrick Redding, developers Harmonix and Activision's Call of Duty team.

Why do we enjoy playing games together?

Why We Play Together

When industry heavyweights like Frank Gibeau say that video games can no longer get away with offering just a single-player experience, they are also echoing the demands of the market. This ever-changing and ever-growing market is united by a common goal: entertainment. Video games, above all else, have to be fun. This is the reason why multiplayer not only makes sense as a gaming experience, but it's also the reason why more than one type of multiplayer experience has found success. People like to have fun with other people, whether it is in person or online.

But the benefits of playing together go far beyond making a great gaming experience. Nick Yee and Nic Ducheneaut are two researchers working as part of the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) PlayOn project, which is focused on the study of social dynamics in multiplayer games. Using Web surveys, lab experiments, and data mining from games like World of Warcraft, Yee and Ducheneaut have looked at the social interactions between players, from examining players who fall in love online to what it means to be a guild leader. Analyzing the unique forms of social behavior that can happen in online games, Yee and Ducheneaut's research led them to discover that even though massively multiplayer online games are designed to encourage intense group interactions through raids and quests, it is more intimate sociability that keeps players interested in playing. This includes chatting with guild mates while grinding crafting materials, watching others perform fun tasks in the main cities, and the like. For some players, simply feeling part of a world inhabited by other human beings was enough. Based on their research, Yee and Ducheneaut have begun to develop tools to help game designers monitor social activity in online worlds.

With every game having its own sensibility when it comes to multiplayer, Yee and Ducheneaut have split the experience into three categories: a) games that are simply meant to be played with someone nearby, like Mario Kart; b) games that allow players to engage in a match-making system, like Halo or Call of Duty; and c) persistent virtual worlds, such as World of Warcraft.

"I want to be provocative and flip the question around and suggest that perhaps it is the games that are making relationships more salient and important," Yee says. "As a simple example of this concept, Farmville makes your friends more relevant and important because of the game mechanisms of gifting and helping. In the same way, World of Warcraft uses grouping and high-end raiding as a social means to satisfy game-related goals. Would playing games together be equally enjoyable if you could kill the dragon bosses by yourself? Certainly there are social players, but it’s equally important to keep in mind that game architecture also plays a crucial role in making people want to play with each other."

"I think playing games together simply makes your accomplishments in them more rewarding and more meaningful," Ducheneaut adds. "Nobody would care about wearing an epic set of armor if there were no one around to see it! Ted Castronova, a well-known game researcher, said that the presence of other people in online games validates emotions, and I think that’s exactly what’s going on: Doing something in the presence of other people who share the same interests and objectives makes it much more attractive."

Splinter Cell: Conviction focus tests showed players do better if they work together.

This exhibitionist quality has also been observed by developers, who often focus test multiplayer experiences before a game's launch. Patrick Redding, game director at Ubisoft Toronto, is often amazed at how big of a role social skills play as a mechanism for negotiation in multiplayer games when he is observing focus tests. He believes game designers need to give players more autonomy in multiplayer, requiring them to use individual social skills to form a collective agency (in the case of co-op) and effectively overcome challenges. For example, observing player behavior in Splinter Cell: Conviction multiplayer, Redding found that players realized quickly that they have a better chance of beating the game if they work together. In this way, players working together are more likely to take risks and try things that they wouldn't have tried if they were playing single-player.

"Prior to recent years, the attitude was that single-player was different from multiplayer, and in fact, there was an implicit distinction between people who liked single-player (solitary, time-intensive) and people who liked multiplayer (mechanics-focused, living in the dynamics, doesn't care about the fiction of the game)," Redding says. "What's happened now is we've arrived at a new generation of players who want complexity and depth in both single-player and multiplayer. It has become socially acceptable to want this."

Are You Online?

There is certainly a feeling of going around in circles when it comes to multiplayer gaming. Video games were born as social experiences in the game arcades of the 1970s, gradually moving inside the home with the Atari 2600 and the Nintendo 64 and into split-screen territory on the Xbox and the PlayStation. Now, they've moved into the online space with the new-generation home consoles. While the Wii succeeded in bringing multiplayer back into the shared physical space of the living room, online multiplayer experiences still command a large portion of the market today.

