Some of the most popular games today are online games, either squads thrown together in cooperative campaigns in games like Battlefield, or Battle Royale games like Fortnite and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG).
Compared to single-player games, humans still (generally) outsmart what passes for artificial intelligence in computer games.
On top of that, there's the added frisson of knowing that the other players are all real, living, breathing intelligent-ish human beings. That makes a game like PUBG feel that bit more personal and real, especially as the number of players left alive drops into single figures and you can hear the action kicking off around you, even if you can't see it.
Life's simply too short to ‘git gud' enough for online gaming to be a satisfying experience
And humans are less predictable and, unlike ever-obliging computer-controlled players, don't make the same mistakes time after time.
Yet that's also what frequently - or ultimately - makes online gaming a frustrating disappointment.
In the beginning
When a game explodes in popularity, it attracts gamers of all abilities and everyone has a lot to learn.
But over time, the best gamers with the fastest reflexes and plenty of time to practice will assert themselves, the flow of new players dries up and the fun will progressively be drained out of the game for those who end up at the bottom of the pile.
Those players have a choice: either ‘git gud' or go away and do something else. Invariably, they choose the latter.
Hence, in time, the players who are just a bit better than them become the new Kar98 fodder and they too can either lump it or play Bejeweled 3 instead, and so the vicious circle turns.
It's no fun being the liability in a team-based co-op multiplayer, either, and woe betide newbies who drop in late to the party.
All that is before you consider toxic communities and cheating, and it doesn't take too many toxic individuals or cheats to turn an addictive game into a ‘why bother?'.
"I haven't outgrown gaming, but I outgrew online gaming years ago. Servers full of adolescent ass hat virgins trying to tell me how good my mother was last night. I'd rather enjoy the games I play."
"I have tried multiplayer games before but they are not for me. I personally found online games to be monotonous and boring. I like to progress at my own speed and complete everything the game has to offer."
"With the amount of toxicity and cheating in many online games, I almost exclusively play single-player games lately."
"Multi player used to be fun for me but it all boils down to the same crap now it's all kids that shouldn't be playing 18-rated games, screaming into the mic because they are all trying to be edgelords."
"Too many juveniles, trolls, griefers, cheaters, [and] sociopaths in multiplayer. At least bots don't cheat. I also tend to have relatively high latency, which doesn't help me avoid death in a multiplayer first-person shooter."
"PvP games pit you against cheaters, haxorz and mouthy kids who have nothing better to do than play games repetitively all day every day, refining their twitch-shooting abilities to levels far beyond anything I could manage even when I had their kind of free time. If my idea of fun was getting my backside handed to me over and over by [people] who live to abuse others, I'd walk naked out of my house to pick fights with the local gang."
The responses no doubt surprised the journalist posing the question, who couched it in such a way as to imply that single-player games were as quaint and old fashioned as Mary Berry, driving gloves, or paper doilies.
But they also suggest that for many gamers, perhaps a majority, the allure of online multiplayer gaming quickly wears off. Not just because of the cheats and the griefers, but because life's simply too short to ‘git gud' enough for it to be a satisfying experience.
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