I apologise for my tone then, I read that as you being combative.
I can agree with that, though then we really should denote what type of multi-player structure we mean because that makes me think more of co-op that general multi-player.
That's part of the problem though, right? Game AI isn't a true AI or even VI. They typically have a very limited scope of "understanding" and essentially boil down to acting how a given developer imagines people may play. If a player takes a track outside that purview then the AI can really fall apart. Generally speaking I haven't even heard of many games that have an AI that doesn't cheat in some capacity. I think Star Ruler was one of the few were the AI played fair.
That's not entirely true, actually. If a dev could figure out how to have the AI build a profile for any given player and then link that profile to that specific player's account/handle then the AI could learn from game to game by pulling up that profile whenever that player is playing. I'm not sure it's been done but it is certainly possible.
I think this is part of exactly the issue at hand. While a player could do this against an AI, the odds of the AI being so poorly written as to rely on such a method isn't that frequent in my experience. On the other hand, this happens in multi-player matches with extreme regularity. That's essentially the entirety of StarCraft for crying out loud.
I think the best way to implement a multi-player side would be to handle it much like Stardock did with the first three SoaSE titles which was to have a lobby where you could invite a player(s) but with no real auto-match while also having the community geared towards acting like a community. Otherwise I'd fully expect multi-player matches to be played as they are in most other games, with the cheapest/easiest method being favored making for very dull, albeit competitive, matches.
You have to remember, I (and, likely, most others) play games to have fun and relax. While becoming a better player is nice, it isn't something I'm going to devote any large amount of time to when I could, and would much rather, spend my time welding, wood working, painting in PS, modeling in 3DS Max, making designs in AutoCAD, or any of a number of other things that would otherwise provide a steady income should I choose to pursue it professionally. And that's to say nothing of the even smaller amount of time I game when I'm in a relationship.