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Is This the End of Splitscreen Multiplayer, Or the Start of Its Rebirth?

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the a-little-of-column-A-and-a-little-of-column-B dept.

Displays 126

An anonymous reader writes "A new history of splitscreen multiplayer looks at how the phenomenon went from arcade necessity to console selling point, and eventually evolved into today's online multiplayer networks like Xbox Live. The article digs up some surprising anecdotes along the way — like the fact that the seminal Goldeneye N64 deathmatch mode was very much an afterthought, given to a trainee who needed something to do. It's also interesting to think about where it's going in the future, with 4k displays on the horizon and handheld screens making inroads to living room gaming. 'I think you’ll see innovations this year that let people use their TV and mobile device in very interesting ways,' says Wipeout creator Nick Burcombe. 'It doesn't even need to be complex to recapture that social aspect – it just needs to involve more than one person in the same room. ‘Second Screen’ gaming could be multiplayer-based for sure, but it can also be used for new gameplay mechanics in single player too.'"

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The social interaction is HUGE (4, Informative)

hubie (108345) | about 7 months ago | (#46544233)

I agree that it is a whole lot more fun, even if you only have two people, to have them in the same room. You get that whole extra level of trash talking, finger gesturing, head slapping, etc. that you can't get over a headset. This is especially true on something like the Wii where you have multiple people either on the same screen (like the Mario games), or in a split screens (like in Wii Sports). Plus, it is just nice to have a multiplayer mode where you don't need to connect to an online server.

Re:The social interaction is HUGE (2)

neorush (1103917) | about 7 months ago | (#46544541)

I totally miss the art of staring at a wall while running so that the people you are playing with don't know where you are...I do not mean this sarcastically...there really was an art to it.

Re:The social interaction is HUGE (1)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46544603)

I totally miss the art of staring at a wall while running so that the people you are playing with don't know where you are

Nowadays it's called "ducking behind cover". And no, I never played GoldenEye with "no radar"; our group reasoned that radar substitutes for being able to hear opponents' footsteps.

Re:The social interaction is HUGE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46545277)

And no, I never played GoldenEye with "no radar"; our group reasoned that radar substitutes for being able to hear opponents' footsteps.

Except when you are a camper, like I was.

Re:The social interaction is HUGE (1)

davewoods (2450314) | about 7 months ago | (#46546339)

+1 agree
I did either this, or staring at the ground while I ran quite often. OR if I was sniping at someone (Original Halo) I would keep them off of my screen for as long as possible before I targeted and fired.

Re:The social interaction is HUGE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46544781)

The trash talking is more specific and yet less insulting.

Re:The social interaction is HUGE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46546249)

This is why I love small LAN parties so much. I just love trash talking and trolling my friends. I miss those days...

food for thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46544237)

Inspirational summary, Mr Ar.

-s

I can kinda see it (4, Insightful)

Anrego (830717) | about 7 months ago | (#46544245)

I have really fond memories of playing C&C at my friends house on PS1 via link cable, as well as a variety of other games that we played via split screen (I even remember some being 4 screen using a "multitap").

Maybe it's just nostalgia talking, but there's definitely something about being in the same room as the people you are playing with/against, and proper lan parties are a pain.

Re:I can kinda see it (1)

Great Big Bird (1751616) | about 7 months ago | (#46546143)

Is that C&C with a game controller? If so, how did that work?

Re:I can kinda see it (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | about 7 months ago | (#46546489)

That game actually supported the PS mouse, but it worked OK with a controller.

The biggest problem was slowdown, unlike newer C&C console games there was no unit cap so Skirmish games often turned into a slow morass.

Buggy unit pathfinding on harvesters often led them to get stuck on walls or buildings and that caused massive slowdown... using the nuke cheat to blow them up was a quick fix. :)

Needs GPU and Input Latency that don't suck (1, Informative)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 7 months ago | (#46544253)

There are a few problems with split screen:

On the same device
  * Needs a powerful GPU that can render 2x amount of work across 2 different monitors. 2Kp (aka 4K) is rendering 4x amount of detail !

