« What Is A Social Game? [References] | Main | If You Measure It, Will They Come? [Resonance] »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Asynchronous multiplayer is still multiplayer. A leaderboard in an arcade is still a multiplayer experience. All multiplayer games contain single player activities, but that does not prevent them from being multiplayer in the end. Most designers who state that single player is an aberration use the broader definition. Let's not be trapped by the console designer's limited definition of multiplayer as 'concurrent play with strangers'.

To me it comes down to whether or not you are building or maintaining a relationship with other people. Most (but not all) human activities strive for this goal and so I'd ultimately expect most (but not all) games to also end up as multiplayer activities.

take care,


I think you're stretching "multi-player" to breaking point there Danc. High scores in an arcade could certainly be said to act as an incentive, and similarly reciprocity in CityVille is certainly an advantage. But in neither case are the actions of players present at the same time (synchronously) directly affecting the others' game experience.

That is how I would characterise multi-player. For it to be a multi-player experience there has to be significant and present interaction between players (collaboratively or competitively). My visiting your city in CityVille and collecting some coins for you is not multi-player. It's single-player with a slight extension.

As to whether the goal is to build a relationship. I don't think that is always (or even commonly) the case. Certainly some games are built to do that, but more commonly games are looking to absorb the player in a world, and have the player emotionally connect with the game and perhaps its creators.

Great comment, as ever.

Meelad Sadat

Where I find myself usually shaking my head with most game-related editorial/commentary, here I'm more likely to be nodding along. Great piece.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Follow What Games Are

What Games Are is about game design, game development, games as art, craft, culture and industry and how you can make better games, written by Tadhg Kelly.

You can follow Tadhg on Twitter here:

You can also subscribe via email:

Or RSS (Google Reader etc):


Search What Games Are

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...