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Split Screen Co-op Is Dying

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the just-like-lan-parties dept.

PlayStation (Games) 362

kube00 writes "Split-screen co-op and local multiplayer are becoming things of the past. What happened to cramming a bunch of gamers into a room with two TVs and doing a system link match in Halo? Where have the all-night GoldenEye matches gone? Like the arcades of gamers' youth, the local multiplayer and co-op bonding experience has been replaced with individual gamers and a network."

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362 comments

...and fees (1)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625984)

nuff said.

Re:...and fees (1)

dintech (998802) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626502)

Selling more copies of the game and further DLC seems to be the order of the day. Also, I wonder if the fact that this generations hardware is already close to it's limits in terms of performance that can be eeked from the various engines has something to do with it. It's not possible to push the "ooh shiny" factor so hard when you divide the processing between two frames. It's a lot 'easier' just to through the thing through a local ethernet connection or xbox live.

Having said that, local multiplayer gaming is some of the most fun two people can have with their clothes on. I'm not sure why it's not being promoted more these days. It's probably that the format of gaming has moved away from Street Fighter, Bomberman and Contra to things like Call of Duty. At least Call of Duty still has single player for now...

Damned shame (5, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625994)

Split-screen co-op is a sociable way to spend an evening with a mate or two (drop in a few beers too, of course).

I was most upset when it wasn't included in Resistance 2, after Resistance 1 had it. Turned it from an awesome shared experience to taking turns and one of you being a bit bored.

Re:Damned shame (5, Interesting)

devbox (1919724) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626040)

It's even more sociable accepted way in Asia, where arcades and co-op arcade games still flourish. There's always lots of teenagers playing those games in malls and arcades.

Actually gaming in general is more social in Asia. Even if you play on computer, you go play in a net cafe with your friends and theres always other people around and playing with you - instead of you playing alone in a dark basement.

Re:Damned shame (1)

Dr Herbert West (1357769) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626066)

No, it's just that certain games no longer feature co-op + split screen as standard practice. Go ahead and find me a fighting game that doesn't have split screen (lookin forward to Marvel vs. Capcom 3 BTW).

There's certainly some games that are online multiplayer that would be way more enjoyable w. splitscreen. For instance, AVP (the recent one) blows online-- unbalanced, sh*tty lobby system, and the maps are lame. Bad online experience all around... however, I bought it assuming my brother and I could play it split screen when he's in town. Uunder those circumstances it would be a blast!

Now that I think about it, Virtual On for the Xbox could use some splitscreen as well.

Re:Damned shame (2)

slickepott (733214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626308)

If I get this right. Have I ever seen ANY fighting game with split screen? Youtubed Marvel vs Capcom 3 for some in game footage too - and no split screen? Split screen - from the trustworthy Wikipedia: "In its most easily-understood form, a split screen for a two-player video game is an audiovisual output device (usually a standard television for video game consoles) where the display has been divided into two equally-sized areas so that the players can explore different areas simultaneously without being close to each other." So same screen multiplayer games probably aren't going anywhere.

Re:Damned shame (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626424)

There's certainly some games that are online multiplayer that would be way more enjoyable w. splitscreen. For instance, AVP (the recent one) blows online-- unbalanced, sh*tty lobby system, and the maps are lame. Bad online experience all around...

A poor multiplayer online implementation for a particular game is not really a good argument for split-screen play, it's just a poor online multiplayer implementation.

Not that online multiplayer is the best solution for everything, but perhaps other ideas like multiple displays would be better than cramming everything on one screen?

Re:Damned shame (3, Informative)

Narishma (822073) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626622)

Go ahead and find me a fighting game that doesn't have split screen (lookin forward to Marvel vs. Capcom 3 BTW).

Fighting games don't have split-screen, they have same-screen multiplayer.

Online Not a Replacement for Split-Screen (1)

Bitcloud21 (1492275) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626074)

I agree. Online gaming is not a sufficient replacement for split-screen. I like playing split screen with my room-mates rather than them having to have an entire other system and internet connection. Including split-screen and online at the same time is a great idea as found in the Halo series.

I have Goldeneye for the Wii and am disappointed that it has split-screen and online multiplayer, but not at the same time. If me and one of my room-mates want to play, then we have to choose between playing 1-on-1 or trading the controller during online play.

Online and split-screen are both fun, but neither one should replace the other. The both serve important roles and complement each other.

Re:Online Not a Replacement for Split-Screen (2)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626136)

I think your situation is an edge case and they're developing for the masses -- not the five percent that might benefit from some particular functionality. The average gamer is something like 35 years old and I'm pretty sure most 35 year old males don't live with three or four roommates and have a lot of occasions or desire to have this kind of gaming experience.

I'm not suggesting it's an invalid request, but I think it's one of those things where 95% of people bitch about a feature being removed that only 5% of them actually ever used. It's like when the PS3 Slim removed the ability to run Linux. How many people bitched about that? How many of those who bitched actually ever installed Linux on their PS3 or even intended to?

