Analysis of game mechanics and their correlation with the number of players required to experience gameplay. In the article, we dive deep into various game genres, uncovering the optimal player counts for each and analyzing minimum technical requirements for the specific game type.

We survey how single-player games, such as immersive story-driven adventures or puzzle challenges, provide engaging experiences for solo players. Dive into the analysis of 1vs1 multiplayer games, where intense competitions, fighting games, or duels come alive with two players battling head-to-head.

Explore the cooperative gameplay dynamics of multiplayer shooters, RPGs, or team-based MOBA games that usually require team sizes ranging from 4 to 6 players. Uncover the grand scale of massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), where the core mechanics run around vast player interactions and cooperation.

Expand your knowledge and discover the perfect player count for your favorite game genres, from solo adventures to epic multiplayer worlds.

The definition of what is a game mechanic

Game mechanics definition says that it’s a multi-component structure that acts as a framework for a structure called a game. This framework contains all the basic rules by which the game works, the actions that users can perform, and the feedback they receive from the game. These components together add up the user experience that is formed by the players.

All video game mechanics, from simple games with jumping or shooting to more complex ones with decision-making, management, and other features, are based on the use of certain skills of the players. Some games allow you to develop human skills such as problem-solving, strategic thinking, reaction, etc.

Most frequently played game mechanics

The popularity of certain game mechanics is primarily related to the platform on which these games prevail. According to the New Zoo Global Games Market Report 2022, 53% of the total gaming market is occupied by mobile games, while Console and boxed PC games account for 27% and 19% respectively, which in total is less than the entire mobile segment.

New Zoo Global Games Market Report 2022

This affects the game mechanics that users play. In the Statista Game Genres 2022 Report in the United States, game mechanics that are mostly played are predominantly mobile only. These are generally single-player non-multiplayer games based on short play sessions, level-by-level progression, and minimal user interaction.

Statista Game Genres 2022 Report in the United States

However, in the Hardcore games segment, the preferences of the players are different, so games are built completely differently. These games are based on the principles of interaction between players and focused on their needs such as social interaction, rivalry, the desire to win, teamwork, etc. The more players participate in the game and interact with each other, the more social-oriented actions are integrated into the gameplay, the more popular such games are.

Based on the Statista Hardcore Gaming Genres 2022 Report the top 3 most frequently played hardcore game mechanics are multiplayer.

Statista Hardcore Gaming Genres 2022 Report

This is due to the fact that the majority of hardcore games players make their choice in favor of competition with other users or teams in order to win, and get a leading position in the ranking. They may prefer interaction with players more than other features of the game. Often, users enter the game only to see and chat with their friends, whom they know online only. At the same time, they pay less attention to other game functions such as earning in-game income or completing in-game achievements, missions, or campaigns.

Previously, we did a video game checklist to analyze and compare game types and mechanics that apply to each of them. This time our analysis is aimed to structure and connect the types of game mechanics and the number of players required for each of them. In addition to defining game mechanics, we provide some comments about the technical side needed for each category of games.

Here’s a breakdown of game types based on the players’ amount and what game mechanics are associated with each category.

Single-player Games

Single-player Games Mechanics

Single-player games are gaming experiences designed for individual players, providing engaging gameplay and storytelling without the need for multiplayer interaction. These game types primarily require front-end development, with minimal backend necessities like user databases, authentication, leaderboards, and basic data storage.

Game mechanics:

  • Puzzle game – level-based single-player games. Some hybrid mechanics are created for multiplayer (mostly 1v1 or co-op) player interaction;
  • Hyper-casual – built specifically for single-player fast-play gaming;
  • Adventure – story mode oriented games;
  • Platformers (Arcades) – came from the old arcade machines, where there was only a single-player mode. Many mechanics have been reworked in a new way, but the principles of the game remain the same;
  • Simulation – story games or visual performances focused on viewing or interacting with the surrounding virtual world alone;
  • Role-Playing Game (RPG) – usually the main story-based mode, but also with co-op mode or other multiplayer modes available;
  • Strategy – RTS games that are mostly focused on single-player story mode;
  • First-person shooters (story mode based only) – usually one of several available modes in a game;
  • Stealth (story mode based only) – mostly single-player games with co-op options available.

2-Player Games

1 vs 1 (2 players) gameplay mechanics

1 vs 1 (2 players) games are competitive gaming experiences where two players directly face off against each other.

