While it might not have the same level of exclusives as its fellow console counterparts, Microsoft’s console could be considered the better option when comparing the best Xbox One multiplayer games to everyone else. The Nintendo Switch just doesn’t have the infrastructure set up yet (and will it ever?), while the PlayStation 4’s network seems to be going down every other week. The Xbox One and Xbox Live? Pretty stable, mostly.
Of course, an online gaming service is nothing without the games to play with, and the Xbox One has plenty of games to choose from, no matter your preference. Before we begin, it’s worth noting that we’re focusing on the PvP aspect of online multiplayer as opposed to co-op.
With that in mind, here are the best Xbox One multiplayer games in no particular order. Thanks to backwards compatiblity, all of these games will also work on Xbox Series X and S, depending on disc or digital versions.
Blizzard’s 6v6 hero shooter has remained as popular as it has since the game’s release back in 2016 for a simple reason: it’s a damn good game.
Players pick a hero with unique abilities and compete to attack/defend objectives from another team of players. Sounds simple enough, but the range of heroes and abilities means that strategy is just as important as accuracy.
Blizzard has been good at updating the game post-launch, introducing new heroes and maps to the game to keep the meta fresh. The Role Queue update, which locks team composition to 2 damage, 2 healers and 2 tanks, has also ensured that matches feel more fair and balanced than they ever have before.
With compatibility promised for the already announced Overwatch 2, there’s never been a better time to jump in to Overwatch.
2. Apex Legends
Developer: Respawn Entertainment Publisher: EA Release Date: February 4th, 2019 Online/Local: Online
While Respawn’s battle royale might not have turned out to be the Fortnite killer some (me) thought it would be, Apex Legends is still one of the best battle royale experiences out there right now. The fast-paced FPS action, the team-based focus and the unique character abilities makes Apex Legends a battle royale like no other.
20 teams of 3 drop into a map to loot weapons, shoot enemies and ultimately get that precious win. With a new character and weapons being added with the launch of each season, with Season 3 even switching the map entirely, seasonal events with new modes and the promise of more content and updates in the future, Apex Legends is here to stay.
PUBG is considered to be the most grounded depiction of a battle royale on the market. No obnoxious builds, no weird superpowers, just 100 people trapped on an island, where the only way to win is to be the last one standing.
With four different maps, each with their own intricacies and foilibles, along with an arsenal of weapons and vehicles with which to distribute death, PUBG is arguably the most complete battle royale game you can buy. It might have been overtaken by other, more recent releases, but don’t count PUBG out.
Despite its issues, it’s one of the most enjoyable Xbox One multiplayer games.
Developer: Epic Games Publisher: Epic Games Release Date: September 26th, 2017 Online/Local: Both
It couldn’t be a modern online multiplayer list without throwing out a mention to Fortnite, a game that might just be around when the universe inevitably collapses. I mean, Fortnite itself has survived one universal implosion, along with meteors and other potential extinction level events, so what’s another one, right?
Along with the standard “last person standing” gameplay, Fortnite adds building to the formula, allowing players to build cover in open ground, or try to construct new vantage points to get a good snipe on opponents. With skill based matchmaking and bots that should allow new players to be able to actually enjoy the game without getting destroyed, Fortnite deserves a place on this list.
5. Call of Duty
Developer: Sledgehammer, Infinity Ward, Treyarch Publisher: Activision Release Date: Every October Online/Local: Both
Alright, just pick your own Call of Duty game that you like the most and put it in this list. Consider this to be like the open space on a bingo card. While the Xbox One has years worth of Call of Duty games to pick from, including a few that are available via backwards compatibility, allow us to make a couple of suggestions.
If you’re looking for guaranteed players and constant updates, consider Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. It’s the most recent modern one, with a host of free updates already available and more planned, and hey, it’s not half bad.
That said, if you’re a fan of the Black Ops series, Cold War is a solid choice. There’s no double jumping, exo-suit multiplayer, and there’s battle royale integration with Warzone. Speaking of which:
If you prefer your Call of Duty battle royales to be available as standalone, free-to-play experiences, Call of Duty: Warzone is practically tailor-made for your hyper-specific wants. Up to 150 players drop into a massive map, with solos, trios and quads all supported on a rotational basis.
