While the launch of Tribes 2 may have fixed a beginning point for major change in our gaming circle, I don't think it was the deciding factor. Rather, the biggest reason I believe for the "Fractured Gaming Community" is probably the sheer amount of quality games that are out there. In just the last couple of years alone, I've played through no less than 15 games - many of which were single-player games. With a family and a full time job (not to mention this website), there's not much time anymore for team games. Others in my clan are faced with the same situations.
Here's an example of what I am talking about. We decided to play Return to Castle Wolfenstein (RTCW) as a clan and joined the OGL (Online Gaming League). Medal of Honor came out and took some of the steam out of Wolfenstein. We only played RTCW in league play for a couple of months before attention waned. When Renegade came out and we thought about forming a team to play that. Renegade was a good multiplayer game (with terrible netcode) that really stressed teamwork. Then Soldier of Fortune 2 came along and the multiplayer aspects of SOF2 reminded many of the old Quake/Quake 2 days so we joined a league as a clan to play that. But now, instead of five divisions of 10-12 players, we have one division of 10-12 players.
Another area that is draining team games is the worlds of MMORPG's. Games like Everquest, Asheron's Call, Dark Age of Camelot and Anarchy Online completely engross players and occupy most of their gaming time.
There is also the difference of gameplay dynamics or style...even among FPS multi-player games. Some people want to be the hero; to be able to singlehandedly win the game for the team. While this is quite achievable in SoF2, it is almost impossible in Battlefield 1942. BF 1942 is more dependent on teamwork, while SOF2 is more dependent on an individuals rote skills.
In the upcoming months, the fracturing is only going to get worse. In addition to games like NOLF2, Battlefield 1942, UT2003, Command & Conquer: Generals, there are more MMORPG's like Star Wars Galaxies, Planetside and Worlds of Warcraft that are sure to "steal" more players. How many games can we play at one time??
While I long for those days of old, I realize that things are different now. So I just look back with fondness on those early days of multiplayer gaming. The sense of purpose and camaraderie we shared may never happen again. It's not to say it's a bad time right now, just different. The strides in graphics and AI are phenomenal. Games will continue to get more immersive. Our gaming will experience will continue to change and we as gamers will have to change as well.