The Best Multiplayer Games for Nintendo Switch
Gather ’round, fellow gamers! We embark on a thrilling adventure through multiplayer games on the iconic Nintendo Switch platform. With its innovative design and versatile nature, the Switch has revolutionized how we connect, compete, and revel in the joy of gaming together.
Whether huddled around the console with friends or engaging in epic battles with players worldwide, the multiplayer experience on the Switch is nothing short of extraordinary. Players can also enjoy their favorite games at home and on the go.
But here’s the thing: not all multiplayer games are created equal. Choosing the right companions for a grand quest can make all the difference, so selecting the perfect multiplayer game ensures an enjoyable and memorable gaming experience.
The world of multiplayer games is vast and varied. In this article, let’s explore the best Switch games you can play with friends or strangers, highlighting their features, gameplay, and also the overall multiplayer experience.
Multiplayer Games on the Nintendo Switch
Before diving into the list of the best Nintendo Switch games, let’s take a look at the importance of multiplayer gaming on the Switch.
The Social Aspect of Multiplayer Gaming
Multiplayer gaming has always been a popular way for friends, family, and strangers to come together and game. The Nintendo Switch game takes this social aspect to new heights with its versatile multiplayer capabilities, often rivaling PC games.
Whether playing triple-A or indie games locally with friends in the same room or connecting with players online, Switch games offer a range of options to suit different social gaming preferences.
Local Multiplayer Fun
The Nintendo Switch allows for local multiplayer gaming. However, remember that you can connect multiple Switch consoles wirelessly for multiplayer matches.
This feature is perfect for gatherings, parties, or when you want to enjoy gaming fun with friends and family in the same physical space. Furthermore, the Joy-Con controllers give each player their own set of controls, making it easy to jump into multiplayer games.
In addition to local multiplayer, the Switch provides a seamless online multiplayer experience. You can connect with players worldwide and engage in multiplayer matches, cooperative gameplay, or PVP battles.
The Switch’s online service, Nintendo Switch Online, enhances the online multiplayer experience. The service offers voice chat, online leaderboards, and special events.
Convenience and Versatility of the Nintendo Switch for Multiplayer Experiences
The Nintendo Switch’s design and features make it a highly convenient and versatile platform for multiplayer gaming. Here’s how these features work:
One of the standout features of the Nintendo Switch is its ability to transition between handheld and docked modes seamlessly. The docked mode essentially turns your Switch into a traditional console. But the handheld mode is what continues to attract gamers.
The handheld mode lets you take your multiplayer gaming experiences on the go. Whether traveling, visiting a friend’s house, or simply lounging in your living room, the Switch lets you enjoy multiplayer games anytime, anywhere.
We briefly mentioned the Joy-Con controllers. The detachable Joy-Con controllers with the Nintendo Switch add another layer of convenience and versatility to multiplayer gaming.
The lack of buttons might raise eyebrows, but each Joy-Con can function as a standalone controller. The Joy-Con allows two players to enjoy multiplayer games right out of the box. This means you don’t need to purchase additional controllers to start with multiplayer gaming.
Diverse Game Library
The Nintendo Switch boasts a diverse and extensive library of indie games and multiplayer games. From classic party games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe to cooperative adventures like Overcooked! 2, the Switch offers something for everyone.
Multiplayer games foster social interaction, allowing players to connect with friends online, family, and even strangers worldwide. Cooperative gameplay enhances teamwork skills, strategic thinking, and problem-solving abilities.
The 16 (and More) Best Nintendo Switch Games
Now that you know why the Nintendo Switch is one of the best consoles available today, let’s take a look at these excellent games (in no particular order):
1. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Unleash the ultimate brawling experience with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which has achieved immense popularity and critical acclaim as a multiplayer game since its release in December 2018. The game has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from players and critics alike. It has an average score of 93/100 on Metacritic, indicating universal acclaim.
The game’s popularity hasn’t waned since its release. Thanks to its ability to bring characters from various Nintendo franchises and other well-known gaming series, it has created a unique and highly enjoyable multiplayer experience. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is one of the greatest video games you will play on the Nintendo Switch.
