Multiplayer games have long been popular, often forming part of a social occasion between friends. But increasingly, the trend has been to bring more competition into multiplayer gaming. So whether playing a private game with friends or in an online arena with strangers, these games have offered the chance to pit your wits against other people rather than the machine. As with other aspects of online gaming, many have welcomed this trend, while others feel it has several drawbacks.
The rise of e-sports
While gaming remains a hobby for most people, there are real rewards to be won. The increased competition in online multiplayer games has resulted in professional players participating in national and international competitions. While these can be played over the internet, many are also played in huge venues. In 2019, The Fortnite World Cup took place in the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York, drawing almost 20,000 people, while in the UK that same year was the first e-premier league finals at a cinema venue in London. While the ongoing Covid pandemic has slowed this trend, there will undoubtedly be an increase in such events in the future.
The industry around e-sports is also growing with large cash pots and sponsorship deals for elite players. While the debate surrounding whether or not e-sports can truly be defined as a sport will likely rage on for some time yet, it can’t be denied that the lines are continually blurring. Several of the world’s biggest sporting franchises, such as Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, have already started to recruit players to kick-start their FIFA and Rocket League teams and those teams can be seen wearing the club’s official jerseys when competing. Some organisations also employ coaches and nutritionists to ensure they stay on the top of their game – it’s definitely becoming a very professional scene.
Reasons for popularity
As games have become more sophisticated, adding real competition helps them become more immersive and realistic. While the rewards are attractive, the challenge is the main factor in a satisfying gaming experience for many. Making the competitions multiplayer helps transform them into an online social experience, and this ability to play competitive games together online has been particularly beneficial during the lockdowns of the coronavirus pandemic when meeting in person has been limited.
Fans of online competitions also point out the benefits of competitive gaming as it helps build good problem-solving skills, improves hand-eye coordination, and develops strategy skills.
Those who do not like the trend towards increased competition find it harder to find games designed for them. They feel that there is not enough emphasis on playing for fun when winning becomes everything and miss the more collaborative elements of multiplayer games when teams can work together. Some also feel that with so much emphasis on the competition, game developers are paying less attention to good graphics and immersive storylines.
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While it is true that multiplayer games are becoming more competitive, there is still pointy of choice for those who do not enjoy the competition, with Minecraft, The Sims 4, and Monument Valley being some notable titles.
For those who enjoy the fast-paced competitive world, further developments, more competitions both online and in-person, and greater rewards mean that the future is looking exciting.