Across multiple devices
  * Needs to handle input latency
  * Needs to make the rendering stays relatively in sync across varying framerates

Re:Needs GPU and Input Latency that don't suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46544359)

For second-screen gaming, yes, unless you run it in a reduced detail mode or somethig.

For split-screen, you're wrong.

Lower detail (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46544383)

On the same device
* Needs a powerful GPU

How so? Split-screen in a racing game or first-person shooter can use lower-detail meshes and lower-detail textures: four 960x540 pixel windows on a 1080p screen or four 1080p windows on a 4K screen. And because the pixel count remains constant, you can use the same pixel shaders to keep the same fill rate. Besides, not all same-screen multiplayer is split-screen. Fighting games, cooperative platformers, and shmups, for example, put 2 to 4 players' characters in one view.

Re:Lower detail (1)

lordofthechia (598872) | about 7 months ago | (#46545023)

On the PC, Sonic and All Stars Racing Transformed [wikipedia.org] is a great example of this. The game runs smooth on modest hardware on single player or local split screen multi-player. It even supports 4k resolutions (though I have not tested this myself yet).

If the game uses lower detail meshes and textures when it goes split screen, it hasn't been noticeable.

 

Re:Lower detail (3, Insightful)

Bacon Bits (926911) | about 7 months ago | (#46545789)

GP is right, but for the wrong reasons. It's not because the number of pixels increases. A screen has the same number of pixels whether it's a single scene or multiple.

The simple answer is because you have two (or more) cameras, and thus, must fully render two separate scenes. That means chewing through your rendering equation [wikipedia.org] twice. Even if the individual scenes are smaller and less detailed, you still have to determine what objects look like from completely different angles, and that means you have to repeat a lot of the work. This is why you see so many games (Halo 4, Minecraft, Serious Sam 3) that have problems with split-screen multiplayer. Even though the resulting scenes have significantly smaller resolutions and significantly reduced detail, you still have to do much of the same work to produce each smaller scene before you start filling the frame buffers.

Depends on whether an engine is PVS-bound (1)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46545931)

"Rendering equation" as described by the Wikipedia article sounds like what a pixel shader does. But yes, after I posted, I realized that traversing a level's sector graph to produce a potentially visible set [wikipedia.org] doesn't scale based on level of detail. That's also why the developers of GoldenEye had to cut some of its more intricate maps from multiplayer. But I was under the impression that this sort of occlusion culling was more a CPU issue than a GPU issue, as the same amount of geometry gets submitted to the GPU for one high-res camera or four low-res cameras. Or are all 3D engines dominated by occlusion culling?

Re:Lower detail (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about 7 months ago | (#46546585)

Dynasty Warriors has this as a problem. It's a rendering issue with the number of objects that need to be drawn and tracked. When playing it as a single player you will get far more soldiers around. When playing split screen the number of soldiers rendered would be practically halved. They're also still present albeit unable to hit you but you can't hit them either. So you can chew through individual groups of soldiers far faster playing by yourself compared to split screen.

Re:Needs GPU and Input Latency that don't suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46544489)

There are a few problems with split screen:

On the same device

  * Needs a powerful GPU that can render 2x amount of work across 2 different monitors. 2Kp (aka 4K) is rendering 4x amount of detail !

Across multiple devices

GPU Power isnt really an issue it may be an issue at this moment but they tend to progress quickly

  * Needs to handle input latency

  * Needs to make the rendering stays relatively in sync across varying framerates

like any multiplayer game does now

This whole thing seems like an ad for the Wii U (3, Insightful)

DeanCubed (814869) | about 7 months ago | (#46544259)

While pretending like the Wii U doesn't exist. Yes, I'm sure 2014 will be the year where having a second screen off the TV is a gaming essential for the next generation of gamers. Unlike 2012/2013 when everyone hated that idea and thought Nintendo was stupid for trying it.

Re:This whole thing seems like an ad for the Wii U (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 7 months ago | (#46544437)

Not to mention that Nintendo did it right, the display on that big controller is simply amazing, it really is a secondary display big enough to game on and not just a small one that's only good enough to display a player's stats.