Re:Online Not a Replacement for Split-Screen (1)

Bitcloud21 (1492275) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626176)

Fair enough. I don't actually know anyone who actually used the Linux compatibility for the PS3.

In reference to the average age of gamers, I don't honestly know what it is. I'm a senior in college and in my early 20s and will probably have roommates for a couple more years. I also have 2 brothers, so in my case I have always greatly valued split-screen and will continue to for a while, but I can see that when I'm older and have a family that it may become less important.

I still think that I would like to have the option to have someone over to play a game even if they don't own it or I'd like to be able to play with my kids while in the same room as them.

Re:Online Not a Replacement for Split-Screen (3, Insightful)

Fallus Shempus (793462) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626432)

No, but there are plenty of 35 year olds who have kids that want to play (Lego Star Wars etc sell well enough, and even up to Halo).

My eldest loves killing all the brutes while I'm still trying to figure out where they are... "It's OK Dad I'll let you kill the next one"

Also there are some wives/girlfriends who sometimes play.

Re:Damned shame (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626190)

Fortunately, it seems that split-screen co-op is confirmed for Resistance 3.

I do get the feeling that despite some of the flashy set-pieces, Resistance 2 was a real mis-step for the series. Not only did they lose split-screen co-op, they also forced players into an "only carry two weapons at a time" system, a la Gears of War and Call of Duty. The original Resistance was a genuinely interesting console fps, with some real unique selling points. Resistance 2, while pretty, basically felt like a generic "me too" corridor-shooter.

Happily, the developers do seem to have realised this and it sounds like Resistance 3 is going to re-incorporate some of the better elements from the original. I did a journal post [slashdot.org] on this the other week.

Re:Damned shame (1)

beh (4759) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626350)

Indeed - though - better not split screen, though...

The best times with multiplayer have been with some oldies

MIDI Maze [wikipedia.org] (late 80s; Atari ST) - up to 16 players multi-player via MIDI network on the Atari ST. Very simple game - also graphically very simple, but tons of fun to play; particularly if you can also see other player's 'outburst' after you caught em...

Robo Sport [wikipedia.org] (early/mid 90s; Windows 3) - while technically it would have supported networked play on WfW 3.11; I only ever played it in hotseat mode - but still just as good, as everyone enters their turns, and THEN the computer executes them all at the same time. When it would come up to your turn, you would get to see a replay of what YOUR figures saw and did...

In terms of graphics, neither comes even close to 'modern' games. No wonder - the younger of the two is just under two decades old (Man, I'm old now) - but the game play in both is just wonderful.

Gameplay beats graphics in 6 cases out of every 5... ;-)

LAN parties (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34626466)

Split-screen co-op is a sociable way to spend an evening with a mate or two (drop in a few beers too, of course).

So is a LAN party, and it's more intellectual brother, the demoparty.

Re:Damned shame (1)

thomthom (832970) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626650)

And to think of that now the monitors are large enough to give each player a decent piece to look at while playing split screen - as oppose to sharing an old 14" 800x600 tiny monitor. You'd think it'd be more of it now ehn it's more practical.

Re:Damned shame (1)

wolf12886 (1206182) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626670)

Totally agree. For years my college friends and I have been getting bored of the halo series, but they're the only games that still support split-screen to any decent degree. It's amazing how few titles these days support the basics like 4 players per console, bringing guests online, etc. Call of Duty - no, Left 4 dead - (ironically) no, Gears of War - no.

Our current setup is two lcd's in the living-room, 2 360's, 2 copies of reach, and 8 controllers. No number of new features or game-play improvements can compensate for the ability to coordinate and trash talk with your friends across the couch. The feeling of getting together a full 4's team in one room and crushing superior opponents with sheer teamwork may just be the greatest thing of all time.

Re:Damned shame (1)

f1r3f0g (879606) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626688)

Actually, 3D may actually have something to offer...
http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2010-12-14-killzone-3-split-screen-co-op-confirmed [eurogamer.net]

With 3D, since they have to double the graphics output, it makes local co-op easier to do. It won't be co-op in 3D, but hey.

There was also a method patented a while ago for local co-op using 3D glasses a while back as well...
http://www.techradar.com/news/television/sony-uses-3d-trick-to-split-screen-for-multiple-viewers-704298 [techradar.com]

Nice to see a throughly researched article :/

Looks like co-op might actually be making a come back :)

Grown Ups. (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625998)

When you grow up, you find that you have less time for gaming. You find that some of your friends and colleagues stop gaming, because of life. Of those who still game, you have fragmentation among their preferred platforms and then fragmentation among the games they invest their time in. If you've managed to find one or two like-minded folk who happen to want to play the same game on the same platform, you have to deal with aligning everyone's schedules so that they can get together. Then, you get to lug some hardware around and rearrange furniture.