According to the NPD Group--an industry research firm that has been tracking retail sales data in the US market since 1995-- the number-one best-selling title by units sold in US history, with 13.7 million units and total revenue of US$787.4 million to date, is Call of Duty: Black Ops. In March this year, NPD released a list of the all-time top 10 titles according to revenue (not units sold). While it's not correct to say that every single game on the list offers more in the way of a multiplayer experience than it does single-player, there is certainly a noticeable emphasis on games that offer a strong online multiplayer component: 1. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock; 2. Call of Duty: Black Ops; 3. Wii Fit; 4. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2; 5. Rock Band; 6. Wii Play; 7. Guitar Hero World Tour; 8. Wii Fit Plus; 9. Mario Kart Wii; and 10. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

Romero and his team had big plans for the multiplayer component of Doom.

Veteran game designer John Romero (cofounder of id Software and designer on Doom, Quake, and Wolfenstein 3D) was part of the development team that pioneered the modern concept of networked multiplayer with the release of Doom in 1993. The game was influential on many counts: It mass-popularized the first-person shooter genre and introduced cooperative and deathmatch modes (the latter term is also credited to Romero). Looking back, Romero admits the team set itself a lot of lofty technical goals with the game but not all of them were met.

"We issued a press release in January 1993 that said multiplayer was going to be in the game," he says. "Near the end of the project, we remembered that we said [that], and we hurried to start getting that working. At that time, IPX and TCP networking on a LAN was becoming common, and we had been using a company LAN for about two years at that point. So, learning the IPX protocol and how to transfer packets got us to moving the player around, and voila: multiplayer at a high rate of speed!"

Echoing Redding's thoughts on allowing players autonomy, Romero says the Doom team knew from the very start that it was important for players to feel in control: The more players can do in the world, the more immersed in the world they become.

"What I wanted the player to get out of it was a superfast shotgun blast to the face and really feel it. I wanted to be able to sneak around in a level and hunt down other players and surprise them with a rocket in the back. I wanted multiplayer to be everything I dreamed it could be, and it was at the time."

While games like Doom set the precedent for online multiplayer, franchises like Call of Duty have helped bring the experience to the mass market. The growing popularity of these titles points to a never-before-seen demand for experiences that bring people together in the online space. Treyarch design director on Call of Duty: Black Ops, David Vonderhaar, says it took the industry a long time to reach a point where multiplayer was taken seriously.

"In the earliest days of my professional career, having anyone devoted to multiplayer full time was rare, and more than two was something of a miracle," he says. "I consider myself very lucky to have watched this tiny and nearly immeasurable aspect of the game where perhaps 20,000 people might have had the technical capability to actually play multiplayer evolve into million-plus gamers. Online games have certainly gotten more sophisticated over the years, but I generally believe the experience has grown right alongside."

Vonderhaar has been with Activision for the majority of his 14-year professional career, working in central studio, production, and design management roles. His most recent task saw him focusing nearly exclusively on the multiplayer aspects of the Call of Duty franchise. This includes games like Call of Duty 3, Call of Duty: World at War, and Call of Duty: Black Ops. He says services like Xbox Live and consumer adoption of connected devices and open-development platforms like Facebook have grown and evolved the multiplayer experience throughout the decades.

"Fundamentally, multiplayer is so important to AAA titles because it adds so much value to the gaming experience. I'm personally fascinated in what these [the Wii, Move, and Kinect] and other controller-based games like DJ Hero, have done for multiplayer. Gathering together with others in front of the TV to play together or against one another, however indirectly, is great for the social experience. Capturing the vibe, emotion, and feeling of connectedness is something we'll be looking at for a long time. These technologies, and others to come, will help."

Call of Duty and the increased popularity of online multiplayer gaming also gave other multiplayer experiences a chance in the market. Although rhythm games have been a much-loved source of amusement in video game arcades all over Japan since the 1990s, the genre didn't become popular in the West until 2005 with the arrival of the first Guitar Hero game. Publisher Red Octane knew it was a risk--Western gamers simply didn't buy products that came packaged with several peripherals and cost almost triple the price of other games. (Charles Huang, the cofounder of Red Octane, had to take out a second mortgage on his house to raise enough money to get the game to market.) But by December 2005, Guitar Hero had become one of the hardest games to find at US retailers: Demand was huge, and Red Octane hadn't built enough peripherals. Five months after its release, the game cracked the top 10 best-selling games list, a position it held until the launch of Guitar Hero II.

Call of Duty: Black Ops is the number one best-selling title by units sold in US history.

"There were two things very unique about Guitar Hero when it was first released: The first was its social aspect," Huang told GameSpot in 2008. "This was before the term 'social gaming' had even been floated around, so this was just a game that was a lot of fun. Companies told us that people were reserving meeting rooms just so they could play Guitar Hero the entire day, and friends were saying that they were getting together on Saturday nights to play it."