Warzone features the same core gunplay as Modern Warfare, so at the very least, shooting people feels pretty good. On top of that, if you also own Modern Warfare, you can make battle pass progression by playing both games.
If Call of Duty is a little bit too “run and gun” for your liking and you’d prefer something much more tactical, Rainbow Six Siege is the game for you.
Siege requires a much more methodical approach, as two teams of 5 take turns to attack and defend a fortified location. It’s a tense multiplayer experience unlike any other, and one that shows no signs of slowing down.
The attackers have multiple entry points and the element of surprise, yet the defenders can fortify their position to protect certain areas. Admittedly, there’s a high-ish skill barrier when it comes to Siege, as precise headshots are the order of the day, but with enough practice, you’ll be popping heads and breaching houses in no time.
Developer: Behaviour Interactive Publisher: 505 Games Release Date: June 20th, 2017 Online/Local: Online
Top tier multiplayer games don’t have to be relegated to just shooters alone, as there are plenty of other titles that offer new ways to play with and against people from around the world. Take Dead by Daylight for instance, a 4v1 asymmetrical multiplayer horror experience where a team of survivors try to outwit, outmaneuver and ultimately escape a killer with a host of abilities.
As survivors, you have to find a series of generators scattered across the map and turn them on in order to power the exit gate and escape. As the killer, you need to put a stop to that, injuring the survivors before slamming them on a butcher’s hook, sacrificing them to the great big Entity in the sky.
Developer: Ubisoft Publisher: Ubisoft Release Date: August 16th, 2016 Online/Local: Both
How much do we really need to explain UNO? This game has probably caused the destruction of more relationships than bringing up politics at a Christmas Dinner. The salt that this game produces could ensure the fast food of your town is suitably flavoured for the next year. It’s UNO. You love it, and you hate it, and it’s on the Xbox One.
The console version allows you to play the game with anyone around the world, ensuring that you’ll be causing a rage meltdown somewhere across the globe.
With a host of house rule settings that allow players the ability to create a game type that’ll burst the most blood vessels, the console version of UNO might be the definitive version of the game, purely because playing in the same room runs the risk of someone catching these hands.
Open world multiplayer sandboxes can be incredibly fun, if only because it gives players a host of new ways to mess with their fellow man. GTA Online is one of the best examples of this, and with the constant free updates (that do require a lot of in-game cash), there are more ways than ever to be an absolute dick online.
With GTA Online, you can either aspire to build a criminal empire, start a motorcycle gang and own your own nightclub in GTA Online. You can also try to gather your friends to complete the game’s various heists, or simply just rain down death from above with an Orbital Cannon.
If you prefer your online silliness to come with a side of “yeehaw”, Red Dead Online is well worth checking out. Much like GTA Online, you create your own character and attempt to survive and even thrive in a free roam world where all the other players would rather see you dead.
Fortunately, you don’t have to go it alone, as players can form posses to take on the world together. Since launch, Rockstar have introduced updates that allow players to specialise in particular jobs, meaning you can become the bounty hunter you always dreamed of being.
12. Rocket League
Developer: Psyonix Publisher: Psyonix Release Date: February 17th, 2016 Online/Local: Both
Car football is vastly superior to regular football. This is the natural order of things, and Rocket League is the proof of that.
Psyonix’s smash hit take on a classic sport has become a worldwide phenomenon, and rightly so. The sheer simplicity of attempting to score as many goals as possible, only with the added wrinkle that you’re controlling a high-powered rocket care, is a uniquely addictive concept.
The gameplay is appealing to both new and veteran players. Everyone can understand the concept of scoring goals pretty easily, while experienced players can utilise the car’s aerial capabilities to really control the pace of the game. With a host of playable modes and customisation options, there’s enough here to keep you coming back for a long time. Oh, and it’s totally free.
13. Star Wars: Battlefront 2
Developer: DICE Publisher: EA Release Date: November 17th, 2017 Online/Local: Online
This is probably going to cause a little bit of controversy, but Star Wars: Battlefront 2 (the more recent one, not the classic one) is actually a lot of fun.
