Starfield and Spider-Man 2 prove there’s always an appetite for singleplayers

By William Davis


Nov 7, 2023

Reading time: 2 min

In 2022, Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare II was the top-selling game of the year. 

Known for its expansive and immersive online shoot-outs, this was yet another indication that online multiplayer games were ahead of solo games in terms of popularity – the hugely impressive solo game Elden Ring came in second place.

Having said that, this year has seen the release of two incredibly popular games, one of them is Bethesda’s Starfield, and the other is Insomniac Games’ Spider-Man 2. What do both of these games have in common? They’re singleplayers that are played entirely for the story, rather than an online or multiplayer experience.

How big is the appetite for singleplayers?

The big question, then, is not whether there is an appetite for gaming – with Elden Ring selling 13.4 million copies last year, we know that the appetite is still there – but how big that appetite actually is and whether it will stay hungry. 

Without a doubt, singleplayer games offer something unique to players. Whether it’s to download Mac games for a quick getaway for half an hour in the evening or buying full-blown console releases for hundreds of hours worth of gaming, they are designed to immerse the player into a different world.

That’s the key when discussing how big the appetite might be. While online games have an obvious appeal, it’s hard to describe them as particularly immersive. For one, you’re playing against real people. Secondly, there is no definitive story as such. Most of the time, it’s about taking down as many people in the enemy team as possible. Fun, for sure. But not creatively engrossing.

Immersion for the win

There is a huge appetite for singleplayer games because they are designed to take you out of the real world and place you into a new one. A world where you can be whoever you want to be, whether that’s an astronaut in outer space or playing as Spider-Man swinging across the streets of Manhattan, and made to be won by you.

With currency global affairs causing a lot of anxiety, it has never been more important to champion solo games and experience all they offer. In 2023, despite the release of countless online games, it’s looking like the hugely popular Hogwarts Legacy will be the release that sells the most copies. Behind that, perhaps both Starfield and Spider-Man 2. The top three games of the year could all be singleplayer games, and that shows how much people want to immerse themselves in a different story than their own. 

When it comes to the future, too, this appetite doesn’t look likely to wane. People will always want distractions, and they will always want to be immersed in a new story, where they can be and do whatever they want. Sometimes, as long as the story is gripping and the character is relatable, gamers even prefer this over solid gameplay and action – just look at the success of Red Dead Redemption 2

So long as studios keep making singleplayer games, people will keep playing them.