Why Are Single Player Games Still Thriving?

While live service and GaaS formulas continue to grow in the connected world of gaming, single player, story driven titles are still finding their own monumental success. Over the last couple of years it's been the single player titles like Breath of the Wild, Horizon Zero Dawn or God of War that have turned heads, despite the ongoing success of multiplayer heavy games. What makes the classic single player formula still so attractive?

Why Are Single Player Games Still Thriving?
Online and multiplayer gaming has flourished in the industry over the last decade of modern video games. The accessibility of playing online multiplayer matches via internet connectability has found itself on solid ground, providing unique experiences many of us were only dreaming of only a short two decades ago. And with multiplayer focused games continuing to push the limits of how long one game can last by making use of annual year-long content-riddled road maps, weekly updates and events, and dedicated player bases that keeps servers overflowing with eager trigger-happy gamers, it's hard to argue a future without multiplayer.

However, turning your attention over to the classic tried and true gaming formula of single-player, story driven campaigns and rich narrative experiences, it can be difficult to imagine the world of offline video games existing alongside a seemingly always connected industry. This vibrant and illustrious hobby of ours all began with single player gaming, it's what attracted so many of us nimble-handed gaming enthusiasts to the interactive medium, so why should we expect that to change? In a world where developers and publishers can net astounding financial numbers over the course of years if equipped with the right multiplayer gusto, what's keeping the success of solo-played and considerably less updated single-player experiences from continuing to thrive rather than dying off?

Over the course of the last decade, publishers and developing studios have taken what we know and love about the gaming medium and expanded it ten fold. The production value of big AAA titles (and even some indie titles) have soared through the roof, attracting irreplaceable talent and experienced veterans to the ever-evolving industry. Gripping narratives now become more immersive thanks to high-quality voice acting, well-written, deep and intricate plot lines on top of energizing game mechanics that all blend to keep players returning to the game world.

Free-to-play multiplayer titles, such as Apex Legends, offer competitive online matches with player counts climbing well into the millions.
But many of these features can be, and are, implemented into multiplayer games, so what makes them more satisfying or appealing in the single player scope? Diving into a world brimming with exploration at one's own pace provides a different experience outside of the world consisting of constant matchmaking and noisy online lobbies. It's the delightful pleasure of quickly hopping into your game of choice without the hassles of dealing with the complex nature of the online world that attracts many gamers to the single player experience. While many players seek the exceedingly gratifying thrill and growing anticipation of online matchmaking above the task list of mission objectives and solo play in single player games, there's also the competitive environment that can turn many casually demanding or isolated players away from the realm of multiplayer gaming.

The competitive drive of tackling AI opponents better adapted to a player's skill level also offers the ability to hone your skills with a more fluid and personable approach over the struggle of player-to-player competition. Indeed, the online world is teeming with well-practiced gamers offering a more challenging experience over the traditional AI-controlled gaming universe. However, the needless drive to compete over fellow gamers isn't always at the top of every gamer's list of priorities. More often than not, an enjoyable experience emanates from controlling a strong and durable protagonist unhindered by the threat of over-antagonizing online players making a mess of the world in which you, the solo player, wish to populate.

Which brings us to another point. Single player games offer something that most online multiplayer games can't: a world filled with immersion and the types of distractions only the creators intended. Call this artificial, manufactured diversion if you must, but to us single player enthusiasts it's exactly what we're looking for. A world undisturbed by the jokers and griefers that populate the online community. Yes, it's often an enjoyable experience to play alongside friends in a cooperative titles, like Monster Hunter World or Far Cry 5. But what's even more satisfying is staying far, far away from those players fueled by the frustration of others as they mercilessly slaughter any chance of enjoyment to be had in any given online world.

Rich narratives, unforgettable characters and vivid, dynamic worlds are brought to life in single player games as some of the most memorable gaming experiences today.
The single player experience is a secure formula where video games first made their mark as a medium that provides an escape from reality. Often, those indulging in the single player worlds are looking for a break from social interaction, for a chance to unwind with characters and worlds that will guide them through a riveting story. Or, perhaps just an experience where mindlessly conquering the world around them works better than dealing with the inconveniences of the multiplayer world.

Whatever your pleasure may be, there's still plenty of room for all types of gaming. Online gaming has been showing its fangs for quite a while now, without any sign of it slowing down. However, single player games are still leaving their mark year in and year out with memorable worlds, characters and moments that just can't be found in multiplayer titles. Regardless of your poison, in a world where there always seems to be something for everyone, the video game industry has managed to evolve into new and exciting territories with online gaming, while happily catering to those pleased to stay in the golden era of single player experiences. Let's try and keep it that way, shall we?

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