Re:This whole thing seems like an ad for the Wii U (3, Interesting)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 7 months ago | (#46545049)

We have the WiiU and love their "tablet" screen. Split screens can often be confusing (being distracted by another player's screen portion and missing something on your screen portion). As a bonus, the tablet screen means that I can play a game (with headphones on or sound off) while my wife watches TV.

The only thing I'd do to improve the WiiU would be to allow for multiple "tablets". Right now, they only allow for one tablet. All other controllers must be classic Wii controllers (or other supported non-tablet-controllers). It would be great to have two (or more) people playing on tablets, seeing just what they need to see, and either not needing the TV at all or using the TV as some kind of "group view" screen. For example, in a Mario Kart-type game, show each person their own cart's view on their tablets and use the TV for a top-down view of where racers are as well as the current race rankings (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc).

Re:This whole thing seems like an ad for the Wii U (2)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 7 months ago | (#46544529)

There were several Gamecube games that used the Gameboy Advance as multi-player screens. This is old hat.

Or an ad for Xbox SmartGlass? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46544533)

Microsoft has an app called SmartGlass that lets a player use a smartphone or tablet as a second screen and controller for an Xbox family console. But one problem with SmartGlass is that though tablets are ideal for positional control, very few phones and tablets have the discrete buttons needed for solid directional control. The only ones I can think of are Sony's Xperia Play, NV's Shield, Archos GamePad, and various obscure JXD products.

Re:This whole thing seems like an ad for the Wii U (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | about 7 months ago | (#46544697)

Split/shared screen isn't really the same thing as Wii U, though. And the article barely mentions the idea of dual screens.

Every console supports split screen right now, because Shooters have it. And fighters have shared screen. It isn't anything the Wii U is leading the way at.

The article was interesting to me, because personally I gravitate towards RPGs and an occasional quirky type game. I'd love to do a shared/split screen game, but they're all shooters & fighters. The only real exceptions I've found are the RPG Fable 2 (which was a bit of a button-masher, but OK), and the puzzle game Ilomilo which is pretty fun. Oh yeah, and those old Guitar Hero games, but that's not really my thing.

Re: This whole thing seems like an ad for the Wii (1)

Radres (776901) | about 7 months ago | (#46546211)

Try Diablo 3.

Re:This whole thing seems like an ad for the Wii U (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 7 months ago | (#46546197)

Yes, I'm sure 2014 will be the year where having a second screen off the TV is a gaming essential for the next generation of gamers.

Baloney.

Oh, I'm sure it will eventually be sold that way, but if you're already looking at a 60" mega-screen, what possible advantage is an ipad on the coffee table over a picture-in-picture?

This whole thing sounds suspiciously like a marketer's press release. Somebody's trying to sell something that they weren't able to sell before because nobody wanted it the first time.

By the way, this is another reason why PC gamers are superior: we have ALT-TAB and don't need some extra device to give us additional functionality that we don't want anyway. And even if having a second screen off the TV did gain popularity, it will be very shortlived because it's just dumb. VR head gear like the Oculus Rift will make it obsolete before it comes to market.

networking gaming is anti-social (5, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | about 7 months ago | (#46544265)

Okay, not really. But I was just lamenting last night how because of Xbox live/PSN, people don't get together to game as much.

In the dreamcast/early xbox days, my friends and I would get together at one of our houses (all young adults without real adult responsibilities yet other than feeding ourselves and paying the rent) and play games all the time. A couple at a time on the couch playing while the others in the group joked, watched, BSed and did other things. My wife participated in the discussion of those games even though she never played, just because of the environment.

Now, its net games and while 2 of us may talk about it, the 6 or so of our little click no longer has the conversation we once had. People not playing the game are simply not part of the game. And yes, my wife could pull up a console/laptop and 'watch' me play ... but thats pretty lame.

The fun part of gaming to me was when my friends and I got together, same physical location, and played. It was really just like board games. Something cool would happen, like a cool trick in Tony Hawk, or that really smooth Top Gun like 'put on the brakes and he'll fly right by me' move you pulled off in Descent, and everyone, winner, loser, and non-players would get excited. It was like a mini sporting event.