Sure, its launch was nothing short of an unmitigated dumpster fire that deserved all of the derision it received back then, but the game has improved quite a bit since then.
The game has received constant free updates since release in 2017, with new heroes, maps, modes and features to make the game a more complete experience. The huge scale Galactic Assault mode is nothing short of an epic experience, but if you just want to play some smaller Heroes and Villains matches, you can do that too.
Developer: DICE Publisher: EA Release Date: November 20th, 2018 Online/Local: Online
Speaking of large scale combat, it doesn’t really get much better than the Battlefield series, with up to 64 players battling it out across a variety of maps and modes. While the majority of the Battlefield games on the Xbox One are great (we try not to talk about Battlefield: Hardline), we’ll throw the nod to Battlefield V.
Again, another EA multiplayer game that courted a huge amount of controversy when it launched, the bevy of free post-launch updates have improved the overall game immensely, with plenty of new maps and modes to keep you and your friends coming back for more.
That said, if you’re not a fan of Battlefield V, there’s always Bad Company 2 on backwards compatibility, an older game that’s still a bit of a banger.
Developer: 343 Industries Publisher: Xbox Game Studios Release Date: November 11th, 2014 Online/Local: Both
It wouldn’t be an Xbox list without some kind of passing mention to Halo, and The Master Chief Collection is a perfect way for any multiplayer fan to remember the years gone by. All those hours sitting with your friends playing match after match of Halo 3 can now be re-lived, especially considering that 343 Industries actually fixed the MCC, finally.
The Master Chief Collection includes the Halo games 1 through 4, with Halo 3: ODST and, more importantly, Halo: Reach available as DLC or as part of Xbox Game Pass. The sheer amount of games, and the modes available, allows you to pick and choose your favourite moments from the Halo multiplayer experience, making it the perfect Halo game.
Developer: Hi-Rez Studios, Titan Forge Games Publisher: Hi-Rez Studios Release Date: August 19th, 2015 Online/Local: Online
Consoles and MOBAs tend to be a Venn Diagram that consists of two separate circles, but one particular game that managed to make the transition fairly successfully from PC was SMITE.
The free-to-play MOBA from Hi-Rez Studios has been a popular game for the Xbox One for a few years now, and that looks set to continue, at least until League of Legends comes to consoles anyway.
While most MOBAs take place from a top-down camera perspective, SMITE gives players a third person angle, allowing you to feel like you’re more involved in a fight. Granted, SMITE isn’t the easiest of games to try and learn, with over 100 playable characters and a host of in-game items that can modify your character’s build, but stick with it and you will be rewarded.
17. Titanfall 2
Developer: Respawn Entertainment Publisher: EA Release Date: October 28th, 2016 Online/Local: Online
Okay, Respawn. Apex Legends is good and all, but when are you finally going to make Titanfall 3? Never? Alright, that’s not the answer I would have liked, but at least we’ll always have Titanfall 2. We could probably spend all day talking about the merits of one of the best sci-fi shooters of the past decade, but let’s talk specifically about the multiplayer.
For anyone who enjoyed the double jump/wall running gameplay from certain Call of Duty games, you’ll find the formula was perfected in Titanfall 2. The multiplayer maps encourage fast-paced acrobatics with plenty of verticality, while the sheer abundance of Titans and weapons support a range of playstyles.
Developer: The Coalition Publisher: Xbox Game Studios Release Date: September 10th, 2019 Online/Local: Both
The Gears of War series, and particularly its multiplayer, has been an Xbox mainstay ever since the 360, and rightly so, though anyone who purely plays the campaign and Horde modes of the franchise might find the multiplayer to be a bit different. No methodical cover-to-cover shooting here, just wallbouncing and shotguns.
Yes, the Gears of War multiplayer isn’t exactly for everyone, but Gears 5 makes the most concerted effort yet to introduce new players to the game. The new Arcade mode allows for some quickfire action, while you can also put in some time playing versus matches against AI bots to get acquainted with the game.
As usual, constant free content updates make Gears 5 one of the best Xbox One multiplayer games for online play.
