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4 things multiplayer gamers want in 2022 and beyond
Sep 27, 2022|7 Min
4 things multiplayer gamers want in 2022 and beyond

Unity surveyed over 1,400 multiplayer gamers in the US, UK, Japan, and Korea to find out what multiplayer gamers want from their experiences so you can get a head start on planning your next project.

Developing multiplayer games can require more up-front work to get running – like specialized expertise, ongoing service, and up-front capital and maintenance costs.

In that sense, multiplayer game development is more of an investment than single player game creation – so you need to design the player experience right in order to find success.

But what’s most important to multiplayer gamers? We surveyed players across the globe to find out.

In each country (US, UK, Japan, Korea), we focused on two categories of multiplayer gamers: Casual and core.

  • Casual gamers: Those who spend at least two hours gaming per week, of which at least 30 minutes is playing multiplayer
  • Core gamers: Those who spend at least four hours playing multiplayer games in any combination of the following traditionally multiplayer genres: Shooter (battle royale, FPS, third person shooter), MOBA, MMO, racing, sports, or fighting

We collected responses from approximately 1,400 gamers, split about 50/50 between the core and casual groups. Here’s what we found.

1. Most people play games – and prefer multiplayer titles

One thing we found is that demand for multiplayer games is massive, and people around the world are playing a lot of multiplayer titles without walled gardens. More than half the global population (52%) play games, and of those gamers, 77% play multiplayer games.

Additionally, crossplay is a powerful tool that is helping fuel deeper engagement with multiplayer gaming – with those who spend the most time playing cross-play titles also being the ones spending the most time playing multiplayer games.

2. Social factors are prime decision (and engagement) drivers

Features that make playing with others easier are significant factors when gamers are choosing a new multiplayer title to invest their time in, and also impact enjoyment of games they’re actively playing.

Bar chart depicting the most important features for multiplayer gamers in descending order by percent of respondents choosing the feature in their top three.

Players want to easily connect with their friends through shared gaming experiences. When choosing a new multiplayer game, the most important in-game feature is the ability to chat with friends.

When it comes to how they like to chat, 52% of respondents prefer creating chat parties with menus inside of their games, while 25% most prefer using a separate device/software solution, and only 15% of respondents preferred using a separate device.

This indicates that investing in a smart in-game player comms solution is a good move for your multiplayer titles.

Bar chart depicting the top features that lead to an enjoyable multiplayer experiences in descending order of importance.

Also ranking highly in must-have features for a multiplayer game is a short wait to join a match, with 29% of gamers ranking this in their top three.

Tip 💡 Invest in social features – like friends lists, parties, and in-game comms – for your multiplayer title to give reasons a player to choose your game and build a community within it.
3. Core and casual gamers have different spending habits, but overall, both invest long term

Most multiplayer gamers stay engaged with games post launch and will spend on content to keep their experiences fresh, with over half of multiplayer gamers (61%) reported having purchased some amount of multiplayer game DLC content in the last thirty days.

Bar chart depicting differences in the buying habits (DLC) of multiplayer gamers over a 30-day period between core and casual gamers.

When it comes to the breakdown between core and casual gamers, there are a few key differences in how they spend on extra content.

Core gamers are almost twice as likely to spend 20 or more USD/GBP on DLC and casual gamers are slightly more likely to spend in the sub-20 USD/GBP band for their extra content.

Tip 💡 Keep fresh content and experiences rolling into your game updates to increase the longevity of your game and keep your players coming back for more. They’re willing to pay if you’re willing to provide.
4. Casual and core audiences both enjoy genres across the board

Casual gamers aren’t relegated to specific genres like card and puzzle games. Aside from FPS, fighting, and sports – where more core gamers report having played a title within the last week – there’s a relatively even split of core and casual gamers enjoying games in every genre.

In fact, on average, across all genres, there’s a less than 10 percentage point difference between core and casual gamers who have played a title within the genre in the last week.

For example, 51% of core gamers played a role-playing game in the last week, versus 46% of casual gamers.

Bar chart depicting differences in genres played between core and casual gamers at the time of the survey.

As mentioned, FPS, fighting, and sports titles have the biggest difference in popularity with core and casual audiences, with a 23, 16, and 16 percent difference between the audiences respectively.

Card games have the most even split of casual versus core gamers (43% vs 44%), with racing, simulation, puzzle, and RPGs tied for second place.

Tip 💡 Don’t let your planned genre box you into thinking you’ll only reach a certain audience. Knowing that there are people out there for all kinds of games, across core and casual gamers, might just open up the opportunity for you to build your dream game for an audience you hadn’t yet considered.
Unlock the full findings

Dive deeper into the full findings of our 2022 multiplayer report by downloading the PDF.

Starting on a new multiplayer game project? Get everything you need to create your game, connect your players, and empower communication from our Multiplayer suite of products.

Unity is looking to equip studios of all sizes with both the knowledge and tools needed to deliver on these experiences for years to come. Get involved with us and the community by heading over to our Unity Gaming Services forum.