Hell, even finding out why you just not beat one of your friends time after time is because he kept looking at your half of the screen was 'fun' as you all laughed about it afterwords. Wall-hacks don't have the same pleasure after the fact when it comes out.

You don't get any of that with net gaming. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE net games, but split screen, 5-6 of your friends sitting on the couch TOGETHER playing ... THEN eating together or something ... You don't see that anymore and that was just freaking awesome.

Re:networking gaming is anti-social (2)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about 7 months ago | (#46544299)

>Okay, not really. But I was just lamenting last night how because of Xbox live/PSN, people don't get together to game as much.

With life in general, people don't get together as much, because friends scatter to various states and countries over their lifetimes. Thanks to online gaming, I can get together to game with friends that I haven't seen IRL in years.

Re:networking gaming is anti-social (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46544387)

The counterpoint though, and one I agree with, is that the internet has taken away the motivation to make that effort for physical presence.

We can just talk to/play games with our friends online, so where in the past we would actually go through a lot of hassle to find some weekend where we could all meet up and play some total annihilation or C&C, or board games, or whatever.. now we don't.

I hate to say lame stuff like this, but the internet has actually made us less connected in some ways :S

Re:networking gaming is anti-social (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46544885)

the internet has taken away the motivation to make that effort for physical presence.

I disagree, fellow AC. The Internet is merely a tool. You could just as easily to use the Internet to hook up and schedule meetings IRL. There have been stories of social media allowing old friends connecting with each other again.

In GP's scenario where friends live far away from each other, there may not have been any interaction at all without the Internet

I would attribute the lack of motivation more to the fact that life in general is more fast paced and busier than ever. One example of this is the shift in attitudes towards parenting. Modern parents are more involved with their children, but that means they have less time for themselves to catch up with friends.

Stranger matches avoid time zone problems (1)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46544573)

friends scatter to various states and countries over their lifetimes. Thanks to online gaming, I can get together to game with friends that I haven't seen IRL in years

Even friend matches are reportedly hard to arrange when the friends move to different time zones. This is why a lot of people rely on pickup matches with strangers. (See CronoCloud's comment [slashdot.org] and Meg Wolitzer's article [nytimes.com] .)

Re:Stranger matches avoid time zone problems (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 7 months ago | (#46545071)

Note that I said "Play with whomever, whether they're in your friends list or not." Remember that you can "friend" instantly, and if your game time is fairly consistent, the same people will be online. Think of pick up games as an "introduction".

For example I'm involved in Second Life, and I tend to see certain people...a lot. Because of "when" I play my SL friends list has a mix of people, people from the UK, SAHM's, west coasters, telecommuters. Doesn't really matter who or where they are, we just tend to be in SL at the same time. That makes them the pool to draw friends from.

You can do the same with online gaming.

Re:Stranger matches avoid time zone problems (1)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46545199)

I've noticed the same phenomenon in IRC: certain people tend to be on at certain times. So I guess friend matches are for people you know from outside the game, and pickup matches are for people you meet on the inside (Lockup flashbacks notwithstanding). Both philosophies are valid, though Nintendo was slow to warm to the latter for child protection reasons.

Re:Stranger matches avoid time zone problems (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 7 months ago | (#46545379)

So I guess friend matches are for people you know from outside the game, and pickup matches are for people you meet on the inside

Not quite, because you can make friends INSIDE the game.

Re:networking gaming is anti-social (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46544329)

I miss lan parties as well.

Yes you can still do it, but no one (at least not in my circles) do. It's a huge bother for everyone to bring over there gear and get it all set up, and where before you pretty much had to in order to get the gaming experience, now that you can just "play over the net" people are less willing to go through the bother.

Not to mention many recent games don't have a lan mode so you just end up with everyone in the same room overloading your shitty internet connection trying to play on some internet server (that whole concept just pisses me off).

