The Best Multiplayer Games on PC | Digital Trends

Multiplayer video games have come a long way since the days of Pong. Improved hardware and lightning-fast internet connections have given developers the ability to create connected experiences we wouldn’t have dreamed of just a few short decades ago. Nowhere is that more evident than on PC, as developers have pushed the boundaries of the medium and given players some truly incredible multiplayer experiences.

Many of the best multiplayer titles on PC are free-to-play games, and some are even crossplay enabled so you can enjoy the action with friends on PlayStation 5 or Xbox One. Whether you’re looking for your next competitive challenge or a fun way to relax at the end of the day, there’s bound to be a game with your name on it. Here are the best multiplayer titles currently available on PC.

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

It may have started as a premium pay-to-play title, but Counter-Strike: Global Offense has pivoted to become an entirely free experience. The latest installment in the storied franchise continues to dominate the Steam charts despite being several years old, and Valve is adamant about constantly pumping fresh content into the game.

Multiple game modes have been added over time, but the core five-versus-five competitive experience remains the primary attraction. One team is charged with either rescuing hostages or planting a bomb, and the other must do everything in their power to prevent it. There’s nothing else quite like it on the market, and it’s easily one of the most competitive games you’ll ever play.

Rocket League

Rocket League players racing towards the ball.
Psyonix

Customize your own rocket-powered car before hitting the pitch and attempting to guide a massive ball into the opponent’s goal. Casual players will easily pick up the core mechanics, but it’ll take an expert to pull off aerial stunts and give their team an advantage.

It revolves around a ridiculous concept, but somehow Rocket League was a cultural phenomenon when it launched in 2015. Even today, it remains as popular as ever and — like Counter-Strike before it — is shifting gears later this summer and transitioning to a free-to-play title.

Dota 2

Dota 2 game in action.

Although it may not have the friendliest community, it’s impossible to deny the popularity of Dota 2. The original game was a simple community mod of Warcraft III, but Dota 2 takes everything that made the first one so popular and turns it up to 11.

Two teams of five compete to destroy each other’s Ancient while simultaneously protecting their own. Players can choose between more than 100 heroes to play as, each with their own skills and abilities that can help turn the tide of battle. It’s not for the faint of heart, but anyone looking for a deep strategic experience will love everything Dota 2 has to offer.

World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft player on flying mount.

It’s the most popular MMORPG for a reason — great gameplay, a lengthy narrative, and consistent content patches that keep players coming back for more. Dozens of raids, dungeons, and quests are just the tip of the iceberg, and it’s easy to sink thousands of hours into fleshing out your character.

If you’re intimidated by everything World of Warcraft has to offer, you can instead opt for World of Warcraft Classic. When it launched in 2019, Classic sought to recreate the game in its initial form before any expansions were released. It has since added new content to closely replicate the original experience, and its servers are always bustling with players.

Fortnite

Fortnite player riding a shark.
Jon Bitner / Digital Trends

Fortnite wasn’t the first battle royale game on the market, but it’s definitely become the most popular. Quirky graphics, catchy dance moves, and a wonderfully clunky building mechanic helped propel this game into the mainstream’s consciousness.

Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying that Fortnite is a cultural phenomenon. Epic Games certainly found the secret formula for hooking players and keeping them engaged, and there’s no telling where the game will go next. The company is currently embroiled in a legal battle with Apple over distribution rights on the App Store, yet somehow, we think it’s only going to help the game’s popularity.

Apex Legends

Two Apex Legends players in melee combat.

Think of Apex Legends as Fortnite‘s big brother. It’s grittier, it’s a bit more mature, and its first-person action is much more ruthless than Fortnite‘s cartoonish skirmishes. Players will join forces with up to two other combatants as they battle to be the last squad standing across one of two maps, both of which are incredibly well designed.

Games are offered in both Ranked and Casual, but no matter which you pick, you’ll slowly be progressing your Battle Pass. Rewards vary by season; however, they’re always a great incentive to keep diving back into Kings Canyon.

Destiny 2

Three Destiny 2 characters posing.

The world of Destiny has seen some incredible changes over the years, the best of which turned the game into a free title. Now, anyone can pick up Bungie’s polished MMOFPS and start banishing the Darkness.

While it’s possible to play most of the game on your own, it’s best to experience the world with a few companions by your side. Raids are virtually impossible to complete without some great teammates, and much of the most exciting content requires you to join a party.

Warframe

Warframe playing attacking group of enemies.
Warframe

Its competitive scene might be lacking, but the cooperative experience in Warframe is unlike any other. Players can interact with one other in massive hub worlds before setting off on missions that accommodate up to four players.

The action is akin to the famous Dynasty Warriors franchise, pitting players against hundreds of enemies, and it’s not unusual for higher levels to see players working together to defeat more than 1,000 foes. It’s fast, it’s visceral, and it’s a multiplayer experience that you don’t want to miss.

Minecraft

Minecraft player exploring a forest.
Oceano

At this point, nearly everyone on the planet has probably played — or at least heard of — Minecraft. It’s the blocky adventure game that is a virtual Lego set come to life, letting you build and explore to your heart’s content.