It's far easier to just have a seat on the couch or office chair and make use of that thing called the "Internet".

Re:Grown Ups. (1)

war4peace (1628283) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626026)

Pretty much what the above poster said. And also TFA is misleading: Split-screen is not dying off, it slowly disappears because the demand for it dropped substantially. Internet availability and low ping delays helped out in killing split-screen.

Re:Grown Ups. (0)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626030)

I was going to post something similar and risk the troll mods, but I realized the question isn't about why specific immature men find themselves gaming differently. It's about the general trend of the game industry towards networked games rather than simultaneous temporal multiplayer. Someone upthread nailed it in that the reason many game shops are eschewing the co-op gameplay experience is because of the additional fees to be made from multiplayer networking.

Additionally, creating a game that is networked is much simpler and allows much better use of hardware resources than one that must track two or more players at once. More money to be made, and simpler implementation. These are going to win every time.

Re:Grown Ups. (4, Interesting)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626124)

You have the dynamics of the influence backwards. While I'm sure all game developers are eager to sell more copies of the games, I doubt anyone but the in-house platform guys give a damn about influence the sames of more controllers and battery packs.

People have difference lives and expectations than ten and fifteen years ago. The average gamer is no longer kicking it in a college dorm room or wasting an after school evening with their buddies in their bedroom. There is more distance between gamers, more hectic lives, less interest in dealing with sharing screens (why would you spend money on a nice huge screen just so you can split it by two or four, again?). It's the same way a lot of people don't do LANs anymore (though, of course, some do).

The thing that is actually disappointing, to me, is the lack of community server experiences. Especially where consoles are concerned. I'm used to years of playing one or two specific games on the PC at a small handful of servers (more than one of which I've owned and operated, myself at some point). You may not know everyone on the server. You may not befriend them. But you kind of have an idea of the atmosphere of the server and you do get to know certain personalities and have an enjoyable gaming experience.

On the console, you just randomly connect with twelve random people selected out of the hundreds of thousands who are playing that game online right now and then you're connected with another twelve random people that you'll probably never *ever* see again, fifteen minutes later. And because it's not a community server, you don't have the community vibe. You don't have the "server for laid back adults" or "the server for hardcore loudmouths". You just have twelve random people every few minutes. And, of course, 90% of those people are someone's annoying fucking brat child screaming racist and homophobic comments into a mic or singing some god awful song into the mic like it's the fucking Apollo.

I don't see much interest or any benefit for the majority of gamers in retaining "local split screen" type experiences, but I see a desperate need to find a way to handle this whole decentralized, vast, meaningless ocean of multi-player gaming that consoles keep ushering in with every passing year.

Re:Grown Ups. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626626)

Yeah, but game developers are now realizing they need to "leverage the social network" and will let you play against your facebook friends, so that it can now _more_ stuff about you, like the games you play and at what time.

Re:Grown Ups. (1)

qwerty8ytrewq (1726472) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626144)

I agree with your 1st paragraph but 2nd para. I don't agree gaming is purely about making money and simple implementation, these are factors true for Big Game Shops, but beauty, fun, interest, kudos of hot design hit hard, and the little players have a history of using them in the game industry.

Re:Grown Ups. (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626056)

So people that want to play in the same room as each other have some growing up to do?

Nice logic there sparky.

How's about this one to turn it around - People that play online games largely seem to suffer from a social disorder that results in them shutting themselves away in a darkened room for hours on end, playing games against complete strangers. Some people with a more society-normal social instinct still enjoy games but prefer to do so in company.

Re:Grown Ups. (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626140)

Try reading more than just the fucking subject of my post, sport. The obvious point that I made is that when you are a grown up, you have less inclination and opportunity to have this kind of gaming experience and since the majority of gamers are adults and the average gamer is middle aged, this helps define the limitations for potential use of such features and functionality. If the desire and use of that functionality is a small enough percent, it no longer remains a viable thing to invest development time on.

Or, you know, just read the subject line and wank off some ignorant gut-response.

Re:Grown Ups. (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626156)

"The obvious point that I made is that when you are a grown up, you have less inclination and opportunity to have this kind of gaming experience"

Says you. Other people still find time to visit buddies, have a few beers and play a game or two.

Generalising from yourself to "all grown ups" is silly.

Re:Grown Ups. (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626524)

Very Few Other People

Perhaps you have gotten older, but have not grown up?

Re:Grown Ups. (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626630)

And you evidence for that is ... a weak blog article.

A weak blog article that totally ignores the Wii phenomenon and the popularity of the recent mariokart etc.

Re:Grown Ups. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34626058)

You have a decent argument against making split screen the only way to play multiplayer, but no argument against split screen as an available option among others.

Re:Grown Ups. (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626126)

That is a valid argument. But in that is the tacit assumption that co-op multiplayer is only for our generation. Last I checked, there are still high school and college kids playing games. Am I so out of touch that my assumption that kids like to hang out together is no longer valid?