Re:networking gaming is anti-social (1)

Megane (129182) | about 7 months ago | (#46544477)

There's less of an excuse now to not bring your own box, what with non-wimpy laptops being common, and with displays not being boat anchors like they were ten years ago. I'd also like to see some two-room team-vs-team LAN play, like the Artemis folks can do.

I guess kids these days are just too lazy to go outside with their computer and get on my lawn where I can shout at them to get off my lawn.

Multiplayer between owners of different games (1)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46544655)

There's less of an excuse now to not bring your own box

If one player owns a copy of Counter-Strike and the other a copy of Unreal, they can't play multiplayer despite the games being so similar (both first-person shooters) that basic skills will transfer. Back when 2D fighting games were popular, you might have a Street Fighter game at one house and a Mortal Kombat at the other.

Besides, to what extent can households with more than one gamer afford multiple copies of each game?

Re:networking gaming is anti-social (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46544733)

Just a dissenting perspective: I had an easier time carrying my (then large) 17" CRT than I do now my massive LCD that is wall-mounted.

Re:networking gaming is anti-social (2)

kamapuaa (555446) | about 7 months ago | (#46544725)

But you were 24 then, naturally you would hang out with friends doing silly crap more than when you're 39. You probably go to bars less now, as well. Just the way life works.

Kids game too (2)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46544741)

When you're 39 you're more likely to have fathered or given birth to children who are also gamers. Split-screen means you don't have to stay on the upgrade treadmill for two PCs or two consoles.

Re:Kids game too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46545249)

Split-screen means you don't have to stay on the upgrade treadmill for two PCs or two consoles.

No, not buying new games means you don't have to stay on the upgrade treadmill (assuming you didn't buy a game that has stupid DRM schemes)

If you can find the hardware/emulator, you can still enjoy split screen Street Fighter (2 turbo champion special edition) today

Alas, your kids won't have it. All their friends got a different game [slashdot.org] , and they'd rather play with their friends than their parents. You know, just like how most of the time they don't watch the same shows as you. Only on the odd occasion would you all go see that Pixar flick, and they get annoyed by how you started crying like a little girl, hugging them and telling them how much you love them ;p

No more Xbox Live for original Xbox games (1)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46545399)

No, not buying new games means you don't have to stay on the upgrade treadmill (assuming you didn't buy a game that has stupid DRM schemes)

Online multiplayer usually "has stupid DRM schemes". For example, Xbox games no longer work online after Microsoft made a patch to Xbox Live that was incompatible with the original Xbox.

That just means XBox is part of the tread mill too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46545769)

Yes, the original XBox is more than 10 years old. It just means the tread mill has been going for over 10 years

For better or worse, new games like to use what technology has to offer. The only way to not get caught is to not ever buy anything new that use technology that your current PC or console lacks.

Split screen itself will not save you. If your split screen game has stupid phone home DRM even for single player, you'll still be SOL

Re:networking gaming is anti-social (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46544753)

Okay, not really. But I was just lamenting last night how because of Xbox live/PSN, people don't get together to game as much.

In the dreamcast/early xbox days, my friends and I would get together at one of our houses (all young adults without real adult responsibilities yet other than feeding ourselves and paying the rent) and play games all the time. A couple at a time on the couch playing while the others in the group joked, watched, BSed and did other things. My wife participated in the discussion of those games even though she never played, just because of the environment.

Now, its net games and while 2 of us may talk about it, the 6 or so of our little click no longer has the conversation we once had. People not playing the game are simply not part of the game. And yes, my wife could pull up a console/laptop and 'watch' me play ... but thats pretty lame.

The fun part of gaming to me was when my friends and I got together, same physical location, and played. It was really just like board games. Something cool would happen, like a cool trick in Tony Hawk, or that really smooth Top Gun like 'put on the brakes and he'll fly right by me' move you pulled off in Descent, and everyone, winner, loser, and non-players would get excited. It was like a mini sporting event.

Hell, even finding out why you just not beat one of your friends time after time is because he kept looking at your half of the screen was 'fun' as you all laughed about it afterwords. Wall-hacks don't have the same pleasure after the fact when it comes out.