The same thoughts echoed in the mind of Harmonix, the developers behind Guitar Hero I and II, and later, the Rock Band franchise. Although Harmonix recently laid off a number of its staff and has yet to outline its plans for the future, Harmonix designer Sylvain Dubrofsky (Rock Band 2, Rock Band Unplugged, The Beatles: Rock Band, and Rock Band 3) believes there are many success stories tied to the evolution of the multiplayer experience; something that points to how much this particular aspect of gaming has evolved.

"You've got synchronous versus asynchronous or same room versus networked or competitive versus cooperative: There are so many different game genres and systems on which to play that it makes sense that we see a wide variety of approaches," Dubrofsky says. "I think multiplayer experiences have grown primarily in terms of how much focus development teams are putting toward them, which results in deeper and more long-lasting experiences. Rhythm games are a natural fit. It's a performance simulation, and people like to perform together. Rock Band became this party phenomenon, and suddenly, your mom wanted to play video games with you."

Coming Full Circle

During the 2006 Electronic Entertainment Expo, Nintendo unveiled its plans for world domination: a new gaming system--originally known as the Revolution and later renamed the Wii--which promised to change gaming forever. The only problem was that nobody knew exactly how it planned to do this.

"[The] Wii will break down that wall that separates game players from everybody else," Nintendo said during the console's official launch. "[It] will put people more in touch with their games and with each other."

The industry wasn't convinced: How would it be possible to play immersive, in-depth games by waving a controller around in front of the TV? How would it be possible to play shooters and platformers? How was this console going to speak to the non-gamer? Nintendo insisted initial hesitations about motion-control gaming would dissipate. In an interview with CNET in January 2006, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime proudly declared that Nintendo's aim was to "turn game development into a democracy of great ideas."

"The mythical performance vector for this industry is more processing power and prettier pictures, but what's really driven growth is actually improving the way consumers play and get into the game. It's what we've successfully done with the Nintendo DS and what we're committed to doing with the Revolution and the controller we've unveiled for [the] Revolution. That level of immersion really has never been done before."

The Wii brought gaming back into the shared physical space of the living room.

Although Fils-Aime knew what the Wii could do, he could not have anticipated the effect the console would go on to have on the wider industry. By transforming the very nature of gameplay, the Wii successfully resurrected the idea of playing together in a shared physical space. Miyamoto's dream had come true: Gaming had once again broken free of the confines of the screen. Yet despite the Wii's success in carving out a new, casual gaming audience, there are some in the industry who believe that a multiplayer experience outside of the online space will not last long.

John Romero recently left his job to start a new social game development studio called Loot Drop. For him, looking at how multiplayer gaming has evolved on social networks is more important than "hopping and jumping" around to the Wii, Move, or Kinect.

"The asynchronous nature of gameplay in social games is very different from what hardcore gamers are used to, and pushing the boundaries of asynchronous design, before it becomes synchronous, is presenting some interesting gameplay," Romero says. "The Wii, Kinect, and Move are simply controller-replacement technologies. It's up to game designers to use them for multiplayer games. I personally feel that the Kinect and Move are fads that will die just like 3D TV is dying. The reason is that the majority of players just don't want to be hopping and jumping around in their living rooms. I want a minimum amount of effort for a maximum amount of gameplay. That has always been the case in controller design, and the Kinect and Move go against that doctrine."

Romero now believes that the industry has, for the most part, kept multiplayer gaming confined to what can be loaded into a level. For this reason, experiences like World of Warcraft are rare. Players can play in an entire world without loading screens and interact with other players in a big space. He says the future of multiplayer lies in the online space, not in the physical space currently dominated by publishers like Nintendo.

"The industry needs to push much harder to develop full streaming technologies to take multiplayer to the next level. The future of large multiplayer games is all about streaming worlds. With casual games, it's still about competing in a very simple manner if you're in the living room together and jacking around in front of the TV with a Wii Remote, Move or Kinect."

Harmonix's Sylvain Dubrofsky also sees multiplayer heading toward a more social online space, where games will make it easier for players to find and make friends. This is something currently being looked at in the rhythm game genre, which Dubrofsky says is far from spent, despite Activision's recent announcement that the publisher's Guitar Hero unit has been temporarily disbanded.

"Multiplayer really plays to the strengths of games as a medium to provide unique experiences that are not 100 percent authored by the development teams. We’ve said for a while that what the music-game genre needs is innovation, and we are committed to exploring new types of music gaming, both within our established franchises and outside of them. It is important to note that [Harmonix] has never viewed performance simulators, such as Rock Band, as the only possible type of music game. We think there are a variety of music game ideas worth exploring, and we are hard at work right now exploring them."

