"If you think about what makes games so fantastic, it's the experiences you have with your friends,"
Er... not really.
I mean, sometimes. I can remember a handful of really fun sessions on games across LANs (using everything from 10Base2 to Gigabit, and serial, and even - at one point - IP over daisy-chained parallel cables using a DOS-based packet driver).
But usually on games that, from the point of their release until several months later when we could organise a session, were only played on single computers by one person. And the vast majority of games that I love are inherently single-player.
And though I run multiplayer servers for a number of games, and a few of them are incredibly popular in that little niche game, the multiplayer experience is there because the game demands it, and then because I can't stand playing with the majority of morons that exist online today. I honestly cannot play online any more without a KICK/BAN button that I can guarantee will work without the democracy of opening it up to a vote. And, yes, even with that kind of dictatorship admin, I still run extremely popular servers.
The latest one for me is Factorio. Love the game. It's fantastic and sucks time like all those games of old that I used to play but had to give up when real-life intervened.
It's multiplayer. It's online multiplayer. I have a server for it. Myself and a random guy spent three hours setting up a factory. Then another guy joined. 20 minutes later, I found missing pieces of transport systems and entire buildings destroyed, and then the new guy started attacking us both. By the time I kicked him, the game was ruined.
Even amongst friends, the problem is not that it's not possible - multiplayer over the Internet is easier than ever. It's that friends don't have the time, money, inclination, or play in ways that make it fun to play with them. My brother is a gamer, I can't remember the last time we played together. I think it was when AOE2 was remastered on Steam, because it worked and we'd always played that with each other.
Some of it is age, but when you go play with younger people who are "into games", their attention span is incredibly limited, they piss about not playing the game half the time, there's no semblance of teamwork or organisation and I "ragequit" (as they say - I mean, they have a specific phrase for "we're so shit that we make other people mad and not want to play with us"!).
That's why I run my own servers.
That's why - unless it's casual games at a party - I don't bother to try to play even with people on my Steam friends list.
That's why I very much prefer games that don't require that kind of interaction and are playable in their own right - not by having friends on the same service.
And even if you have a great set of friends and a lot of games and interests in common, and all the facilities in the world - the number of times you can play in a game against or (more difficult) with a significant number of your own friends, for any significant amount of time is truly limited.
Hell, I'm a CS-player from since before 1.6, and some of my best gaming moments were had in things like TIS-1000, Flight Control, and Master of Orion (the original) than anything else. And rarely were my friends crowded around the PC going "Oh, wow" at them (because nobody has any need to crowd round a PC like that any more).
The best gaming moments ever are things like playing Half-life 2 for the first time. Or getting through Syndicate to that impossible last mission. Very rarely do they involve other people, and certainly not playing against random strangers.
I've just cut TF2 out of my life, after years of casual play on it. Everything became "serious" and competitive, and that's not what the game is about. So everyone ends up peeing about and ruining the game to get some relief from even the "casual" server setups that are no fun at all.