Super Smash Bros. Gaming Features
One of the standout features of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is its extensive character roster. The game boasts an impressive collection of over 70 playable fighters, including iconic Nintendo characters such as Mario, Link, and Pikachu and popular third-party characters like Sonic the Hedgehog and Solid Snake.
The game also offers various stages inspired by different Nintendo franchises. You’ll feel right at home with classic locations like Battlefield and Final Destination to stages based on Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and Pokémon. The stages provide visually stunning backdrops and introduce unique mechanics and hazards, keeping matches dynamic and exciting.
The mechanics and controls of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate are accessible to both casual and competitive players. Still, you can expect a learning curve if you’re a total newbie to the games. The core gameplay focuses on knocking opponents off the stage by inflicting damage.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has a thriving competitive scene, with dedicated tournaments and events occurring worldwide. The game offers a range of competitive features, including tournament modes, matchmaking, and online leaderboards.
Its balanced gameplay, diverse roster, and strategic depth have solidified its position as one of the premier competitive multiplayer games for the Nintendo Switch and the best Nintendo Switch games of all time. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate remains a must-play title for fans of fighting games and multiplayer experiences.
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2. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a highly popular multiplayer racing game on the Nintendo Switch. It offers captivating race tracks, customizable karts, and engaging multiplayer modes, making it a thrilling adventure for players of all ages and skill levels. Additionally, it includes tracks from previous Mario Kart games played on the Nintendo Game Boy.
The meticulously designed tracks provide a visually stunning and immersive racing experience, from the iconic Rainbow Road to the adventurous Mount Wario. The attention to detail and creative track layouts make each race exciting and unpredictable, ensuring no two races feel alike.
The multiplayer modes in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe are both engaging and accessible. Players can enjoy thrilling races with friends or compete against opponents worldwide, whether locally or online. The game supports up to four players in split-screen local multiplayer, making it a fantastic option for couch multiplayer sessions.
For beginners, the game has features like auto-acceleration and smart steering, which can assist in navigating the tracks and maintaining a competitive edge. These accessibility options ensure newcomers can quickly jump into the action and have a fun experience.
While advanced players can employ various strategies to gain an advantage, utilizing power-ups strategically, taking optimal racing lines, and learning the intricacies of each track is essential for success.
The online multiplayer functionality of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe provides a platform for players to test their skills against opponents worldwide. Participating in online races and tournaments can be a thrilling and competitive experience.
3. Super Mario Odyssey
Explore the cooperative multiplayer features of Super Mario Odyssey in this exciting adventure. While the game primarily focuses on Mario’s solo quest, it also incorporates multiplayer elements that enhance the overall enjoyment.
With its engaging co-op mode and interactive features, the Super Mario Odyssey provides a thrilling multiplayer experience that allows players to share the excitement of exploration and discovery. This cooperative gameplay allows two players to work together to overcome obstacles, defeat enemies, and collect Power Moons throughout the various kingdoms.
Odyssey’s open-ended and exploration-focused gameplay encourages players to discover and interact with vibrant environments. Each kingdom is filled with secrets, challenges, and unique characters to encounter.
In addition to the cooperative gameplay, Odyssey incorporates competitive elements in the form of mini-games and challenges. Players can engage in races, jump challenges, and other activities to compete for high scores and earn rewards.
4. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a monumental entry in the long-standing Zelda game franchise and an absolute masterpiece on the Nintendo Switch. This action-adventure game offers a vast sandbox filled with breathtaking landscapes, thrilling challenges, and a captivating storyline.
Keep in mind that Breath of the Wild is purely a single-player adventure. However, some modders have added a multiplayer mode that allows you to play with 32 other players.
In BotW, you step into the shoes of Link, the legendary hero, and embark on an epic journey through Hyrule. The open-world design of Breath of the Wild allows players to freely explore the expansive and diverse landscapes, from lush forests to towering mountains, vast deserts, and beyond.