Developer: EA Sports Publisher: EA Release Date: Every September Online/Local: Both
Earlier on in this list, I might have said that car football was better than regular football, but let’s not take away from the FIFA, which still offers a great multiplayer experience that’ll only make you slightly angry. Only slightly, but you’ll swear that goal the opponents just scored is totally bogus and unfair.
The multiplayer options include your standard 1v1 matchmaking, along with the enduringly popular (for some reason) Ultimate Team. There’s also Pro Clubs, where players control a single footballer on a team instead of the entire team.
FIFA 20 also added the street football Volta mode, which adds a brand new twist on the established formula, though that release might have gone down like a lead balloon.
Worst case scenario, swap FIFA with Pro Evo and move along.
Developer: Double Helix, Iron Galaxy Publisher: Xbox Game Studios Release Date: September 20th, 2016 Online/Local: Both
Of course I have to include a fighting game of some kind in a list I wrote, so let’s talk about Killer Instinct. The reboot of Rare’s famous fighting game is one of the flashiest and most mechanically sound fighting games ever made, filled with characters, arenas, modes and customisation items, making it worth playing alone.
The multiplayer improves the experience tenfold. The rollback netcode ensures a more stable connection no matter where in the world your opponent is from, while the Xbox One to PC crossplay helps bolster the matchmaking population. Combine all that with the fact that the game is in Xbox Game Pass, and KI: Definitive Edition is one of the best multiplayer games going.
Bungie’s live service shooter might be best known for its co-op offerings, what with its focus on the campaign, strikes and raids, but Destiny 2’s multiplayer offerings shouldn’t be discounted either. The Crucible is one of the more enjoyable multiplayer experiences you can have, once you’ve got your build figured out at least anyway.
The Gambit mode, added with the Forsaken DLC expansion, gives the multiplayer an added PvE twist, which makes for a multiplayer mode that’s a bit different from your usual offerings. Meanwhile, the limited time Iron Banner and Trials of the Nine events that come around every now again ensure there’s always a new reason to log on.
22. Forza Horizon 4
Developer: Playground Games Publisher: Xbox Game Studios Release Date: October 2nd, 2018 Online/Local: Online
There’s an argument to be made that Forza Horizon 4 is the best driving game on the Xbox One, as there’s a host of modes and activities that’ll keep you occupied. Literally every race, mode or activity will contribute to your progression, so if you want to challenge random players to drag races or gather your friends to race around the entire map, the game will reward you for both.
Of course, Forza Horizon 4 doesn’t just offer traditional racing, as the online Playground mode allows players to take part in modes like Infection, King and Flag Rush. Sure, they mostly devolve into smashing into your opponents, but they’re a fun inclusion nonetheless.
Couple that with the post-launch Eliminator mode, which is a battle royale mode designed for racing, and this racing game might have the healthiest multiplayer selection of the entire genre.
For all intents and purposes, Ubisoft’s multiplayer battler For Honor may as well be a fighting game.
With a diverse cast of characters, each with their own moves, combos and abilities, success in For Honor is dictated by match-up knowledge. If you know what your opponent can do, you’ll be better served to counter it, and it’s games like that which become deeply engrossing.
In For Honor, teams of up to four compete to control objectives, or just to straight up kill each other, depending on the mode. While the team based modes can descend into absolute bedlam in no time at all, the duel modes are some of the most tense multiplayer action you can find.
Victory and defeat are never certain, usually because you’ll get knocked off a ledge or something.
Developer: PopCap Games Publisher: EA Release Date: October 18th, 2019 Online/Local: Online
EA and PopCap’s third person shooter takes on the Plants vs Zombies series have been remarkably enjoyable. You know, more so than they actually have any right to be. What started with Garden Warfare back in February 2014, which was strictly a multiplayer and co-op game, has become Plants Vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville, which features a dedicated campaign with a host of additional content.
That said, the multiplayer is still there and it’s still a lot of fun. As you might have guessed, Plants go up against Zombies, with the main multiplayer mode Turf War seeing teams attack and defend a series of objectives.
