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Multiplayer is a mode of play for computer and video games in which multiple people can play the same game at the same time. In most multiplayer games, players compete against each other in a test of skill. There are some games in which players ally to achieve a common goal, and in others, groups of players form teams which fight as a group.

Multiplayer gaming can be achieved in a number of ways:

Networked / System Link

Two or more consoles or PCs are connected via a network protocol (either locally or via the Internet), allowing players to participate in the same game, each player having their own screen.


  • If set up correctly, no player can see what the other players are doing, allowing for surprise attacks and more effective immersion.


  • Multiple consoles or PCs are required, as well as the necessary networking equipment and extra TVs if using consoles, which makes it difficult to organise for a large number of players.


Two or more players (usually a maximum of 4) participate in the same game using a single game console or PC, with a single screen split into the necessary amount of viewports for the number of players. Most common with third- or first-person shooters.


  • Only one console is required, making it easy to 'pick up and play' multiplayer games.


  • Each person's screen is cut to a fraction of the usual size, making it difficult to see details, and giving one player the advantage of a larger viewscreen when playing with uneven numbers.
  • Players can easily see other players' viewpoints without gaining attention to themselves, giving them an advantage over other players by, for example, pinpointing their position or gaining knowledge of the weapon they are carrying.


Two or more players take turns to play a game using one console or PC. This is obviously only effective in turn-based games.


Similar to Hot-seat, two or more players take turns playing a game, with the details of the turn being sent to other players via email. Each player has a copy of the playing field and makes the necessary changes to keep the playing field accurate. This process may be performed manually or automatically by the game software.

This method is also often used in role-playing games.

Content Sharing

Each player is playing a single-player game, but the world they are playing in is populated with other player's creations.

This method often only occurs outside of the game software itself, with players taking the initiative to share items they have created. The game Spore by Will Wright integrates this method into the game itself and it forms a large part of the gameplay. Another example is World of Goo by 2DBoy, where the "World of Goo Corp." sandbox level, where - if you connect to the internet - other people's WofGCorp. towers will be seen on clouds in the background.

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