From a technical perspective, these games require a focus on real-time online or local multiplayer providing players the opportunity to compete against each other. This involves network synchronization, handling player input, and ensuring smooth gameplay experiences. A big focus is on the development of the matchmaking functionality to create a balanced logic for the selection of opponents, competitive play, and interesting gameplay.

From a technical perspective, these games require a focus on real-time online or local multiplayer providing players the opportunity to compete against each other. This involves network synchronization, handling player input, and ensuring smooth gameplay experiences. A big focus is on the development of the matchmaking functionality to create a balanced logic for the selection of opponents, competitive play, and interesting gameplay.

List of game mechanics:

  • Dueling – players engage in direct combat against each other, such as in fighting games or dueling card games;
  • Sports (e.g., tennis, boxing, martial arts) – sports that can only be played one on one;
  • 1vs1 shooters (often in a first-person perspective);
  • Chess – a classic board game with 1vs1 players gameplay. Can be played in a single-player mode also;
  • Dancing or rhythm-based games – mostly single-player when users play alone, or two-player games where two players can dance side by side simultaneously.

2-10 Player Games

2-10 player games mechanics list

These games are multiplayer experiences that connect small groups of players, allowing them to engage in various cooperative or competitive gameplay.

From a technical side, these games require the support of simultaneous gameplay among multiple players. This involves implementing networking capabilities for online or local multiplayer modes, ensuring smooth synchronization of game state and player actions. The technical design of such game mechanics also includes features such as matchmaking, game lobby management, player progression, and data storage. Frontend development focuses on creating intuitive user interfaces, responsive controls, and visually appealing multiplayer experiences, while backend development handles server-side functionalities, player data management, and multiplayer session handling.

Game mechanics:

  • Racing (multiplayer) – may be even more players involved;
  • Sports (e.g., football, basketball) – group sports games where several players can play for one team and several for another;
  • Board games – usually first existed in the physical version, then were adapted to the digital ones;
  • Card games – both physical and digital games;
  • Battle card games – games like Pokemon TCG which exist in both physical and digital versions;
  • Turn-based strategy – usually multiplayer modes exist in single-player RTS games where players can battle against each other;
  • Cooperative FPS, RPG, RTS, survival games – usually co-op mode exists as a part of a game when players can progress the game story mode together playing for a common team;
  • Party board games – these games are specifically designed to be played in a social setting, often with a group of friends or family members. Can exist in both physical and digital versions;
  • Local multiplayer party games – mostly designed in a physical version to be played with a group of people in the same physical location.

Team vs Team Games

Team vs Team Games Core Mechanics

Team vs Team (about 5 players per team) games are multiplayer gaming experiences where groups of players compete against each other as organized teams.

From a technical perspective, Team vs Team mechanics in video game require robust multiplayer functionality to support team-based gameplay. This involves implementing networked multiplayer features, and matchmaking systems to ensure balanced team composition, real-time communication channels, and synchronization of game state across all players.

Backend development plays a vital role in managing server infrastructure, handling matchmaking algorithms, and maintaining player data and progress.

List of game mechanics:

  • Online FPS or 3rd person shooters (team-based) – multiplayer shooters focused on team interaction and the ability to play only in a team.
  • Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) – classic arena-based game mode or an entire game where two teams compete against each other with around 5 players per team;
  • Battle royale games – classic battle royale game mode or a whole game where users battle in a single arena against each other. The number of players in a single arena can be 100 and more.

Massively Multiplayer Online Games

Massively Multiplayer Online Video Games Mechanics

MMO games are expansive virtual worlds that connect players from around the globe, allowing them to interact, cooperate, and compete in shared online environments.

From a technical standpoint, MMO games require complex multicomponent infrastructure to support the massive number of players simultaneously connected to the game world. This involves server clusters, load balancing, and data management to handle the constant influx of player data and interactions. Networking is crucial to enable seamless player-to-player interactions, whether for cooperative quests, PvP battles, or trading.

Backend development focuses on scalable server architecture, database management, and complex game logic systems. Frontend development encompasses creating immersive visuals, user-friendly interfaces, and smooth gameplay experiences that can handle large-scale player interactions.

Game mechanics examples:

  • Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) – huge virtual worlds for battles between a large number of players;
  • Social simulation games (virtual worlds) – focus on providing a simulated environment where players can engage in various gaming and social activities, set up and customize their experience, and build interactions with other players;
  • Metaverses (autonomous ecosystems) – broader feature-rich environments that may connect multiple virtual worlds where users can interact with countless other users. Focused not only on the gaming component and social interactions but also on its own autonomous virtual economy and ability to function autonomously.
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