To My Fellow 'Almost-Offline' Gamers: We Are The 20%

It's OK if you don't want to play video games online with tons of people. I'm with you. And so are lots of other people. Lots of other people.

On Tuesday, I was bantering with Peter Moore, the second-in-command at the massive game publisher EA, about Battlefield 3. He was "delighted" about the game, a game he and much of the rest of the gaming world thinks of as a primarily multiplayer thing.

Millions of customers satisfied! Hordes of people playing the game online! A job well done for the game's developers at DICE!

Viva online multiplayer!

It's enough to make you wonder if singleplayer campaigns — Battlefield 3's far weaker component — even matter.

Oh, solo campaigns matter. They matter to me, who rarely plays games online.

And, what do you know?

Peter Moore had a great stat for me that proves that I'm not alone. Not only that, but he seemed to understand that gamers like me (and you?) don't want to disconnect completely. We want to be online, but only sort of.

Here's the stat he cited, referring to Battlefield 3's player base:

"Our telemetry might tell us that as many as 20 per cent just want to play almost offline — connected yet offline."

I had not heard the term "almost offline" before, but as soon as Moore described it, I waved my hand to signal that he was talking about me. These people "do like getting stats and what-have-you [from an online connection]," he explained, but they don't like to play online, perhaps because they're intimidated (other parts of that 20 per cent, he said, are simply completely offline because they don't have internet access.)

I'm part of the 20 per cent, primarily because I don't have the time to practise or the interest to dedicate myself to getting good at Battlefield. I prefer to hop from one game to another, never honing my skills in any one game, and always eager to play through the next singleplayer adventure designed by the finest game creators in the world.

Moore told me he's played Battlefield 3's campaign all the way through. And, sure, he says, there's a place for singleplayer campaigns. He considers the one in Battlefield 3 to be good prep for multiplayer. "I felt it was useful for me, because it kind of trained me to get used to get the courage to get out there online," he said. "I felt better equipped having played the singleplayer. But I think DICE will tell you the real focus was on multiplayer.

The number two man at EA tried to give me courage. Moore pointed out that Battlefield is "not like Counter-Strike where you get slaughtered in 30 seconds". He joins squads in Battlefield 3 with EA employees, who he says help keep him safe. (A ha! I just became editor-in-chief of Kotaku in January. Now I finally know what to tell the staff under me to do.)

I am fine with being in the 20 per cent. I'm even happier to know that I'm part of the "almost-offline" tribe. We're not in a binary world of online gamers and offline gamers. Some of us take the middle approach. We like to play. We like to be connected.

We just don't like to be that connected. Leave that to the 80 per cent.


    Good article. I find myself in this group

    100% agree. Although I would have thought our minority was larger than that. Outside of Battlefield 3 circles, surely we are the vast majority?

    I'm in this group as well. My Steam and PSN friends lists have about 5 people each - all people I know in real life. I don't really play with many other people. Unless it's for the odd FPS game in which case interaction with randoms is kind of.... inevitable, lol.

    I'm not interested in making friends with randoms online either, which some of my pals find a little odd. On the occasions I do game online, I much prefer to do it with friends. This isn't to say I won't game with anyone I don't know IRL, but I won't be likely to make friends with them or strike up a conversation.

    Probably sounds just plain old anti-social, but I don't have the time or the energy to pretend it's otherwise.

      I completely agree with you and am in the same boat.

    I'm in the 20% as well. At the moment, I'm enjoying flicking between a few indie games on Steam that I bought during Humble Bundle 4. I don't have hours to spend online and just grab some gaming time when I can.

    I'm an offline gamer.
    To be honest, the best multiplayer games are the ones where you sit within punching distance from whoever you are playing with.
    Prevents any general bad sportsmanship.

      EXACTLY. Much better to play within thumping distance, has the added bonus of being able to split a pizza or a bottle of jack.
      Haven't played online since 05 when I had a shot at UT2k4, I need more games with co-op.

    It would more interesting to know the ratio of games sold Vs. online pass activations.I have spent maybe 50 hours online with BF3 and 10 mins single player.

    If he mentions the fact he just became editor in cheif one more time....... *rage*

    I enjoy both worlds and see what they both have to offer... I get more out of gaming then the 20%(?)

    btw 20% means nothing. How many people only play online games? When we find out the answer to that. Then the 20% might mean something... might.

    To each his own, but I only have about 30 hours on BF3 and I have acceptable kill/death rates, so it's not as if you have to go out of your way to get better at a game. I used to be like this but I just bit the bullet and started playing online more and I eventually stopped caring.

    In the 20% because I play for the story... playing online multiplayer seems for the people who love gameplay instead.

      I'm in this group that I play mainly for the story. Regardless of game genre, whether it be RPG, action, shooters, even RTS, I only play through the single player campaign/missions for the story. After completing the single player contents, I'm done with the game until the next time I decide to go through the stories again.

    I don't bother with online play. There are too many foul-mouthed tween Americans shouting in my ear and, frankly, I'm crap, get killed almost instantly and cannot be bothered to take the time needed to become any good.

    Great to see I'm not alone. I find most MP's to be boring and repetition. run around get shot spawn, do it again. I would like to see more extended story lines in DLC rather than just new maps and weapon packs too.

    In my mind the 90's were the golden years for multiplayer. Street Fighter, Mario Kart 64, Killer Instinct, Golden Eye, Sega Rally, Point Blank are just a few fine examples of multiplayer games. All offline.

    Your mates just had to show up at your place, and didn't need to fork out for the latest rig and their own copy of the game just to play.

    Or even in the arcades with strangers, who had enough fucking manners and self respect to take a win or loss gracefully.

    Pirated bf3, clocked Campaign, brought a key for $25.Activated it and never touched it since:) Moved on to the next game.

      pffft. thats just dumb.

    20% of the people that play Battlefield, mind you. I bet it's a heck of a lot more than 20% if you look at the entire gaming population.

    Personally I have no interest in multiplayer FPS. I get my multiplayer fix by playing MMOs.

    I am very much part of that group i had only connected my Wii online once, Until I recently got Monster Hunter Tri and that was for the Metroid Prime Trilogy Green Vouchers.

    I have now gotten sick of Tri's Online Mode - I ended up hacking to unlock the last of the online only items i didn't have (had to learn about the Homebrew stuff to do it though) - because it sure beats waiting for decent groups to fight against Jho or Alatreon, the event quests or being ask to leave because you don't use a specific weapon.

    Not to mention when the most players I've seen playing the game online start to appear sometime after 8pm.

    Now i can move onto Skyward Sword and forget about Having to play online

    I'm in the 20% too.

    I hate multiplayer.

    I love online multiplayer - the best thing about this generation hands down for me - although has a new stats page that they do for you and it shows clearly that although I'm online - more than 80% of my gaming is on single player games!

    Partly this is because a lot of online games are similar so you quickly work out which ones you want to play, the variety in gaming is mostly found in single player.

    I've been drifting from online multiplayer for the past year, social networking too. Although I still love LAN parties with a group of friends.

    I have to play offline.. Bought the game used for my PS3 and the code isn't valid. And I refuse to pay the 10$ online pass cash grab..

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