As you explore the vast world of Hyrule, you’ll encounter many quests and side missions that provide hours of engaging gameplay. From main story missions that unravel the kingdom’s secrets to various side quests that involve helping NPCs, solving puzzles, and defeating formidable enemies, Breath of the Wild offers a rich and immersive experience.
Breath of the Wild Mechanics
Breath of the Wild, an early Nintendo Switch launch title, introduces several groundbreaking gameplay mechanics that redefine the traditional Zelda formula. The most notable addition is the ability to climb almost any surface, allowing players to scale mountains, cliffs, and towers to gain a strategic advantage or uncover hidden secrets.
Combat in BotW is skill-based and offers a wide range of options. Players can use various weapons to defeat enemies, including swords, bows, and shields. The game encourages strategic thinking and adaptability, as weapons have durability and can break over time.
The game’s Expansion Pass offers additional content that expands upon the adventure. It includes two major DLC packs: The Master Trials and The Champions’ Ballad. These DLC packs introduce new challenges, story elements, and equipment, further enhancing the gameplay experience for those seeking more from their journey through Hyrule.
Other Zelda Games
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an extraordinary game that pushes the boundaries of the Zelda series and is said to be considered one of the best switch games ever and the best games of all time. For Zelda fans, below is a list of other amazing Zelda games developed by Nintendo:
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – Released in 1998 for the Nintendo 64
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past – Released in 1991 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask – Released in 2000 for the Nintendo 64
- The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker – Released in 2002 for the GameCube, introduced a cel-shaded art style.
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess – Released in 2006 for the GameCube and Wii U
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – Released in 2011 for the Wii U
- The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom – New game released in 2023 for the Nintendo Switch
5. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Build your dream island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons! It has this charming and relaxing gameplay and offers a range of social and collaborative features that foster a sense of an online community.
One of the standout features of Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the ability to visit other players’ islands. Players can connect with their real-life friends or even meet new players online to explore each other’s meticulously designed islands.
This feature opens up opportunities for social interactions. New Horizons players can chat, exchange gifts, and also discover unique elements on other players’ islands.
Another engaging aspect of Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ multiplayer experience is trading items. Players can exchange furniture, clothing, fossils, and more, fostering a vibrant in-game economy. In addition, this promotes social interactions and allows players to help each other complete their collections or acquire coveted items.
Another highlight of Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ multiplayer gameplay is participating in events together. Overall, the game features a gameplay loop where players engage in a continuous loop of activities such as fishing tournaments, bug-catching contests, and holiday-themed parties.
The multiplayer component adds depth and social interaction, making Animal Crossing: New Horizons a fantastic game for those seeking cooperative multiplayer experiences on the Nintendo Switch.
6. Mario Tennis Aces: A Smash-Hit Sports Adventure
Mario Tennis Aces is a thrilling sports game that combines tennis’s fast-paced action with the Mario franchise’s beloved characters. Developed by Camelot Software Planning and released for the Nintendo Switch in 2018, Mario Tennis Aces offers a unique blend of competitive gameplay, engaging single-player content, and multiplayer fun.
Mario Tennis Aces brings the excitement of tennis to life as players can perform a variety of shots, including powerful serves, accurate volleys, and strategic lobs. Furthermore, the game balances accessibility for casual players and depth for those seeking a competitive challenge.
One of the standout features of this game is the inclusion of special shots and Zone Speed. Charging your energy gauge unleashes powerful special shots that can turn the tide of a match. Moreover, Zone Speed allows you to slow down time, giving you a chance to reach difficult shots or execute precise maneuvers.
In addition, players can embark on a tennis-themed adventure with Mario in single-player Adventure Mode. For those seeking multiplayer excitement, Mario Tennis Aces offers various multiplayer modes to play online with friends or opponents.
7. Super Mario Party
Super Mario Party is a delightful multiplayer party game that stays true to its roots with its classic board gameplay. Players take turns rolling dice, moving across colorful boards, and competing in a race to collect stars.
