Author’s Note (PLEASE READ):
So here’s the deal. This is old news. Not old, old – like Hugh Hefner’s ballsack (try getting that image out of your head) – but old. FORBES released this survey on March 13th (that’s 2016, for whoever is, for whatever reason, reading this in 2027). Now I know what you’re thinking, “Oh, that’s not old at all, stop being over-dramatic.” And my answer is no, I will most certainly not stop. I shall embrace the thespian in me and overdramatize whatever I wish. But back to the point. Being even a day late to news when it comes to the tech/gaming world means your viewership (unless you’re an already established conglomerate such as IGN) is cut in half, if not more. But that wouldn’t have been the case for me as I already wrote this article. That’s right, come the evening of March 13th, this article was already up on this website; title image, quotes, stats, wit and passion, all formed together into a beautiful 800 word piece. And then you know what happened? (Dramatic pause) We got hacked! Yup, GNG, the home to so many great articles and passionate writers got hacked. But, thankfully it wasn’t for too long and we were back up and running in less than 24 hours with no casualties in sight…except for one. No one else’ work was affected, but this one article was ripped out and nowhere to be found. Now you’re probably thinking, “Oh, that’s okay, you probably have it saved somewhere like Word, right?” Well, I wouldn’t be writing this f*#king ramble if that were the case, now would I? No, clearly my laziness to write on WordPress’ default writer, and overwhelming faith in the security of the internet bit me in the a$$…(sighs)…Alright, f#$k it. Here’s your damn article, again.
If I were to read the title of this article a few years ago, I most likely wouldn’t have been surprised. Because for me you play video games for the single player. The campaign, the story, characters, setting – that for me were/are the main elements of a game that captivate me and draws me into this world that was imagined by the creative minds behind the game. And of course those titles exist where the “campaign” wasn’t the main attraction, simply because it was a different “type” of game (Racing/Sports games), but I’m not talking about them, you know what I’m talking about. And not a long time ago, I would think that most gamers would share this opinion in thinking that a video games’ primary focus was the single player, and that multiplayer was simply an additional element you played after you had finished the single player. But as the years progressed and the online experience continued to grow at a rapid pace, it seemed that many gamers were gravitating towards multiplayer more and more. It was all about strategic, competitive team battles in this thing called League of Legends, or buzz-killing someone else’ kill streak in this other thing called Call of Duty. And it came to a point that people began buying games only to play multiplayer. I mean sure games like Call of Duty get lashed for being “casual” but look at more recent entries like Destiny and even more recent, The Division, both titles that are heavily multiplayer-centric (and, dare I say, “hard core”), with the latter following a recent trend of being, “always online.” Another, more interesting example is GTA V. Sure it was released with a very strong single player campaign, introducing many new elements to both its gameplay and story, but that was upon its initial release, which was almost 3 years ago. No one cares about the single player of that game anymore. It’s all about causing chaos and running amuck during challenges with your friends online.
So clearly when coming across statistics that suggest that players still, in 2016, prefer single player experiences, it catches me off guard, in the best of ways. FORBES, along with their partner company QUALTRICS – a research software company – conducted a survey of 500 gamers, both male and female (wohoo, gender equality!), casual and hardcore, and released their results of many of the answers given to an array of questions; one of them being whether gamers preferred Single Player or Multiplayer games. Abigail Tracy, Senior News Producer for Forbes’ technology channel reported the following:
The FORBES/Qualtrics survey found that action/adventure games were the most popular genre, with 57% of respondents saying that they liked them…The majority of people surveyed prefer solo gameplay (67%), compared to 23% who prefer multiplayer games... For deciding what made a game good or bad, the “look and feel” of the game dominated with 65% of those surveyed responding that it was important…The gamers also said that gameplay matters more than the story in video games.”
Be sure to check out the full article with the full survey results here. (Also be sure to check out the second page where they’ve made a really cool animated info-graph, illustrating the results of the survey in a more colorful manner for all you visual learners out there.)
Honestly, not only am I pleasantly surprised with these results (especially seeing an over 60% majority), but am also a bit relieved. Now, sure 500 gamers is not a significant number, but it’s large enough to show us a glimpse of the mentality of the masses. And to have the mentality be to continue to support the single player experience, brings me great joy. Now listen, I’m not here to bash online multiplayer games and those who play them religiously. Contrarily, I actually enjoy those types of games. Some of the most fun I’ve had on my PS4 was doing raids on Destiny with a couple of my best friends, who were both in different countries. To me, the significance of multiplayer cannot be understated. It’s a great platform for gaming and is an aspect that can bring gamers from all over the world together (at least when the servers aren’t down.) But that’s all multiplayer should be in my opinion, an aspect. My worry is that games will become just that: Multiplayer. And again, maybe there’s nothing particularly wrong with that, but that’s not why I play video games. I love story-telling, and believe that video games – when executed to its full potential – can be the epitome of immersive story-telling. I love to be absorbed into a world that the creators have made specifically for me to journey through and carve my own experience.
What are your guys’ thoughts on this survey? And do you play games only for the Multiplayer, or do you still prefer the Single Player experience? Let us know in the comments below!