Or are we turning into a second boomer generation? Spoilt slackers catered to by marketing from the cradle to the grave to the detriment of others. Yuck!

Re:Grown Ups. (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626224)

Except that you don't play split screen games because you aranged a date in your diary to do it, and everyone wants to play the game... You play splitscreen games because you invited a bunch of people round for a curry, a beer and a chat, and now you're waiting for the curry to arrive and want something stupid to do.

I did this recently, and discovered that out of the 40 odd PS3 games on my shelf, only 2 supported local multiplayer of any kind (Little big planet and blur for reference)

Re:Grown Ups. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34626290)

When you grow up, you find that you have less time for gaming. You find that some of your friends and colleagues stop gaming, because of life.

You also find that console manufacturers know that selling two+ consoles and two+ copies of the game is more profitable.

Re:Grown Ups. (1)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626644)

It think you are wrong, but I think TFA is wrong too.

Counter-point: Wii, guiter-hero, etc.

If nobody wants to make money on split screen or coop gameplay, I am sure Nintendo and friends is more than happy to have the entire market for themselves.

What? (1)

CaseCrash (1120869) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626002)

Blah, blah, blah, my friends and I play differently now. Let me generalize...

why is this news?

Re:What? (3, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626016)

Why, when I was a kid, young people socialized around burgers and malts at the local grease pit. And the burgers were a nickel. And we respected our elders.

Can't split into 16 screens (1)

Exclamation mark! (1961328) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626006)

Maybe it's just that people prefer the online world with more than two or 4 players. Imagine splitting the screen into 16 parts?

Re:Can't split into 16 screens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34626038)

If you have the time and money to gather 16 people together under a single house for gaming, you're rich enough to buy multiple systems and TVs.

Re:Can't split into 16 screens (1)

Werthless5 (1116649) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626246)

How many games have 16 players playing cooperatively?

Re:Can't split into 16 screens (2)

Rhaban (987410) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626436)

around 10 years ago, I was in high school and played 4-players Goldeneye on a 12" tv. Each player had a 6" subscreen.

Now that I have a job and enough money to be able to buy things, I have a 42" tv. Can't imagine why I wouldn't be able to play a 16 players split-screen game with a 10.5" subscreen for each player (except I would need lots of controllers and beers).

Re:Can't split into 16 screens (0)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626616)

Well, as someone who at the time was used to playing Quake on a computer with a resolution of at least 800x600 per player on a 15+ inch monitor I had serious issues with playing Goldeneye on the SNES, my friends (who didn't play computer games, only console games) thought it was amazing and couldn't understand why I bitched about the resolution being 360x288 per player or how on a 20" monitor each player's portion of the screen was tiny and blurry.

The same applies today, I know very few people who don't own a computer (those I know who don't own computers don't own computers because they don't want to, maybe if you're in the "deep south" in the US there are economic considerations but AFAIK this is not the case for most people).

Now, what kind of computer is it the average person has? Well, for one it beats the crap out of 960x540 resolutions when playing games (that's one quarter of a 1080p screen, and also a resolution lower than the one I used when playing games ten years ago).

Split-screen multiplayer was a hack to enabled multiplayer gaming before consoles were networked, sure some people actually liked it but most people are glad it's gone.

Re:Can't split into 16 screens (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626624)

Just googled it and realized that the SNES was limited to 512x239 progressive or 512x478 interlaced so the resolution per player was at most 256x239...

Re:Can't split into 16 screens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34626678)

You could have searched for Goldeneye instead and realized that it was actually an N64 game.

insert... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34626012)

frownie-face

Split screen? (5, Insightful)

Endymion (12816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626018)

You don't need to split the screen to play Contra!

Proper co-op should be one screen.

Re:Split screen? (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626328)

There's a lot of truth to this -- what's wrong with grabbing an old video game system at a thrift store and playing some old classics?

Many of us enjoy classic films, why not classic games?

Re:Split screen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34626392)

One of my favourite games. 4 players on a single screen!

Re:Split screen? (4, Interesting)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626530)

This. Who needs split screen to play Rock Band with friends? How about New Super Mario Bros?

But some games, like Racing games and FPS, are really not viable without split screen, and I always hated that unavoidable fact.

That said, I got to poke holes into TFA. From TFA:

Games such as Donkey Kong Country, GoldenEye, Halo 1 and 2, Mario Kart, Twisted Metal 2 were the meat and potatoes of co-op games.

From the list they mentioned, the new Wii Goldeneye supports Split Screen.

Donkey Kong Returns also supports 2 player coop, no split screen required.

The latest halo game, Reach, also supports Split Screen.

Mario Kart supports Split Screen.

I have not seen a Twisted Metal game out in ages, and would love to see a new one, but last non-combat racer I played had at least 2 player split screen support.