The heart of this fun game lies in its collection of engaging mini-games. In addition, these mini-challenges include racing, puzzle-solving, button-mashing, memory games, and strategic battles.
The game has a variety of multiplayer modes to cater to different play styles and preferences. You can team up with friends in the cooperative Partner Party mode. Alternatively, the traditional Mario Party mode pits players against each other in a battle for stars and coins.
8. Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
This game combines the beloved Super Mario 3D World from the Wii U era with an all-new Bowser’s Fury expansion. Developed by Nintendo, this game delivers a thrilling combination of cooperative gameplay, imaginative levels, and an epic showdown with Bowser himself.
Super Mario 3D World brings the classic Mario platforming action to life with its charming visuals and creative level design. Players can choose to control Mario, Luigi, Peach, or Toad as they navigate through various colorful and diverse worlds filled with challenges, secrets, and also power-ups. In addition, the cooperative multiplayer mode allows up to four players to join forces, working together or competing for the highest score.
Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury features enhanced visuals and improved performance on the Nintendo Switch. You can also capture your favorite in-game moments with Snapshot Mode, allowing you to pause the action and take snapshots of Mario and his friends in action.
Bowser’s Fury takes Mario into an all-new open-world experience filled with fast-paced action and a thrilling confrontation with the formidable Bowser. Accordingly, players must team up with Bowser Jr. to collect Cat Shines and restore a once peaceful lake.
9. Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a tactical role-playing game developed by Intelligent Systems and Koei Tecmo Games, released exclusively for the Nintendo Switch. It offers a deep, immersive experience combining strategic battles, intricate storytelling, and meaningful character relationships.
The game’s storyline focuses on the land of Fódlan, and the prestigious Officer’s Academy serves as the centerpiece of education and military training. As a professor, players assume the mentor role and choose to align themselves with one of the three noble houses: the Black Eagles, Blue Lions, or Golden Deer. Each house also offers a unique perspective and set of characters, setting the stage for a captivating narrative.
The core of Fire Emblem: Three Houses lies in its strategic turn-based battles. Engage in tactical warfare on grid-based maps, carefully positioning units and utilizing their skills to gain the upper hand. In addition, this game might not have co-op, but the Tower of Trials experience pits you in missions with fellow players or bots.
Between battles, players can explore the monastery, where the Officer’s Academy is located. Manage your time wisely, balancing between teaching and bonding with students, undertaking quests, and exploring the monastery’s various facilities.
Fire Emblem offers a branching storyline with multiple paths and endings, ensuring high replayability. Furthermore, your choices and actions throughout the game determine the fate of characters, alliances, and the outcome of the war.
Each playthrough uncovers new perspectives, character arcs, and hidden secrets, providing a rich and rewarding experience on the Nintendo Switch.
10. Super Mario Maker 2
This exceptional Switch game empowers players to create, share, and play their own levels. This sequel to the critically acclaimed Super Mario Maker elevates level design.
With intuitive tools and a user-friendly interface, you can design your own Mario courses from scratch. You can also choose from various elements, enemies, obstacles, and power-ups to create unique and challenging levels. So, it does not matter if you prefer traditional platforming, puzzle-solving, or action-packed challenges; the only limit is your creativity.
Once you’ve crafted your masterpiece, this video game allows you to share your levels with the world. Upload your creations to the online platform, where players from around the globe can play, rate, and provide feedback on your levels. Likewise, you can explore and play levels created by other players. The game’s vibrant community ensures there’s always something fresh to discover.
Super Mario Maker 2 provides an ever-evolving experience with regular updates and online events. Nintendo continuously adds new elements, themes, and features, expanding the creative possibilities with fresh challenges.
11. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
If you are a game freak, this is one of the best Nintendo Switch games you can play. This iconic franchise takes players on thrilling jungle adventures alongside the lovable Donkey Kong and his friends. From its innovative gameplay to its stunning visuals and infectious soundtrack, it presents an unforgettable experience for fans of all ages.
