Online Only?

Video games have changed a lot over the years. Gone now are the days when gamers sat alone in front of their TVs challenging themselves against a game and a game alone. Even when we did used to play games with friends, we’d have to squeeze up together on the sofa and share a controller.

Nowadays, we can play games with our friends no matter where in the world they may be. Xbox Live has changed our entire existence, connecting us with other gamers from across the globe. This has completely destroyed the myth that gamers are anti-social loners, although the non game playing public sometimes chooses to ignore this little fact.

It has become a standard across the industry that any big game released, and many smaller ones as well, will come with multiplayer as standard. Even if the game seems to be a completely single player, campaign based experience, there will be a multiplayer mode shoehorned in somehow. Of course there are exceptions (think The Witcher 3) but these are indeed the exception and not the norm.

From a personal perspective, this writer himself has found that the games he plays – and how he plays them – has changed. I used to be all about single player games. For years I had an Xbox but didn’t bother getting involved with Xbox Live as I didn’t think that it was necessary for me. But fast forward to the now and nearly every game that I play is online; be it a co-op player versus environment game, or an online team versus team game, there always seems to be other players involved.

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For the most part, this seems like a good thing; as TV once taught us, it’s good to talk. It’s nice to share an experience with friends or to challenge ourselves against other players, but are we missing something? There was something special about having a personal moment with a game. It didn’t matter that when we punched the air in triumph there was no one to share our victory with, the gaming gods had seen our accomplishment and that was enough.

This change in the way we play games has, in turn, lead to a change in the way that developers think when creating games. A lot of games now seem to have a campaign that feels a little like an afterthought. This is a shame. For some of us older gamers it was the single player element of games that got us into gaming. We lost hours of our lives alone, playing with only ourselves and we wouldn’t change that for the world. The big question is, are younger gamers missing out on this kind of fun, or are we dinosaurs that need to evolve to keep up with the world?

What do you think? Should games keep on with this current trend and embrace wholeheartedly the social side of gaming, or are we being losing out with fewer solo player games? Do campaigns played alone feel like they are lacking something because you know that there is also the co-op experience to be enjoyed?

Let us know what you think in the comments, below.

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