In the end, the article does not even list games that he hates to be missing Co-Op, it does go on to claim Arcades seem to be lacking co-op, but the only point it ends up having is that Bet-Em-Ups (the games he list) seem to be nowhere to be seen in the arcade room. These days Arcades are dominated by fighters, racing games (that in the arcade room have ALWAYS delivered multiplayer via networking and multi-booth setups) and gun games that tend to always support two player modes.

I ponder if it was posted by a kid that was upset due to one specific shooter not supporting split screen, nothing new since I recal reviews of forgetable shooters in the PSX (that had me properly forget their names) complaining the lack of coop modes.

Maybe he is upset about the rising number of story-driven games that don't force a second player on screen. Its hard to tell because he didnt bother to make his point, TFA is reduced to a cenile old man whining about "The Good Old Days"

Re:Split screen? (1)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626532)

You don't need to split the screen to play Contra!

Proper co-op should be one screen.

Agreed. Especially since forcing the game-play to one screen has the unintended (but good) side effect of preventing you from just buggering off and abandoning your team mates.

I've tried playing a couple of games on-line (Half-life, Counter Strike, Call of Duty and Quake) and have never come across any kind of team cohesion. The game starts and everyone in your team generally runs off in opposite directions and you barely see them any more until you've all died and the game restarts.

Maybe I'm getting old but it doesn't feel very teamy to me.

Solution: write some split screen games (1)

Senes (928228) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626020)

Every week or so we have another "XYZ is dead" article.

I've come to think this is simply what magazines, bloggers, or corporate know-nothings resort to when they're starved for attention.

Do the math (5, Insightful)

Erbo (384) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626028)

Split-screen multiplayer: Requires 1 console, plus 1 copy of the game.

Online multiplayer: Requires N consoles, plus N copies of the game, plus N online service subscription fees.

Which scenario do you think the console and game manufacturers like better?

Re:Do the math (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626128)

Why design a completely separate UI for the occasional split-screen battle (or quad-view Goldeneye session) when you can just create one dedicated single-user networked multiplayer mode that doesn't suck?

The current aspect ratio of TVs isn't helping things much, either: Splitting a 4:3 screen horizontally seems like it was way more useful, way back when, than splitting a 16:9 screen vertically does today, even with 1920x1080 available to play with.

And, of course, PC games have been this way for ages (one computer and display per concurrent player). I'm not aware of any two-person FPS PC games which use a split-screen method, even though Windows has supported multiple input devices for an eternity. In fact, the only PC games I can think of which involved two or more players on one system were all turn-based.

*shrug*

Re:Do the math (1)

DaFallus (805248) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626306)

Exactly. The majority of games that you would expect to include split-screen co-op but don't are that way because of some combination of laziness and greed.

Re:Do the math (1)

Impeesa (763920) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626634)

Split-screen multiplayer: supports 1 friend at 1 physical location.
Online multiplayer: supports N friends in N physical locations.

Which scenario do you think players find more convenient? The forward march of technology can be good for consumers and manufacturers at the same time, it's okay.

They were obsoleted by a more convenient tech ... (2)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626036)

They were obsoleted by a more convenient technology. Internet based multiplayer was not possible or practical at the time but today it is. In this era of immediate gratification it's too much effort to organize a bunch of friends and wait until you can all haul your gear over and set it all up. In may be more fun but the incremental amount of fun must not be worth it for most gamers.

Re:They were obsoleted by a more convenient tech (1)

Mike Mentalist (544984) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626054)

They were obsoleted by a more convenient technology. Internet based multiplayer was not possible or practical at the time but today it is. In this era of immediate gratification it's too much effort to organize a bunch of friends and wait until you can all haul your gear over and set it all up. In may be more fun but the incremental amount of fun must not be worth it for most gamers.

No-one hauled any gear over for split-screen co-op. Young people still go round each other's houses and would often end up playing split-screen co-op because the option was available.

Re:They were obsoleted by a more convenient tech . (1)

Elbereth (58257) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626150)

What? I was playing multiplayer PC games back when DOOM and Quake were hot.

Consoles have always been on the trailing edge of technology, and, as this story demonstrates, they must be dragged kicking and screaming into the modern gaming world, every time there's a change. Consoles are for little kids and autistic adults. PCs are for gamers.

Re:They were obsoleted by a more convenient tech . (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626158)

Really? How is online multiplayer only more convenient than hanging out with a friend and going "Hey, lets play some Halo?" and then you pop in the game and you both play on the same screen. According to you though, it's more "convenient" to have one person drive home, then get online and play. You can easily do BOTH. I also know a lot of gamers like myself who refuse to play online with random people due to the absolute truth of John Gabriel's Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory (if you don't know what this is, google it).

Re:They were obsoleted by a more convenient tech . (1)

Seth Kriticos (1227934) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626284)

You forget that not everyone is a basement dweller. Split screen and LAN games are/were generally a nice social activity. Get a few friends, a few beers and make a fun evening in one place.

