Harteveld, C. & Bekebrede, G. (2011). Learning in Single- Versus Multiplayer Games: The More the Merrier? Simulation & Gaming 42(1) 43-63
From the observations of successful entertainment games, it is hypothesized that implementing a single-player option may require a different approach from that in a multiplayer option, in terms of game design. To find out whether this could be true and to understand what the specific approaches could entail for educational games, three separate yet related investigations were conducted to examine single- versus multiplayer games: an investigation of two educational games designed and evaluated by the authors, a theoretical investigation from a game and learning perspective, and an empirical investigation of 23 case studies. From these three investigations, it turned out that a “single-player approach” is data intensive, has formal rules, and uses direct transfer and individual learning. On the other hand, a “multiplayer approach” is less straightforward. From a game perspective, it can be characterized as process intensive and having social rules. When related to learning, however, it could be positioned on any dimension. This exploration shows that the approaches differ to a large extent and that designers have to find a fit between what option they choose and approach they take.