With around 20 classes across both sides, including a team play class that allows players to combine forms, Battle For Neighborville is perhaps a more friendly, yet still enjoyable multiplayer game.
Developer: Boneloaf Publisher: Double Fine Release Date: March 27th, 2019 Online/Local: Both
While traditionally considered to be a couch multiplayer experience, Gang Beasts’ physics based silliness can also be brought online, so you don’t have to wait for your mates to come round before you can have a party. Just invite them to a game and start throwing them off ledges in no time.
Gang Beasts is the now-infamous brawler where players compete to chuck each other off buildings, down holes or into meat grinders. It’s like WWE meets Mortal Kombat, but without the blood and gore. With a wide range of maps and a physics engine that ensure anything could happen, Gang Beasts could easily become an online gaming mainstay for you and your friends.
Developer: Massive Entertainment Publisher: Ubisoft Release Date: March 15th, 2019 Online/Local: Online
Another game similar to Destiny that’s perhaps best remembered for its co-op and PvE offerings, The Division 2 made the wise decision before launch to bolster its PvP offerings from day 1, instead of adding traditional multiplayer modes post-launch like the original game did. The result is a lot more to do when you’ve finally hit the endgame content.
The Division 2 included Skirmish (Team Deathmatch) and Domination game types from the get-go, but the real star of the show is still the Dark Zone.
While still a PvE experience, mostly, players can still attempt to kill each other in an effort to steal precious loot. It’s tense and exciting, where alliances are made and then broken every second.
Developer: Konami, HexaDrive, M2 Publisher: Konami Release Date: June 12th, 2018 Online/Local: Local
Sometimes you just can’t beat the classics, and when it comes to multiplayer experiences, there’s none more classic than the Bomberman series. Multiple players competing to blow each other to kingdom come is the type of game guaranteed to get the blood boiling, but it’s bloody good fun nonetheless. At least the online function means you’re less likely to get slapped for a cheeky win.
In Super Bomberman R, up to 8 players can compete against each other to see who can rise above the chaos and be declared the victor. Defeated players can throw bombs into the arena to try and take the place of surviving players, meaning the game is a decent mix of luck and skill that ensures anyone can enjoy themselves.
Plus, you can watch cute versions of Xavier Woods and Solid Snake throw bombs at each other, so it’s worthy of recommendation for that alone, surely?
28. Bleeding Edge
Developer: Ninja Theory Publisher: Xbox Game Studios Release Date: March 24th, 2020 Online/Local: Online
Bleeding Edge is a game that wears its influences quite clearly on its sleeves. Taking cues from hero shooters like Overwatch, Bleeding Edge leverages Ninja Theory’s experience as melee combat specialists to create a “hero brawler” of sorts. It’s somewhat Frankensteinian in nature, but it’s a combination that works rather well.
Players can choose characters from three different classes (tanks, healers, damage dealers, AKA The Usual Suspects), and compete in 4v4 matches to either control a series of objectives, or to collect and deliver power. While Bleeding Edge might not offer long-term thrills, it’s on Game Pass, so you and your friends can easily join up and take on the world.
Developer: Sloclap Publisher: Devolver Digital Release Date: January 7th, 2019 Online/Local: Online
Another brawler, Absolver is traditionally meant to be an RPG, where players explore the ruins of an abandoned civilisation and try to survive against its many hostile denizens. The twist is that Absolver is martial arts based, with players learning moves and abilities as they progress.
While you can play Absolver solo, and still achieve success, the game shines with its player-to-player interaction. As you explore, other players can challenge you to duels, and you can also take on 1v1s and 3v3s via online matchmaking. It’s on Game Pass, so it’s worth checking out if you haven’t already.
The most recent entry on this list, Golf With Your Friends proves the idea that one of the best social activities you can engage in is mini-golf. It’s competitive, with everyone doing their best to try and win, but for the most part, it’s a pretty level playing field, unless one of your mates turns out to be Tiger Woods in disguise.
Golf With Your Friends allows up to the 12 players to compete against each other on a series of courses that become more elaborate as the game progresses. With various bonus modes and power-ups that can alter the game drastically, Golf With Your Friends is utterly wonderful.
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