It depends on the target audience.
A game like minecraft is not centralized around campaign play, and a game like descent has a story, but really you only are playing it for the action, you don’t care really whats happening. These are like action and comedy movies, just there to blow shit up and have fun with friends. It’s like Rambo, there was a reason that was going on, but lets face it everybody just watched those movies to watch things explode. These games generally appeal to most gamers now, due to this generations over-saturation of constant time with your friends via internet, phones, games.
A game like Bioshock or Silent Hill (because I don’t know what Dear Ester is and those come to mind first) are like the drama movies of games. Lots of focus on story telling, usually (but not always) a single player experience. These games are like drama movies also in reception imo, usually always the ones to get praised for quality, or never heard of by anyone. That being said though, gaming has turned into such a community based thing that people want that play time with friends. To see this in effect, if you go to a local game shop you will notice that while story based games might get all the praise, they usually deflate in price (if that is your concern) a lot faster than multiplayer games, just due to the longevity of multiplayer. The key to success here is games like the elder scrolls games, adding content and increasing the replay factor.
Racing games are like simulators, I would amount them to watching sports center. Just like sports center these games usually have a very specific target audience. If you ever go play a game like Forza, or Gran Turismo, the majority of the players (at least the ones I know and meet) are playing because they love cars and racing games. It’s sort of a safe bet. Racing games like forza, and other sports sims like madden will always have an audience who follows it because that is just their thing, but imo it’s not the most popular of genres.
I think it is important, when making a game, to pick one and stick with it. Some games have successfully fused the genres, games like WoW which are story based and MMO, but these games are rare due to the time demand on most game devs. Usually what happens is a game will try to do both equally, and they will both fail. Non-captivating multiplayer, which a weak story. Or, they will focus on one, and just throw the other part in and it will be pretty weak, and almost not worth spending the resources on. A game like this is The Darkness, amazing story mode, and multpilayer was fun, but so little effort was put into it that it lagged, and lost it’s community fast.
For one man indie game making type projects, to establish a good community fast and even while the game is still in testing, multiplayer is the way to go. Cheap, fun, action packed multiplayer will of course garner more people to your game than single player.
Think about it, in one cause you play an AMAZING indie story game that took the devs a good while to make, and you’ll probs recommend it to your friends, but that is as far as it goes.
The other case, you played a fun and action packed multiplayer game and it’s cheap or F2P, you ask your friends to come play with you and the community starts forming faster because even after that initial invite to come, you can keep drawing your other friends into it, and then they bring in friends, and it goes on like a chain.
So to cut myself off, before I just ramble and ramble, my opinion is that it really depends on the game and target audience. Some games need all story, other games need no story. Multiplayer based games will have an easier time reaching success imo than story based games.