But despite what audiences seem to want, some developers aren't convinced that single-player experiences are on the way out. It's not hard to recognize when multiplayer has been hastily tacked on to the end of a game or when a particular game works much better as a single-player experience than a multiplayer one. Treyarch's Vonderhaar says there is plenty of room for high-quality, innovative games that don't have any multiplayer whatsoever.

"As a hardcore online gamer who has been advocating that publishers and developers invest heavily in multiplayer his entire professional career, I genuinely want to agree with this [Frank Gibeau's statement that publishers can no longer get away with making games without a multiplayer component]," Vonderhaar says. "However, I don't agree. I love multiplayer more than anything, but forcing it into every game isn't the right thing to do and won't work. It's not a component that can be tacked on to what is otherwise a thoughtful and well-designed single-player experience."

Does the future lie in a more seamless experience between single-player and multiplayer?

Both Vonderhaar and Ubisoft's Redding believe that rather than try to force a multiplayer component into a game that clearly does not need it, the future lies in creating a more seamless experience for the player. This would be one that blurs the line between traditional concepts of single-player and multiplayer, which is something that MMOGs like World of Warcraft have been doing successfully for years.

"There's more recognition now that players are not disorientated by the experience of hopping in and out of game," Redding says. "The social presence we have now in games with things like Facebook and Twitter integration means that one day, more games will allow players to move dynamically between the different gameplay modes without things like menus getting in the way. It's better for us as developers to try to embrace this trend. Cross-pollination is inevitable and will allow us to tap into a level of comfort that most players are used to by now. We should open the gates and let players play with the technologies that they want."

Discussion

120 comments
hyksiu
hyksiu

I like multyplayer games and single player games, old and new games, short and long games.... i just love games!

grimmr46
grimmr46

I like both SP and MP, as long as they are both well done. With PSN down for so long I really like having a decent SP experience.

Davhut
Davhut

I feel that a key mechanic of future online multiplayer experiences should involve deep involvement in story development, I am focusing on both online action games like call of duty, battlefield, halo etc and also on persistent worlds aka world of warcraft, rift, star wars the old republic. People enjoy stories, and to be able to exist and participate in a story's development will be key to whether people enjoy and want to participate in the game. Being able to actively create your own ever changing environment and be able to witness the cause and effect of your actions within the game world will in my opinion make for a much more involving experience. Bethesda and Bioware are two companies that seem to have taken note of this. I am an older gamer having grown with the industry since the days of Pong. What we are witnessing now points to a very exciting future in online gaming and if the games publishers get to understand the needs of good story telling, good immersive graphics production and of course good gameplay mechanisms then I feel sure we will see something special and I for one cannot wait.

rat907
rat907

Multiplayer has a unique aspect A.I. just can't accomplish, direct interaction and unpredictability. Till HAL 2000 can think and respond like any human, multiplayer will definately be king to any games criteria Also, I was one of those kids last to be picked for a team in school. Multiplayer allows anyone that games the same chance as the next guy whethher he is disabled, obese or just plain ugly, to join a team and prove him/herself. In these cash strapped times, pay to play is a stretch or even unavailable to some loyal gamers. I was hooked into the Blizzard franchise for over 3 years . After the purchase, fees and upgrades totaling up to be too costly to justify any game, I will not pay to play ever again.

Booshon
Booshon

First my English is not so good but i realy want to live a commet :) I think that games should have the option for MP but i would never want to miss those great single player RPG with the great story. After i am done i wouldn't mind play some MP.

killertrumpet92
killertrumpet92

@SLRMC93 Im with you on that man. I remember as a kid with my N64 playing 4player 007 with my friends all on a little 19in screen. We had a blast, now I wanna play some shooters with 3 buddys on my new 52 in tv.

SLRMC93
SLRMC93

I'm tired of just 2 screens, when will we see the return of 4 player?

Evil_Sidekick
Evil_Sidekick

Now take Co-Op. I can much easier understand the love for Co-Op than competitive MP, and i don´t even touch Co-Op, which is not true about competitive MP, i play MP from time to time (a long time to time). There is a story in Co-Op, there is a reason in Co-Op, but the thing is, and i talk for personal experience, i don´t have any gaming friends nor do i plan to, i actually have a life outside the walls in my house. Like myself, there are thousands that feel the same way. A gamer is not a siamise twin, i wasn´t born with a friend attached at the hip, so, to actually make games with a buddy in mind doesn´t make much sense, video games are not the friendship hotline nor does the retail version of a game comes with a friend inside the box. But that is just one of the problems about Co-Op, the other....when in Co-Op, gaming is no more than an excuse to be together. Sure, there might actually be people that play the game "for real", but the majority use the game to be together, and talk about the women (or men), sports, movies, whatever, but the game is the least of their problems. And then you go about the game, skip the cutscenes, choose to go to the left insted of the right because there are more enemies, with no regard to the story or characters....like i said, Co-Op is just a sorry excuse to the together. If i was a game developer, i would want gamers to actually care about the game and be immersed on it.