You can't really replicate that with on-line play and team speak.

Granted, those have their place too, and there are also the days you don't really want to have people around. Still, both have their advantages. Seeing that socializing in this form dies out just fastens our zombification as a society.

Not that complaining would help, so I don't. Just making an observation.

They better hope not (0)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626042)

That's the main advantage of consoles over PC games--the social, in person, experience of playing with your friends in your living room.

However, given that most of my friends still play this way as if it was made of crack, I doubt there is any substance to the claim, in any case.

Re:They better hope not (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626072)

That's what LAN parties were for, except you didn't have to share your screen with anyone.

Re:They better hope not (1)

Mike Mentalist (544984) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626180)

LAN parties are the exception. Very few people actually go to them and even less do it regularly.

Re:They better hope not (1)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626638)

Maybe they just don't call it LAN parties anymore. Since everybody started using laptops there is a LAN party whereever you go.

Re:They better hope not (1)

Mike Mentalist (544984) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626682)

Maybe they just don't call it LAN parties anymore. Since everybody started using laptops there is a LAN party whereever you go.

Laptops aren't that common and people don't take them round each other's houses either.

So don't whine about unemployment/outsourcing (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626068)

Every major game company is chasing the majority market with multimillion dollar production budget first person shooters. But there are still millions of gamers worldwide who would prefer adventure, split screen or arcade. As angry birds prove, games like Pacman can be still popular today and attract enough following to at least support a small team. Even text only interactive fiction has possibilities. People still read lots of books. Why wouldn't they read a book that asks you to solve interesting puzzles to read some more?

Goldeneye (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34626078)

I remember all the fun we had with my friends playing goldeneye on N64 ...
Even with the screen splitted in 4 ...

Not on the Wii it isn't (5, Informative)

Zouden (232738) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626080)

Super Mario Bros Wii supports 4-player co-op. And it seems pretty stupid to ask "Where have the all-night GoldenEye matches gone?" when there's a new GoldenEye game for the Wii that supports 4-player split screen just like the original.

Not at all (1)

gontech (994373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626098)

The only time I play Halo online at home is when I'm playing with my roommate. Also, you should see the break room at work at around 3pm every day. Admittedly, it's not your usual workplace setup, but 3 TVs + 3 Xboxes = lots of people playing local split-screen.

But... (1)

jaggeh (1485669) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626110)

Me and the missus play blackops online, split screen, most nights.

We have two 360's but splitscreen allows us to sit together and have a laugh rather than in seperate rooms.

It's a shame... (1)

citoxE (1799926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626120)

It's a shame in the sense that this split screen gaming and local multiplayer could go the way of the dodo bird if current trends continue (and by current trends, I mean console manufacturers pushing online gaming, where you don't need actual friends to play multiplayer; a person in the USA can play a game of Halo: Reach or Street Fighter with a person over in Germany.) Then again, it's simply showing the evolution of gaming, whether it be for better or for worse. It could also be somewhat connected to the ever declining need for face-to-face interaction, when all of our communication needs or everyday activities can be satiated right from the convenience of our bedroom - or your mother's basement - therefore eliminating the need to have friends you can communicate with in real life.

This is a niche op for someone (1)

qwerty8ytrewq (1726472) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626132)

screens are so cheap now, many people have their own lappy they drag around, or a smartphone that can hook in. I predict that soon clever developers will hook into existing hardware. eg new consoles with bluetooth, wifi, usb2 etc become a hub, byo displays. The genre will shift a little to be more like site-specific networked gaming. bring on the future! I think also that what is happening is that games are leaving the living room, the London Tube Game Chromaroma (sic), Up In The Air and so forth. the spilt screen coop is really about a shared experience at its core, and this will never die. The above posters are correct i agree part of this slump is about revenue from broader gear consumption and subscription fees.

A real shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34626170)

This has been a problem for me for the last several years. The few console games I've found that actually allow cooperative play, split-screen or otherwise, have been complete shovelware. The PC games haven't been much better-- even some franchises, developers, publishers and so on which I'd come to rely on have decided to release their games without cooperative LAN play. (See Elemental: War of Magic. It might be added at some point, or not, but damn, was the head honcho of Stardock dismissive to the point of hostility when it came up, or what? Silly us, thinking that Sins of a Solar Empire established a precedent from them that we could rely on.)
Sorry to sound whiny, if I am, but cooperative play is a huge, important part of my life. My partner and I are both gamers, and the time we've spent together playing cooperative games has been time very well spent. I understand that there are market dynamics, target audiences, etc., ad infinitum, but I really do regret the absence of games I can play in a room with my friends.

Serial cable? (2)

gatzke (2977) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626186)

What happened to serial cables to network two PCs to play Doom or Hexen? Kids today have no appreciation of technology...

Re:Serial cable? (1)

jaggeh (1485669) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626212)

or even parrallel cables.

