Playing video games has become more popular than ever in the past decade, with more options than ever for hardcore gamers and mobile games making gaming appealing to people who may never have considered buying a console or gaming PC. The market for games has spread so wide now that professional gamers are now a thing, thanks to the advent of competitive eSports, and there are also scores of people making a living by reviewing or simply playing games on YouTube.
Online Gaming Isn’t the Only Gaming!
Of course, a lot of the changes to the gaming landscape are as a result of the improvements in online gaming. Many of the things that draw new gamers into the market like MMOs and social mobile games, are only possible because we now have the broadband speeds and mobile technology to play games online in a fast, stable way. However, there are still a lot of gamers out there who play almost exclusively on single player games that don’t require you to be online while playing.
What Are Offline Players Playing?
Probably the best-known examples of hugely popular games that don’t require any online activity are large open world RPGs. Franchises like Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, The Witcher and Fable all have huge fanbases, and little to no gameplay that requires online or multiplayer. Then there are story-based adventure games, such as Telltale’s collection of games and the surprise cult hit Life Is Strange, which are also single player experiences.
These are not the only examples of games that have almost no online features, or even none at all. Party style games which are designed to be played either alone or in a local multiplayer setting at home, such as dancing games and guitar and music games, also tend to be played without online features, despite the fact they are very much social.
At the ultra-casual end of the scale, many mobile puzzle games are intended to be played solo, and though you can always use online features to compare your scores with others or connect on social networks, these are features a lot of players don’t really care about. For mobile gamers, offline games can be important as it means they can have something to play when they don’t have their device online, such as to kill time on planes, or when using a tablet without a SIM and outside of Wi-Fi range.
As well as the success of the games listed above, another indicator that not all gamers want online features was the furor created when the Xbox One was first announced. It was said that it would be an ‘always online’ console, and this annoyed the market so much that Microsoft actually changed their plans so that the console released didn’t have this. Some players don’t necessarily have unlimited home broadband, which would make it impossible for them to use the console, whereas others who favor single player games and don’t want to make use of online services like Xbox Live prefer the option to play without signing in or being thrown out of a game if their internet connection is disrupted.
It is interesting to see how far online gaming has come, but it is also worth noting that there is still a large and healthy market for offline or single player gaming experiences.