2011 was an incredible year for co-op gamers. We saw over 200 different co-op titles released across all platforms for a total of 347 co-op games. That’s a staggering number and up almost 20% from last year in sheer volume alone. When we started this site, co-op was barely a bullet point on the back of a box, now it’s a standard feature in many AAA titles.
In terms of trends for co-op we put a myth to bed this year. We showed how couch co-op gaming isn’t dying, but instead, is actually thriving. We’ve seen a clamouring in our community for more co-op trophies and achievements, which is a big deal to some folks. Not only do they want to be rewarded for playing co-op, they want ALL players rewarded - not just the host. People want to be rewarded for playing co-op, they don’t want to merely be a slave in someone else’s game like we saw in Dungeon Siege 3.
Interest in co-op gaming continues to grow, Co-Optimus’s traffic is proof of that. We grew almost 50% this year in terms of traffic compared to last, with over 5 million unique visitors for 2011. Perhaps the rise of the Kinect and motion control gaming is helping, where once we saw music games dominate the casual market, it’s now dance and family oriented motion control games like Dance Central 2 and Once Upon a Monster.
Sadly all wasn’t well, it seemed co-op gaming for mobile devices was pretty weak all around. So much so, we decided to skip the category all together this year. We felt that something shouldn’t win an award simply because it was just an OK game and only had a competition of 3 or 4 other titles. Perhaps this was attributed to the Nintendo 3DS and a weak launch combined with stiff competition from the phone market. Still, 2012 looks promising on the mobile front with the continued growth of iPad and iOS gaming as well as the launch of the PlayStation Vita in February.
Now, lets look at our favorite games of 2011 across three categories as well as our overall Co-Op Game of the Year.