Laplink yay!

Wii (4, Funny)

bcmm (768152) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626208)

That's easy: local gaming has mostly gone to the Wii, and you and I don't really play with the Wii.
This flowchart [www.dula.tv] is surprisingly true as well as being funny.

Local co-op (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34626232)

I'm a big fan of local co-op. I'm always on the lookout for games that have such options.

But there's more to local co-op than split-screen. I find games where you play together on the same (non-split) screen much more fun.

Two relatively recent examples:
* Trine
* The Lego series (Lego star-wars, Lego batman, Lego Indiana Jones, Lego Harry Potter)
* NBA / FIFA / other sports

Most of these games need game-pads or joysticks for co-op, but there's a wonderful program called ppjoy that emulates a gamepad in Windows, using the keyboard, so you can cram two people on one keyboard, or even plug in several USB keyboards and play without any real gamepad.

I also used our Xbox360 wireless gamepads using a USB receiver several times.

Article provides no evidence, a worthless opinion (1)

Werthless5 (1116649) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626236)

The author obviously doesn't own a Wii or hasn't bothered to check the number of games with local coop released today versus the number of games with local coop released 10 years ago. The average number of local coop games released per year seems about constant to me. Off the top of my head, this year on the PS3 alone we saw Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, Rock Band 3, Army of Two: The 40th Day, and a bunch of other cheap PSN games like Scott Pilgrim. Last year we saw the release of Borderlands and Resident Evil 5, both games that were practically made for local coop.

It's not just because of the internet. (1)

lattyware (934246) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626248)

The internet can't replace split-screen's feeling - being next to your friends while playing is a different, much more fun experience. LAN gaming, on the other hand, can. More people have more consoles, and they are getting easier to move about, as are TVs (as they become flat). Why cram 4 players onto one console when you can have a console each?

Enter Tekken 6.... (1)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626250)

ok, so i understand why many FPS and sports games are better played online , but this one just boggles my mind

Tekken has a button-mashing platform sort of campaign mode that can be played single or multiplayer. The thing that I cant wrap my head around is why multiplayer can only be played using a net connection
  • By nature of the platform, your characters are never more than a screen apart
  • teamwork is essential or you fail against the horde. Lag kills this
  • character choice is limited to the pair you choose, so its nice to negotiate in person

My guess is that this is a case of "lets do it like those guys" that tested and failed imo

Our own N64 widescreen hardcore coop (2)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626322)

It was 1997, and when Goldeneye for the N64 came out, I would leave work on a friday, drive 2 hours to a friends place who had just bought the game.

For coop we taped a large piece of cardboard horizontally accross the middle screen, seperating the two views. One would sit on a beanbag under the card. One would sit on a tall recliner looking above the cardboard.

Each player had a small radar indicating the opposing player. We cut a disk and taped over that.

It was thrilling stuff. We might sleep that night. For singleplayer we would alternate, one being a spotter. Commentary between us would be constant. By midday Saturday, friends would arrive and it'd be splitscreen ladder matches. One guy was prone to accussing the other of cheating.

It was tense stuff, and when you heard the others gasp or laugh, you knew you were about to get a lead enema from behind. Satuday night was beers and a DVD. Then more GE about 6am till I would leave at midday sunday. I look back at that period very fondly.

They have gone to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34626342)

Bed?

The price of gas (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626348)

When I was a teen, everyone had cars and gas money but not everyone had a gaming console or a high speed internet connection. These days I imagine those trends have reversed.

Perhaps because it's shitty? (2)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626352)

Split screen always seemed like and awful thing to me - trying to cram all this different action onto a reduced-resolution portion of the screen. It's the same reason the Picture-in-Picture feature of TV sets is hardly used by anyone. There are probably better ways to have social gaming without dividing a single screen up.

Re:Perhaps because it's shitty? (1)

Mike Mentalist (544984) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626410)

Split screen always seemed like and awful thing to me - trying to cram all this different action onto a reduced-resolution portion of the screen. It's the same reason the Picture-in-Picture feature of TV sets is hardly used by anyone. There are probably better ways to have social gaming without dividing a single screen up.

You value screen size and resolution over fun with friends? Oh right, this Slashdot.

Re:Perhaps because it's shitty? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626442)

You value screen size and resolution over fun with friends? Oh right, this Slashdot.

Why should I have to sacrifice one for the other? Also, the reduction in image quality and confusing nature of gameplay reduces the level of fun with friends.

You want to reduce the quality of fun with your friends?

Re:Perhaps because it's shitty? (1)

fleeped (1945926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626478)

If you really think that the quality of fun with friends is better when they're NOT in the same room, fair enough..

Re:Perhaps because it's shitty? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626486)

If you really think that the quality of fun with friends is better when they're NOT in the same room, fair enough..

When did I ever say that? It's entirely possible to have multiple displays in the same room. Ever heard of a LAN party? Ever heard of attaching multiple displays to a single device?

