Multiplayer support for console games has declined

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Contrary to popular belief, multiplayer isn’t taking over the industry, at least according to some research done by EEDAR. In fact, there’s been a heavy decline in multiplayer support in games released in the USA on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Speaking to Penny Arcade’s Geoffrey Zatkin, the Chief Operating Officer of EEDAR gave a run down on the numbers:

You can see that in 2006, one year into the release of the Xbox 360 and the launch year of the PlayStation 3, 67% of the games had online multiplayer, 58% had offline multiplayer and 28% had no multiplayer.

By 2012, you can see that only 42% have online multiplayer, a drop of 25%, 44% have offline multiplayer, a drop of 14%, and 41% have no multiplayer, a rise of 16%. So, over time, fewer and fewer high definition console games are including multiplayer as part of their core offering.

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But seeing these numbers doesn’t make the recent uproar about tacked-on multiplayers any less valid. Could it be that the 42% of games that do have the multiplayer feature are actually the only games we’re really interested in playing? So it just feels like multiplayer is being squeezed in everywhere? The numbers however also supports what was said in Geoff’s “Single player games aren’t dead“ article. One type of game is not being replaced by another, the market simply puts emphasis on the cases where this feature is being added, hoping it appeals to a wider audience.

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