Evil_Sidekick
Evil_Sidekick

I´m going to be really honest and say that MP is by far the worst thing about video games, and i do like MP from time to time, but this push for MP is not only moronic, it goes agains the essence of what a video game is. What is a video game? A video game is the blend between gameplay and storyline, case close. Of course that´s not the dictionary definition, but that is the heart and soul of what is a video game. Without that, video games would have died a long time ago. Imagine a world without Mario, Link, Master Chief, Kratos, Gordon Freeman, Duke Nukem, Lara Croft, Nathan Drake.....imagine that and tremble. All those characters exist because of the story in games, because of the storyline. Take Halo for example, one of the most recognizable "MP" games out there, but Halo exists because of the story, because Master Chief, Cortana and the war agains the Covenant, without that, the series would be long dead. Look at Red Dead Redemption.... RDR had MP, and a good one at that, and the game got a lot of awards last years and none of them was because there was MP, no one in their right mind played and love the game because there was MP, people played and loved the game because of John Marston´s story. Bottom line, without SP, video games would have been long dead by now

AusCleaver
AusCleaver

Games started out as singleplayer and eventually along came multiplayer options. The true essence of a SP game is lost on MP. We play games to take us away from the world we're in to have a break or for many other reasons. Multiplayer games tend to focus on fast paced action with little or no coordination of players. Some MP games lend themselves to organized play like the Battlefield series but that only comes from communities and clans that make the effort, without these you can pretty much play online without interaction with anyone else which a lot of people do. The main aim of this play is to build levels and stats for basically bragging rights. Communities and clans make the game more immersive and truly a multiplayer experience. It's a shame to see some games heading down the No Modding route which makes it difficult for clans and communities to implement a good MP experience. I remember the days of BF2 in a community that had 64 players per side with organized objectives this was truly what MP should be. I also think MP has been dumbed down in a lot of games. Capture a flag, arm a bomb, etc. When are they going to make a MP game that can have more dynamic objectives - destroy a bridge that prevents enemy troop movements in latter games. A dynamic mapping and campaign system that allows admins/creators to make their own maps and link them together to create a campaign that two teams can fight and strategize over.

Keitha313
Keitha313

@13Skulls It's called practise getting use to the map... Just like swimming you wouldn't go into the deep end first if you didn't have to.

birdgang_1
birdgang_1

I'm all for multiplayer in games - whichever titles they may be - as long as the development of the multiplayer aspect does not affect the quality of its single player. Games like Fallout 3 and Oblivion offer superb single player experiences.. but sometimes I could use a friend while traversing these vast worlds. A lot of single player enthusiasts will disagree and continue that any multiplayer modes will ruin the game but that's if it's not done right. I still very much enjoyed Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood's single player and its multiplayer. If the new God of War's single-player is fantastic while still offering very innovative multiplayer then those whom prefer the single player don't have to touch the multiplayer while those of us that prefer some multiplayer in our games have a chance to do so. If White Knight Chronicles was only single player I would not have invested the time I had now. The single player was good (personal opinion) but after beating it I probably wouldn't have gone back to the game. The multiplayer allowed me to team up with friends or even strangers to take on quests and improve my town. What I'm getting it is if the multiplayer is done right then it does not degrade the quality of the single player and now we have two options for play. One, I repeat, for those us that enjoy playing with people and one for those that would rather enjoy the experience by themselves.

Keitha313
Keitha313

@JimB I guess you have adapted well to the fact the Playstation Notwork is not working, good for you! Hopefully their will be some surprises at this E3 and HOPEFULLY the PSN will be up and running soon.

Sly_Boogy07
Sly_Boogy07

IDK Bayonetta was the boss and it was one player, but two player would probably still kick ass, two b***... i mean witchs, must make more gritty fun chaos.

JimB
JimB

I never play MP it is just not my thing. What I don't like is the fact that two rpg's I have played and enjoyed are coming out as on line MP only, Never-winter Nights and Knights of the Old Republic. I have been playing video games for forty years starting with Pong. My friends and I get together and play Magic or Axis and Allies when we want to socialize. I would have like to have played Guild Wars but it was MP only I believe games should have both SP and MP.

redsiy
redsiy

A good point to note is that not all multiplayer aspects are actually playing together. Even something as simple as stat comparisons can add this interaction. Think of all the fan sites and other reviews that people put in to a game like Oblivion. Adding towards that only makes sense since there is such a broad fan base for such things.

