Video games to help you socialise while self-isolating

Here is a range of titles that can be learned and enjoyed by both complete beginners and veteran gamers. Whether you have an old laptop or the latest smartphone, there’s something here you can play with pals even if they’re far away.

Console games – Keith Stuart

The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are excellent machines for playing with and against remote friends. They’re easy to set up online (you’ll need to pay a fee of around £45 a year for access) and they both have very intuitive “Party Chat” functions which let you talk to your friends via a gaming headset while playing – in fact you can chat between games too, or even while watching Netflix on your console. Things are a bit more complicated on Nintendo Switch which requires you to download a mobile phone app in order to chat with friends, but even then only a minority of games support the feature. So all our recommendations are primarily based on Xbox and PlayStation.

Minecraft
(PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, smartphone)
The most popular video game in the world allows groups of eight players to meet online, explore vast blocky worlds and construct amazing buildings together. Think of it as a cross between a Lego set and a fantasy adventure. You and your friends could collaborate on a project – such as building a scale model of the Taj Mahal – or play one of the competitive mini-games. It’ll keep you occupied for months.

Fortnite: Battle Royale
(PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, smartphone)
Still a favourite with teens everywhere, Fortnite: Battle Royale thrusts 100 players on to an island and then lets them fight it out to see who survives to the end. You can play alone, but the squad mode lets you take part in teams of four and it’s usually joyous and anarchic. Don’t feel it’s just about fighting either. If you land your team somewhere quiet, you can mess about together for ages, building forts and sailing boats. There’s also an ingenious creative mode where you can build your own levels.

Sea of Thieves
(PC, Xbox One)
This seafaring adventure from veteran developer Rare allows up to four friends to clamber aboard a pirate galleon then set sail looking for treasure and adventure. You’ll encounter other players as well as skeleton ships, islands and quests, and the whole thing is designed to get friends working together. It’s utterly enchanting and often hilarious.

WGC

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