Re:Perhaps because it's shitty? (1)

fleeped (1945926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626520)

When did I ever say that? It's entirely possible to have multiple displays in the same room. Ever heard of a LAN party? Ever heard of attaching multiple displays to a single device?

I'm talking about the common case here - a few friends coming over to your place. Organizing a LAN party is not that common. Don't get me started on the many-display.

Re:Perhaps because it's shitty? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626602)

I'm talking about the common case here - a few friends coming over to your place

Yeah, me too. How does this make the argument any better? Few guests want to play a game with their own cramped section of a screen. I find that people enjoy non-split-screen multiplayer games much better. For example, Rock Band, Wii Sports or Buzz TV.

Re:Perhaps because it's shitty? (1)

fleeped (1945926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626660)

Some games are fit for shared screen, others aren't. So : IF you have a game that is NOT FIT for shared screen, BUT you still want to retain the FUN factor of having friends around, AND all this while talking about the COMMON CASE of a few friends coming over, THEN split screen is a perfectly acceptable compromise of quality. I won't argue this anymore as it's becoming redundant.

Re:Perhaps because it's shitty? (1)

Mike Mentalist (544984) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626538)

When did I ever say that? It's entirely possible to have multiple displays in the same room. Ever heard of a LAN party? Ever heard of attaching multiple displays to a single device?

As soon as anyone mentions additional screens and LAN parties it means they completely miss the point. Split-screen gaming requires only one additional thing over single-player gaming - an extra controller. It's small, fits in a drawer and requires close to zero time to setup.

Re:Perhaps because it's shitty? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626608)

Split-screen gaming requires only one additional thing over single-player gaming - an extra controller. It's small, fits in a drawer and requires close to zero time to setup.

So does shared-single-screen gaming. So, what's the advantage to split-screen?

Re:Perhaps because it's shitty? (1)

Mike Mentalist (544984) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626656)

So does shared-single-screen gaming. So, what's the advantage to split-screen?

What do you mean? Not all games work without split-screen so split-screen functionality allows people to play those games on the same screen.

Re:Perhaps because it's shitty? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626692)

Almost all my friends carry around laptops anyway. Setting up is joining the same network and firing up the game,

boardgaming (2)

fsiefken (912606) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626388)

That's one of the reasons why I focus on boardgames instead of computergames, like reading a book compared to watching a movie on average it can stimulate the mind more as the game design is usually more intricate and it is more social! I can recommend playing Puerto Rico and Imperial 2030, also see: BoardGameGeek ranking [boardgamegeek.com] .

Makes sense (2)

fleeped (1945926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626408)

Speaking as a games programmer for an AAA game that eventually dropped split-screen support: Can't say I love the fact, but it *kind of* makes sense from a performance standpoint. Consider the following: You have a big bad detailed world to explore. You naturally don't want to keep the areas that the player doesn't see in video memory. Well, if you have split screen, tough luck, you have to keep in memory at worst twice as much, which is pretty bad. Of course you should need half as much detail for each view, but you'd have to implement a proper streaming system for that (like MegaTexture). Long story short, split screen support nowadays, especially for highly detailed worlds, is not a trivial problem to solve if you want to avoid excess performance costs. And when everybody is connected online anyway, it makes sense (financially) to drop it.

Does Netcraft confirm it ? (1)

Reez (65123) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626498)

n/t

You're not looking. (3, Informative)

Spit (23158) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626518)

The most popular titles today all have excellent couch co-op and multi features. Examples:

Halo Reach
CoD Black Ops
SMB Wii
SM Cart
Gears of War series

There are also countless local multi games available on services like Xbox Live Arcade and PSN..

Uninformed? (1)

Bensam123 (1340765) | more than 3 years ago | (#34626614)

I'm not sure how many of the posters on here actually play a console, but a surprising number of games simply DO NOT support four players (at least popular xbox titles). Most of them only support two players and despite saying four players it does not mean locally from one console(!!!!). I have went over to my friends and found that there are very few titles that you can actually play locally coop wise. Even the new halo requires you to have your OWN account to play the coop game modes for it and when playing online you either need your own account or you appear as the other persons name (1).

I don't think coop is dieing at all, I believe big corporations that back the consoles are killing it! It's much more profitable to have each person own a copy of the game and the console rather then having four people have fun on one. About the only corporation that isn't pushing this is Nintendo (for obvious reasons).

Hell, if they wanted to they could even run duel displays from one console, allowing you to power more then one TV and the capability to split it into even more screen or more bigger screens. However, they don't - they just want you to be another console and another copy of their game. Don't listen to all the BS about coop not being fun or people growing up, anyone who has done it and not turned into a old turnip knows how fun playing with friends can be when in the same room (or even family).

OMG! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34626636)

And if it dies we can never get it back, right?

The correct title would be "Split Screen Co-op Is Out Of Favor"

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