DS-man
DS-man

It usualy depends what type of game it is, I would play a FPS with other people but not a game like Dead Space

gawthy
gawthy

@nyran125 you make valid points on your last post. As long as they still gives us these games like Fallout i will be very happy. I do like MP though but not all the time.

nyran125
nyran125

ok so why is bestheda games like Fallout 3 and Oblivion and SKYRIM and even Crysis eventually sold from 87'000 - 3 million copies over thenext few years after release, just on its single player alone. The reason is because BESTHEDA make AWESOME single player games. Half life 2...Even Left 4 Dead is an interesting and different experience solo player than MP. Borderlands would drive me crazy if it didnt have a single player way of playing it. Because id miss out on the emmersion and story completely and just be running around with other people looting and rushing and rushing and looting without stopping to enjoy the world they created. Which you can only really do in single player game mode. If single player gaming goes completely , i dont think id get the enjoyment out of gaming anymore. Splinter cell teh orignal splinter cells were AWESOME single player games, same with PORTAL. get rid of the SP mode and all you have left is having to team up with another person just to enjoy the game. What a crap gaming world that is. Even World of Warcraft you can do a lot by yourself if you want to. How could you possibly enjoy the FULL story and beautiful world in BIOSHOCK just running around with other players just wanting to grab plasmids and get better loot over and over adn over and over again without giving a damn about the awesome world the developers created? Im one of those STOP and smell the flowers gamers, and you cant do that in multiplayer gaming. Because most of the time its too competitive, so its more about yoru rewards or achievements or your killcount or your loot. Thats not what i like about games like BIOSHOCK or even Rome total War where i can pace myself and enjoy the entire game and world around me and play the game at my own pace, slow or fast. you cant do that in Multiplayer. Because its not fair on the people that your playing waiting for thier turn etc. If the future is MP only, then it needs to have MP only but can still be played Single player if you want, otherwise gaming is going to just become just a rushfest with loads of upgrades and rewards and nothing else to make people like me interested in the emmersion of it. Games like Bioshock/Oblivion/Skyrim/fallout 3 wont exist and thats a horrible gaming world i dont want to live in. I dont want a gaming world where its co-op , multiplayer or nothing. Wheres its Counterstrike and World of warcraft and Battlfield 3 or nothing, Or TotalWar with others or nothing.

Gooshnads
Gooshnads

I think games that have little depth should not have a competitive side in the multiplayer.... [talking about the shooters as of late] But games with depth and challenge should definitely have competitive multiplayer [talking about something like Starcraft 2 or MvC3 and Mortal Kombat] Only to eliminate trash talking from people who go and say "BLACK OPS > BEST GAME EVAR BECAUSE MORE PPL PLAY IT" =]

awssk8er716
awssk8er716

The way I feel about most multiplayer is that if I wanted to play with someone, I would do it in real life. When I play video games, I just want to be alone. I guess this is why I like the Wii the most out of the three consoles.

ICMCMXCII
ICMCMXCII

sometimes multiplayer is forcedly added because its says that the game sells more and will last more time but multiplayer does not fit for many genres or games like rpg IMO

VegetaTB
VegetaTB

Multiplayer is frankly the difference between downloading or buying the game.

VaanXPenelo
VaanXPenelo

Keep your multiplayer, I'm happy with single player RPGs.

Rasu89
Rasu89

I rarely ever play multiplayer games. If I do, it is only for a short time and usually almost always online MMORPG

emerin76
emerin76

I have to play multiplayer games, because my wife wants to play too. I'm the market for local co-ops. Resident evil 5, army of two, gears of war, Halo and the up and coming Hunted. They're perfect for us. If only Dragon age or Oblivion had a multiplayer option...

callthedead
callthedead

Yes, since i could have internet and Online games, such CS - Counter Strike- Steam games and other

callthedead
callthedead

I think that multiplayer its important for video games in todays days, In this few days that the PSN is down, i havent been playing any games. No friends to play and chat, since most PS3 games that i have are 1 player in single and no CO-OP or party games... So the online mode its the only thing that joins friends after dinner or on some free time at home. But the Single Player should never be left behind, because there people that love to play and dont have any internet connection ...

callthedead
callthedead

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

metamo_Ks
metamo_Ks

I still dont think that multiplayer is that important to games. Its more about replayability than the actually multiplayer. Multiplayer is just one way to add to this.