Donkey Kong Country revolutionized platforming games with its innovative gameplay mechanics. Swing from vines, ride on minecarts, and blast out of barrels to traverse challenging levels filled with enemies, obstacles, and hidden secrets. In addition, the game perfectly balances accessible controls and rewarding challenges, which makes it enjoyable for casual players and platform enthusiasts.
Join Donkey Kong and his friends as they swing, jump, and barrel-blast their way through challenging levels to reclaim their stolen bananas.
12. Hollow Knight
Hollow Knight is a Metroidvania action-adventure video game that plunges players into a hauntingly beautiful underground world known as Hallownest. The game was developed by Team Cherry and released for Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in 2017. Sadly for Wii U players, Hollow Knight was never meant to be.
Enter the atmospheric realm of Hallownest, a sprawling underground kingdom teeming with complex environments, hidden passages, and enigmatic creatures. The inspiration for this game came from other games like Metroid and Mega Man X. Because of these, hollow Knight received rave reviews from critics, especially for its gameplay, art style, music, and atmosphere.
In this gripping fighting game, players take command of an enigmatic knight as they delve into the ruins of a once majestic kingdom, confronting formidable adversaries to rekindle the faded grandeur of Hallownest. Moreover, the brave hero, nameless yet resolute, embarks on a quest to defeat all who stand in their path and restore the kingdom to its former splendor.
Prepare for intense boss battles that will test your skills and determination. In addition, each boss fights in Hollow Knight demands precise timing, pattern recognition, and adaptability uncommon in your run-of-the-mill adventure video game.
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13. Paper Mario: The Origami King
Some gamers might not consider The Origami King a perfect game or even come close to the quality of the previous Paper Mario series. Still, this Mario game still stands out as an enchanting adventure on the Nintendo Switch.
In this game, Mario finds himself in a twisted version of the Mushroom Kingdom, where the villainous King Olly has transformed Princess Peach into origami and plans to fold the entire world to his will. As Mario, it’s up to you to unravel this peculiar mystery, rescue Princess Peach, and restore peace to the paper kingdom.
Paper Mario: The Origami King features a cast of quirky and endearing characters with distinct personalities and quirks. From the enigmatic Olivia, Mario’s origami sidekick, to the naughty and witty King Olly, the game is filled with memorable encounters and also hilarious dialogue.
14. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
Link’s Awakening is a beloved entry in the iconic Legend of Zelda series, originally released on the Game Boy in 1993. Remade for the Nintendo Switch, this enchanting adventure invites players to embark on a captivating journey as Link, the courageous hero.
Introducing a new heroic quest, players control Link, who finds himself stranded on the shores of Koholint Island after a fierce storm wrecks his ship. Guided by a mysterious owl, Link must embark on a quest to awaken the Wind Fish, the island’s guardian, to find a way back home.
The enchanting soundtrack of Link’s Awakening is an integral part of the experience. Furthermore, each area and dungeon has its distinct melody, creating an immersive and atmospheric journey.
The Nintendo Switch version of Link’s Awakening introduces a new feature called Chamber Dungeons. This new mode is not traditional multiplayer in any sense. However, it adds a cooperative and competitive aspect to the game by allowing players to challenge each other’s custom dungeons.
15. Pokémon Sword and Shield
Pokémon Sword and Shield are role-playing video games created by Game Freak and published by Nintendo and The Pokémon Company for the Nintendo Switch. The game made its worldwide debut on November 15, 2019.
Experience the awe-inspiring Dynamax phenomenon, a new battle mechanic that allows Pokémon to grow to gigantic proportions during battles on top of classic Pokemon gameplay. Moreover, you can engage in intense fighting against wild Pokemon, where strategy and timing are crucial to unleashing powerful Dynamax moves.
Pokemon’s Latest Games
Pokémon Sword marked a significant milestone as the first game in the franchise to introduce expansion packs. The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra expansions offered new and classic Pokémon to expand your collection. Some of the franchise’s latest games include:
- New Pokemon Snap
- Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, and
- Pokemon Legends: Arceus.