This game has been out for more than 10 years, yet the manufacturers are still pushing out updates to keep players hooked. You’ll be able to revitalize your base game with various mods that make it look like an entirely different version of the game. If you’re out of practice with Minecraft, now is as good a time as ever to get back into the game. The Nether Update, recently released by Minecraft, provides more opportunities for player interaction as players explore the expanded Nether region.

Monster Hunter: World

Player swinging above dragon in Monster Hunter.
Monster Hunter: World

Monster Hunter: World is by far one of the best, most recent co-op games that’s worth everyone’s time. The foundation of the game is the same because you’re still crafting and hunting as you originally would, but now you can play with other people. You can team up with your friends to tackle the game together, or you can fight against other players worldwide.

There are over 40 monsters to keep track of; you’ll need to continually level yourself up to avoid being annihilated in a fight when combating the most powerful ones. Each time you beat a monster, you get the opportunity to take items from him and build your superweapons from the pieces. Leveling up your weapons this way is crucial to successfully battle the monsters you’ll encounter later in the game. It’s essential to wear tough gear, but planning and strategizing with your other teammates will lead to a winning monster hunt.

Call of Duty: Warzone

Promotional art of Call of Duty: Warzone Season 5.

Take Call of Duty‘s frantic, fast-paced gunplay, throw in dozens of vehicles, merge it with the popular battle royale format, and you’ve got Warzone. From incredibly deep gun customization options to killstreaks, Warzone is no doubt a Call of Duty game at heart — but the gigantic maps and hundreds of enemies offer a unique twist to its aging formula.

Call of Duty: Warzone has seen constant updates since launching years ago and has only become more popular in recent months. New weapons, operators, and map adjustments ensure the action never gets stale, and its thriving community ensures you always have competitive matches to jump into.

Splitgate

Shooting a portal in Splitgate.

Splitgate is a love letter to games from another era. Its simplistic, team-based combat is a perfect amalgam of Halo and Portal — and it’s just as fun as it sounds. Besides a variety of powerful guns, you can make use of portals to quickly navigate the map or land a shotgun blast on enemies thousands of feet away. This quickly leads to some of the most strategic gameplay you’ll encounter all year — and there’s no shortage of ways to quickly climb the leaderboard.

What started as a niche indie project has blossomed into a breakout hit of 2021, as Splitgate garnered millions of downloads after the FPS community finally stumbled upon the hidden gem. Big plans are in store for the title, too, as new investments in the project should lead to plenty of content over the next few years.

Download Splitgate

Grand Theft Auto Online

GTA Online player riding a jetski.

While we wait for news about GTA VI, thousands of players continue to dive into GTA Online — and for good reason. Rockstar has not only crafted one of the best open worlds in gaming with Los Santos, but its robust multiplayer offerings include competitive PvP, cooperative heists, and the ability to simply roam around with a few buddies causing mayhem.

Whether you’re duking it out in tense, cover-based firefights, or schlepping around the desert in tanks blowing up everything in sight, GTA Online is some of the most fun you’ll have with a multiplayer game. If you’ve played the single-player story of GTA V, you’ll already know the basics of GTA Online. We may not see GTA VI any time soon, but at least there’s plenty of fun to be had with GTA V‘s robust online multiplayer.

PUBG Battlegrounds

PUBG players running towards a plane.
PUBG Corporation

Arguably the game that kicked off the battle royale frenzy, PUBG Battlegrounds continues to be one of the most popular multiplayer games on the market. Gather supplies, trek across an expansive map, and pick off opponents one by one as you try to be the last soldier standing.

Although it doesn’t get the fanfare of Fortnite or Apex Legends, PUBG Battlegrounds still has a dedicated community — and one that benefits from constant updates and gameplay reworks. The game also has a popular mobile spin-off, which lets you get your PUBG fix while away from your computer.

Rainbow Six Siege

Rainbow Six Siege player electrifying a wall.

It’s not the easiest game on the list, but if you’re looking for a challenge you can’t do much better than Rainbow Six Siege. The latest entry in the storied franchise pits a team of Attackers against a team of Defenders, as they try to defuse bombs or rescue hostages. Each side can choose from a variety of unique characters that bring a special skill to the battlefield — and its roster continues to grow with each new season.

Teamwork and careful planning are the keys to success in Siege, and running off on your own is a recipe for disaster. Since you’re only given one life per round, you need to be incredibly careful with your movements. If you can get over the steep learning curve, Rainbow Six Siege is one of the best FPS games on PC.

The Elder Scrolls Online

Soldiers about to fight with a giant in the background.

The Elder Scrolls Online is several years old now, and it’s better than ever thanks to the One Tamriel Update. This gave players instant access to all areas of the game by removing level gates and scaling enemies to your current rank. That means anyone who jumps into ESO today has more than five years of dungeons, quests, and PvP content to enjoy without the need for endless grinding.

Featuring full-voiced characters, thousands of quests, dozens of PvE dungeons, and a surprisingly active PvP community, ESO offers everything you’d want in an MMORPG. ZeniMax continues to update the title regularly, and the latest Blackwood chapter gives fans of Oblivion a nostalgic reason to dive into the action.

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