13Skulls
13Skulls

How do you get any real satisfaction killing bots. There is much more of an adrenaline rush when you are challenged by a actual human being on the other side of the weapon.

paxis85
paxis85

@Infinity_Gauntl: I can't say I agree that being social is a bad thing. Nonetheless I agree with you that the entire industry needs to keep in mind that there are people out there who like single player gaming more than multiplayer(i happen to be one of them - i especially hate pvp). I feel that if developers and publishers want to include both functions in their games, there's really nothing wrong with it. My concern, nowadays, is more towards the actual quality of certain games that were released recently. Take Dragon Age 2 and Assassin's Creed Brotherhood. I enjoyed playing both of them but couldn't help but feel they were a little rushed. I was particularly annoyed the ACB for the disaster Ubisoft managed to cause with matchmaking for multiplayer. The bottom line is, if you're going to include multiplayer, at least do it right.

paxis85
paxis85

@ToughCritic28: i'm inclined to agree with you friend. multiplayer gaming may not be the ideal for everyone but one has to give credit where it's due. i've played both WoW & CoD and I can acknowledge that multiplayer gaming, where used properly can require great commitment but is not without its benefits. I still occasionally speak to my WoW mates from other countries because in some cases genuine friendships develop. At the same time I don't want to neglect the fact that online play tends to be a bit of a gamble from a social perspective because some games are just there for people to let off steam *cough* CoD *cough. Now i'm not saying this is a bad thing but a game between 10 guys at the end of a long (and oft times boring) day, don't exactly make for the most pleasantly sociable experiences. Nonetheless, I personally feel that as gamers we need to be open minded towards each others' preferences. Just because I like RPGs and someone else might like strategy or FPS, it doesn't mean any of us is, or ought to feel, superior to another. At our core we're still gamers and identify ourselves as such. I greatly applaud Nintendo's efforts to reach a wider demographic through the Wii. It was about time that the industry reached outside the normal demographic and they did a great job. The Wii was and I believe still is the best selling console of all time from all generations. At least, we need to acknowledge that multiplayer does have some of the market demand under its control.

Infinity_Gauntl
Infinity_Gauntl

Why oh why has this world become so freakin social. I admit I like some Multiplayer games but there are a lot of the that I just want to play on my own. I think its really sad to see people on Facebook....I think its more for kids and simple minded people but I realize multiplayer gaming is more indeph ... I just hope that it doesn't start dictating which games get made.

chechak7
chechak7

"Nobody would care about wearing an epic set of armor if there were no one around to see it!" you are so correct .

gpuFX16
gpuFX16

@ToughCritic28 I'm going to have to disagree with you there. The reason games are moving towards an emphasis on multiplayer is because publishers primarily look at sales figures for games. They want to maximize profit. If you're a publisher, you're looking at CoD and saying, "Well, this game is selling like crazy, so let's have a game like that." This is terrible. What's starting to happen now is that you've got developers with great ideas for games that are being forced to slap on multiplayer components for the sole purpose of satisfying the sales target. This puts them in an extremely unfavorable position. If they don't listen to the publisher, their project could be passed on, possibly negating years of work and effort. If they do listen, part of the game's quality may suffer due to adding an unnecessary component. This does not mean multiplayer is bad in itself, though, especially if done right: I have had great times with multiplayer in the past: Burnout Paradise, Team Fortress 2 and Halo have all been a blast for me to play. But that's online with people you don't generally know. Publishers seem to be focused on online MP, and putting that in front of single player, co-op and local multiplayer. Despite my days of playtime in Halo: Reach, that will never compare to the fun I got playing with friends and family in Smash Bros. Melee. We need more titles like Portal, Heavy Rain, L.A. Noire, and Limbo to do well to show that you don't always have follow the leader to succeed.

jch123
jch123

I totally agree with the conclusion of this article. It would be cool for games like GTA and Red Dead to have not a Single player Campaign and Multiplayer modes that are based on the same map, but somehow integrate both into one big social gaming experience without detracting from the fun of a campaign. Also if they could somehow connect console games to Facebook leader boards, I'm pretty sure console games would become that much more popular.

SadPSPAddict
SadPSPAddict

@ToughCritic28 - indeed and it's possible I'm in a minority but so far I have 7 to 1 with me based on thumbs up and down :P I personally play a lot of racing games and I like to have a lengthy career first ( OK so GT5 and Forza 3 took that to an extreme ) before venturing on-line. I do enjoy a few races on line but SP remains the most important thing to me!

nenriqueq
nenriqueq

I agree with most of you, I don't see th point on getting a game only for the multiplayer, where is the history behind the game, where does it ends, multiplayer is a great addition to the game but I believe is should be that, only a good addition not the main focus of the game.