In addition to the enhanced visuals of this great game, there are a range of interesting new changes to make gameplay more convenient. These also include quality-of-life improvements, eliminating random encounters, and open-world areas where players can freely explore and encounter Pokémon.
In terms of multiplayer, you can set up local, wireless, or online connections to trade and battle with other players with a copy of the game. Overall, many gamers believe Pokémon Sword and Shield, along with Pokemon Legends: Arceus, are some of the best games in the franchise.
16. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is a unique and delightful crossover new game that combines the beloved worlds of Mario and the mischievous Rabbids. Developed by Ubisoft in collaboration with Nintendo, this tactical role-playing game offers a fresh and humorous take on the Mushroom Kingdom.
As you journey through the game, you can customize your team and upgrade their abilities. Unlock new weapons, skill trees, and special abilities to enhance your heroes’ combat prowess. Experiment with different team compositions to discover connections and develop strategies tailored to your playstyle.
Other Notable Multiplayer Games
Apart from the titles we mentioned, the Nintendo Switch boasts an extensive library of multiplayer games catering to various genres and preferences. Whether you prefer racing, fighting, cooperative adventures, or competitive battles, there is a multiplayer game on the Switch that will captivate you and provide hours of entertainment.
Here are some honorable mentions we haven’t included:
- New Super Mario Bros
- Mario Golf
- Rocket League
- Overcooked 2
- Splatoon 3
- Kirby Star Allies
How to Choose the Best Nintendo Switch Games for You
When choosing the best Nintendo Switch games for yourself or with friends, there are several factors to consider. Here are some tips to help you pick the best games:
Think about the types of games you enjoy playing. The Nintendo Switch offers various genres, including action-adventure, platformers, RPGs, puzzle games, racing games, and more. Also, consider your favorite genres and prioritize games that fall within those categories.
Reviews and Ratings
Make sure you read reviews from trusted sources, such as gaming websites, magazines, and user reviews. Try to look for games with positive reviews and high ratings, as these are often quality indicators.
Consider your interests and hobbies. Are you a fan of a particular franchise or series? Nintendo Switch has several popular franchises like Mario, Zelda, Pokémon, and Animal Crossing. If you have enjoyed games from these series in the past, you’ll likely enjoy their Switch counterparts.
Multiplayer or Single Player
Firstly, think about whether you want multiplayer or single-player experiences. Suffice it to say, if you enjoy playing with friends or family, look for games that offer multiplayer modes, either locally or online. If you prefer solo gaming, focus on games with engaging single-player campaigns or captivating narratives.
Consider the length of the game and its replay value. Although some games offer shorter experiences that gamers can complete in a few hours, others provide lengthy campaigns or open-world exploration. At any rate, games with branching storylines or multiplayer components offer extended value.
Demo Versions and Trailers
Take advantage of demo versions or trailers available for certain games. Demos allow you to try out a portion of the game and get a feel for its mechanics and gameplay. After all, trailers can provide a glimpse into the game’s art style, storyline, and overall atmosphere.
Keep your budget in mind. Certainly, the best Nintendo Switch games can vary in price, so consider your budget and prioritize games accordingly. In any case, keep an eye out for sales, discounts, bundle offers, or free-to-play game options that provide better value for your money.
The Nintendo Switch continues to offer an array of fantastic multiplayer games that are guaranteed to bring joy and excitement to gaming sessions with friends. Whether you’re looking for competitive showdowns, cooperative adventures, or casual, relaxing gameplay, there’s a game to your preference and play style.
A few recommendations stand out among the list of the best Switch games we listed in this article. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a must-play for fans of intense and fast-paced fighting games, featuring an extensive roster of beloved characters. For those seeking a more lighthearted experience, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe never fails to deliver exhilarating races and hilarious moments with friends.
These games shine in their own right, but remember that the best multiplayer game ultimately depends on what you want, dear gamer. While some gamers lean toward competitive play, others might prefer casual fun. So, take the time to understand what kind of experience you and your friends enjoy so you enhance your gaming sessions.