Online multiplayer has been going on for two console generations, evolving and slowly getting better. I’ve talked about why I generally avoid all multiplayer situations when I’m playing video games. That aversion didn’t use to be the case. In fact, I used to love when I could join in a co-op game with others, whether that was a round of Tekken or a Mario game. I blared through LittleBigPlanet with a partner enjoying it the entire time. However, I’ve been weighing the pros and cons of the current state of online multiplayer.
This post will be edited and added to as new pros and cons arise and various facts change.
Pro: There is Always Someone to Play With
One of the best results that comes from online multiplayer is the near constant flood of potential players. One simply needs a stable internet connection and then they can connect to anyone in the world. The ability to connect so easily to the internet just wasn’t possible 15 years ago. However, as things changed and internet speeds spiked. Now it is easy to connect to someone else. With an endless stream of players clamoring to get in on a game. There is almost always someone to play with provided the game is still popular. There is no effort on your part to find a friend who will play with you. Instead, there will simply be someone there to play. That is a convenience that I can get down with.
Con: Servers Don’t Stay on Forever
Online multiplayer is contingent on having servers up and running. That means that as a games popularity wanes less people are online and less servers are necessary. When that number dips low enough, a company can decide to take the game servers offline, ending all further multiplayer. There is absolutely nothing that you can do to play online. Which is one of the major downfalls of online play. Especially on games that hinge on the multiplayer experience. Yes, there is a story in every Call of Duty game, but I don’t hear people shouting from the rooftops that you need to play the latest CoD because of the story. People play Call of Duty because of multiplayer. Getting into an arena and getting down and dirty. It costs money to run servers and when there just aren’t enough people playing to continue to invest in running those servers, they will go down. For games like Titanfall, that means the death of a game. It can no longer thrive once the multiplayer is gone because there is no single player involved in the game.
Pro: Seamless Co-Op
If Destiny proved anything it was that seamless co-op can be done wonderfully. A seamless co-op can be a big draw for a game. it allows for a greater persistence that can mean everything to a game. Matchmaking in games has been around for a while now. So has the ability to enter a friend’s game if there is some sort of invitation. Destiny took that a step further made a multiplayer experience seamless. I can enter someone else’s game without doing anything. It just works and that is a cool feature when you are plowing through an event you may not be strong enough yet to handle.
Con: Increase of Local Single Player Only
The unfortunate trend I’ve noticed as online multiplayer infiltrates more and more games is an increased number of games that do not support local multiplayer. Of any of the downfalls this is the most frustrating. More games have been opting to forgo the ability to play with someone else. Considering I now have the ability to log in with my PSN ID on my boyfriend’s PS4 while he is also logged in, it is a shame that so few games offer the opportunity to build off it. It would be great if I could log in and earn trophies as we play together. However, most games won’t even allow us to play together. Instead, more and more games are releasing as games that only support a single local player. Which leads into my next con below.
Pro: Multiplayer has evolved
One of the great things that has come from the rise of online multiplayer is the evolution the game style has gone through. Previously multiplayer was limited to your couch at home. Slowly that expanded to allow for those connected on the same network. We are now at a point where one just needs to turn on their console and games can be enjoyed cooperatively. The new opportunities and potential in the future is all there. As developers continue to think of new ways to reinvent and make multiplayer more interesting, gamers will continue to benefit.
Con: No Local Multiplayer
Tied inexplicalbly with the increase of local single player, the decline of local multiplayer is not a good thing. When there is no local multiplayer it forces a gamer to purchase another copy. That is exactly what a console manufacturer wants. If I wanted to play a game with someone else on my console, I can not do that. Destiny is an example of this as well. For a couple weeks we only had 1 Destiny copy. There was no way for us to play through the missions together. I just had to get a copy. However, for someone that didn’t have a another console, I would have had to buy one. That isn’t a benefit to a gamer.