ToughCritic28
ToughCritic28

What bothers me about this whole issue is that most people on these forums somehow see multiplayer gamers as inferior or casual. Multiplayer can be an extremely engaging experience that requires gamers to cooperate in order to succeed. The reason why many games are moving towards an emphasis on multiplayer is because there is such a high demand for it! I believe there are certain games, such as shooters, that simply play better in multiplayer. And although it's cliche`d quoting the Most Dangerous Game, "Man is the most dangerous game" (not AI) @SadPSPAddict I think there are about 10,000,000 CoD players that would disagree with you, and about 10,000,000 WoW players that would disagree with you.

terrascythe
terrascythe

Shigeru Miyamoto said Nintendo intentionally did not include online multiplayer for Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort because they wanted to encourage multi-player in the physical space. I know everyone who's played online multiplayer games have witnessed some bizarre, borderline behavior.

willpak
willpak

"Gibeau made it clear that games that fail to provide this all-important experience (multiplayer) are likely to fail." Enter: Skyrim.

Patrickstar1986
Patrickstar1986

The irritating thing is when multiplayer is junk or excluded on titles that seems perfect for it. Horde on the PSP is a great example, whats the use for a fun simple multiplayer title like this if you force buyers to just play with computers? And agreed RE5 took so much from the fomula that it just didn't feel inspired enough to be a complete, entertaining game. I want to say Rule 1 would be: Never put games into acts and stages. The best way to take someone out of the fun is by making it feel predictable and set up.

drknessfeeds
drknessfeeds

I still love my single player games, Mass Effect 2, Assassin's Creed series, God of War Series, Heavy Rain, etc. just would not have been the same with someone else in the gamespace. Resident Evil is fun multiplayer but I still feel it lost some of its luster by adding it. As for the Assassins Creed multiplayer, it was fun for a bit but I still play the single player regularly. I like multiplayer games but I hate when its not fleshed out and just tacked on.

gpuFX16
gpuFX16

I still feel single player is the core of my experience in a game. At the end of the day, multiplayer is only about as enjoyable as the people you play it with. I've played a substantial amount of Halo online, but just about everyone acts terribly, so any hope of connecting with anybody is lost in a sea of profanity and disrespect. At it's best, a single-player game really communicates the vision of the developer. Look no further than Retro Studios' work with Metroid Prime, Valve with Half-Life and Portal, Rockstar with Red Dead Redemption, and others. What would Prime be without the wonderfully lonely exploration? Portal without the razor-sharp writing and line delivery? RDR without John Marston? Multiplayer can be fun, but at least for me, it's the solo experience that sticks in my memory. As for Co-Op, it's great when it works well, but it does not always turn out that way.

Hinton00
Hinton00

SP is a dead narrative. Either revive it or let it merge into the online genre. Single player open world AAGs or open world RPGs or open choice* (DA:2) storytelling is absolutely dead. I never want to herd cows, shoot muggers, or save an alienage simply because some NPC (ala MMO style) has told me to do such task so I can proceed to the next quest hub/quest NPC. That's is the lamest storytelling ever. That's the story I play over and over and over again in MMO's. So FIX YOUR STORIES, because I refuse to play a single player game where I feel the grind has less incentive than that of an MMO. In an MMO all you're achievements are there proudly for all players to see. In SP (if you're an achievement ****) you have the means of PSN, Live, or Steam to promote yourself and your platinum achievements. Who cares? Maybe your friends and family who didn't play the game? Anyway, this was a great read. If RDR was an MMO... minus the ending... the formula fits.

hotdiddykong
hotdiddykong

I agree with most of you, while Multiplayer is awesome, its a shame that some developers think it should be more important than single player, which degrades from buying it for that purpose. Same goes for Local Multiplayer, Wii is pretty much full of Single Player games that dont care TOO much about Multiplayer, or doesnt have it *Cough*Metroid Prime*Cough*, and has game that rely on Local(DKCR) instead of multiplayer for Co-op

xxxxTRISTAMxxxx
xxxxTRISTAMxxxx

@Thunderstarter Mass effect 3 would be great if there was 4 player co-op...that would work well but not as MP.

SadPSPAddict
SadPSPAddict

I would never buy a game because of the multiplayer. If the focus on multiplayer takes the ever decreasing single player experience too far I for one will skip those games. We are already seeing watered down SP in games like the later CODs and the most recent MotorStorm when compared to earlier games in the franchises! Shame really because although MP is important SP is far far far more so!