Want to Add Multiplayer to Your Game? Beamable Makes It Easier than Ever

Want to Add Multiplayer to Your Game? Beamable Makes It Easier than Ever

Multiplayer Basics

Multiplayer is a huge design space that covers a variety of real-time multiplayer and asynchronous multiplayer styles. The primary multiplayer models are:

  • Play Together: This style involves players collaborating with or competing against each other in real-time.
  • Play Alone Together: This style sees players primarily experience the world and its challenges alone but allows players to see and occasionally interact with other players during their journey.
  • Hybrid: This style combines elements from both the Play Together and Play Alone Together models, allowing players to learn from the Play Alone Together model by observing other players and may incorporate guild play, an element of the Play Together model.

Common Misconceptions About Multiplayer Gameplay

Multiplayer doesn’t always mean massive, coordinated activities on the scale of games such as Epic Game’sFortnite. Some games are better suited to the Play Alone Together model, which could be configured to allow players to communicate amongst themselves and learn from sharing information and observing each other’s actions without explicitly depending on one another to complete tasks or achieve goals.

The Play Alone Together style of multiplayer gameplay is ideal for fostering an environment of game enrichment via social interactions without dependency.

Why Developers Should Consider Adding Multiplayer to Their Games


The more social structure of multiplayer games creates environments ripe for the maximization of IAPs and revenue. In cooperative settings, players are driven to purchase IAPs to better aid their teammates so the group can achieve their collective goals, while competitive multiplayer environments encourage players to invest in IAPs that give them an edge over the competition.

Gain & Maintain Gamer Attention

Engagement, attention, and retention are critical for creating a successful game that keeps players coming back for more. The attention phase is the most easily monetized, and a simple way to increase revenues is via social events. Social events are a highly effective way to draw player attention to your games, setting the stage for retention.

Including multiplayer is one of the best ways developers can gain and maintain player attention.

COVID-19 Drives Demand for Games with Multiplayer

While the trend towards events and complex economies1 emerged before COVID-19, the pandemic has come to both define these dynamics and rapidly accelerate their mainstream adoption.

This accelerated demand and adoption is driven by humanity’s basic social need to connect with others, prompting players to seek out social outlets currently lacking in their lives. Games, in particular those that offer multiplayer and live events, have, for many individuals, filled the social niche previously occupied by in-person activities.

We predict that these trends will continue post-vaccination when in-person socialization is once again safe, but this warp-speed acceleration will likely slow at least a little bit. However, by developing games that promote online sociability now, developers can help players develop habits of enjoyment that will persist once COVID-19 has subsided.

By laying the groundwork now when many players are stuck at home, developers can best capitalize on highly monetizable structured events, making these activities a permanent part of gamers’ social lives.

Factors to Consider When Adding Multiplayer

Events are an excellent way to create a social environment, thereby driving both attention and IAPs. While some developers may seek to create complex multiplayer dynamics, adding multiplayer can be as simple as getting players to participate in activities simultaneously.

This sociability can take a few forms, including:

  • Comparing themselves against other players. This could include directly competitive behaviors such as leaderboards or more subtle social behaviors such as conspicuous consumption.
  • Cooperative play, where players must work together to complete tasks or achieve their goals.

Events may involve reward structures or progression mechanics (complete a task or set of tasks to earn rewards) but do not have to. You may choose to forgo a competitive style of play in favor of a more cooperative model, where players must help one another to achieve their goals or structure your gameplay as individual challenges.

Depending on the nature of your event, you may consider enabling individual play and direct competition simultaneously.

Common Problems Developers Make & How to Avoid Them

As game development experts, the most common mistakes we have observed developers making while implementing multiplayer are:

  1. Underestimating the amount of time, funds, and people-power required to build multiplayer from scratch. Building multiplayer from scratch is incredibly difficult and requires hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, and takes a huge toll on DevOps. Even if you are able to successfully implement multiplayer functionality from scratch, the massive ongoing institutional costs, including funds, time, and resources, rarely make the payoff worth the effort.
  2. Underestimating the ongoing costs as well as the TCO (total cost of ownership). On average, the cost of maintaining the servers required to support multiplayer accounts for about 20% of a game’s total revenue. In contrast, Beamable is free for development and requires developers to share just 5% of their IAPs revenue to cover the costs of our fully managed servers. Should you wish to purchase your own dedicated server to host your game, you may also wish to explore Thunderhead (by Playfab), Mirror Networking, and Photon.
  3. Underestimating the complexity of building social features from the ground up. Like multiplayer, creating your own social features from scratch is not only time, resource, and people-power intensive, but also wholly unnecessary. Beamable offers a wide range of social features that can facilitate player-to-player interactions without decimating your bottom line.

By choosing to build your game with Beamable instead of developing multiplayer and social from scratch, you can avoid having to overoptimize your game’s monetization features to recoup your costs and instead focus on boosting player engagement, attention, and retention.

To begin adding multiplayer to your game, download Beamable for Unity today.