Sunday 13th January 2019

Gaming is serious business today. Not only is the gaming industry raking in the moolah more than ever, but it has somehow managed to still keep the community it caters to hooked and engaged over a period of 40 years. Gaming titles, informally labelled “AAA” referring to the publisher’s clout, are attempting to break new ground in terms of what can be achieved and what new horizons can be touched within a game. In recent times, however, it seems that the community has become increasingly irate over the increased prevalence of online multiplayer-centric games. The industry’s infatuation with online multiplayer has only become more accentuated with the rise of Esports. Companies like EA (FIFA Ultimate Team) and Activision (Call of Duty) have either started to turn a blind eye to the single-player mode experience or completely done away with it as they can monetize more aspects of the online multiplayer modes in real-time by adding loot boxes and expansion packs. It has become quite similar to online sports betting in that sense, with this slight gambling undertone coming into play.

While there are success stories like Fortnite and PUBG when we talk about the online multiplayer experience, gamers clearly don’t take kindly to being forcibly pushed into the online realm, as evidenced by how Fallout 76 has turned out to be a complete bust after publisher Bethesda teased a sequel and instead gave a shoddy, incomplete mess which didn’t sit well with the community since they wanted a successor to the lore created by the storyline-centric RPG, Fallout 4.

While EA’s VP of investor relations implied that there is nothing to gain out of the single-player experience anymore and they shall be shooting for a “cloud gaming” platform, recent trends pertaining to how single-player games do suggest otherwise. Rockstar Games’ Red Dead Redemption 2 was quite literally a behemoth of the gaming industry, trampling over almost every game in terms of the vastness of the world and the number of possibilities and activities the player can get up to. It earned rave reviews on Metacritic (97/100) and has gamers all over the world fawning over its aforementioned virtues. One can conclude, therefore, that single player games are by no means a thing of the past.

Let’s take a brief look at what makes single player games better than multiplayer ones.

1. The price of being online in the first place

Now, online multiplayer have been on the shelves for a long time and have spawned some iconic games which remain relevant even today. Take CSGO for example, which still remains a fun game to play and is still earning its publishers and creators revenue they probably didn’t foresee when they created the game. While CSGO players probably don’t have to pay any sort of middleman to access online multiplayer features, next-gen console users (Playstation 4/Xbox One/ Nintendo Switch) have to pay an online subscription to access multiplayer features. The schemes vary, ranging from monthly to quarterly to even yearly. To put things into perspective, the prices charged aren’t exactly a drop in the ocean. They all add up after a certain period of time and for casual gamers, it might prove to be quite an exorbitant and seemingly unnecessary investment.

Compared to this, a complete single-player experience doesn’t need one to splash the bucks on different paywalls to access certain features. It’s quite straightforward too; you pay the bucks for a title and then you play what you paid for. This sounds infinitely much better, and fair, than going through a series of paywalls which you aren’t intimated about at the time of your purchase.

2. The “Troll Culture” prevalent on the online platform

While the word “troll” has now acquired a host of meanings ranging from maliciously bad-mouthing someone online to merely poking fun at something with the use of pictures and text, being a troll on an online gaming platform is more or less being the former. It’s been common knowledge for years that online gaming involves a minority of gamers who take things a tad bit too far, spurting out a host of expletives and rather unpleasant epithets towards their fellow gamers when they’re not able to play the game the way they want or basically aren’t able to do very well at it. This phenomenon is usually illustrated in games which have a voice chat feature, enabling players to speak to each other. This means that you’re more or less prone to being abused incessantly by a complete stranger, and it doesn’t even have to be warranted.

Instead, you can just opt to avoid the hassle altogether and just get a proper single player game which doesn’t involve you becoming embroiled in a slinging match of sorts and play the game and cherish it the way it should be.

3. Inconsistent internet connections

It is a different matter if you have a proper internet connection at home and your provider is pretty good at their job. However, this isn’t the case with most people who own an internet connection and it is a technology that is still a bit away from achieving absolute efficacy in its functioning. Most online multiplayer servers function, especially those in AAA titles, under the impression that one’s internet connection would be prim and proper and completely immune to lags. This is keeping aside the fact that even these companies can’t acquire enough of the internet’s goodness to create stable servers. End result? A lot of hair-pulling and hardware smashed out of sheer frustration when a lag comes in the way of victory or a resurgence.

In comparison, a single player mode simply doesn’t need to deal with these compunctions. Insert the CD and play! Viola.

4. The intimate solitude of playing a single player game

Sometimes, it is just better to keep to oneself and single player modes enable that. For some, joining online multiplayer groups is neither thrilling nor tenable. People want a more interpersonal touch, which single player modes provide since you can just pick up and play and approach the mode in your own distinct way, depending upon how much scope the creator provides you.

5. No loot boxes

Loot boxes aren’t cool, end of. AAA titles don’t exactly come cheap when you go to purchase them from the store, so it feels quite lowly of gaming companies inserting these paywalls to further milk its customer base. In most cases, these loot boxes either disrupt or completely destroy gaming experiences, just in case the creator has conjured up a proper game which is quite rare since companies that insert loot boxes into their games usually don’t care much for the quality of the game.