You don't get any of that with net gaming. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE net games, but split screen, 5-6 of your friends sitting on the couch TOGETHER playing ... THEN eating together or something ... You don't see that anymore and that was just freaking awesome.

I agree. The most fun I've ever had gaming in my life was playing with friends all together, split-screen. Whether it be Bond deathmatch games or 4-player Mario Kart, it's just more fun to play together in person. I don't play nearly as much as in the past, but the fact that this is ever-decreasingly possible just annoys me. Yea, I play games online against (now) distant friends, and there is definitely a place for it, but I wish we at least still had the OPTION to play together, in-person.

Re:networking gaming is anti-social (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 7 months ago | (#46546039)

Agreed. I loved the evenings of multiplayer fun with friends on the old XBox or PS, and we had some good fun playing Goldeneye on a Nintendo at work, locked away in a secret NATO dungeon. Later I got a PS3 and was seriously disappointed with the selection and quality of head-to-head games in split-screen. Most games are single and net play only, and if they have split screen it usually sucks.

Luckily the guys at my old employer still throw a little LAN party every 2 months or so at the office: games, beers and good natured rage.

Riptide (1)

rykin (836525) | about 7 months ago | (#46544371)

A new game was recently announced on the Xbox that will provide 6-player split-screen running at 60fps. I'm really excited for this because I am hoping it will spark other developers to emulate it. I'd settle for less visuals if the game is fun and can incorporate more players. Sadly, more players per game can mean less copies sold, so I suspect that will hold back any possible adoption.

Who cares about social? It's about money! (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 months ago | (#46544375)

Splitscreen: 4 people want to play, so they buy a copy.
No Splitscreen: 4 people want to play, so they have to buy 4 copies.

Guess what's more interesting for the company making the game.

Re:Who cares about social? It's about money! (1)

Anrego (830717) | about 7 months ago | (#46544445)

On the other hand, it's a good way to advertise games to other parties.

I was first exposed to a lot of the games I bought as a kid by playing them at a friends house. I imagine the inverse was true of my friends. We all kinda had the same game collections, some we discovered on our own, some we were introduced to. I can't think of any games off the top of my head that we played and I liked but I didn't have my own copy of eventually.

Re:Who cares about social? It's about money! (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 months ago | (#46544663)

Oh please, peer propaganda is so 1990s.

Today, everyone has access to the internet and various "test pages". It's far easier to influence those than your peers. There, you'd have to actually make a good game, with the test drones it's just throwing a bone at them from time to time or threatening them with not being in the fold of the "early access" test goons that makes them crank out good reviews for your turd.

1 vs. 4, or 1 vs. 0? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46544707)

Splitscreen: Our household buys one copy.
No Splitscreen: Our household buys no copies, knowing that the game will be useless at family parties.

Re:1 vs. 4, or 1 vs. 0? (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 7 months ago | (#46545109)

No Splitscreen: Our household buys no copies, knowing that the game will be useless at family parties.

What, no one plays single-player or online-play at your house?

Re:1 vs. 4, or 1 vs. 0? (2)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46545281)

Single-player: You get to play for 45, 30, or 22 minutes. That's not even long enough to get to the first save point [tvtropes.org] in Majora's Mask or some JRPGs for PlayStation family platforms. Or you can play a handheld game, an older game on a integrated-graphics PC, or an older game on a previous-generation console.
Online multiplayer: Same taking turns, and COPPA limits communication in pickup matches to which under-13 players have lawful access.
Split-screen: You get to play for all 90 minutes.

Re:1 vs. 4, or 1 vs. 0? (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 7 months ago | (#46545417)

Single-player: You get to play for 45, 30, or 22 minutes.

Who says?

Online multiplayer: Same taking turns,

Who says?

 

and COPPA limits communication in pickup matches to which under-13 players have lawful access.

No, it doesn't. Not in practice anyway.

Re:1 vs. 4, or 1 vs. 0? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46545453)

Who says?

Time between completion of homework and bedtime says. The limits are nowhere near as strict from June through August.

Re:Who cares about social? It's about money! (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 7 months ago | (#46545033)

I remember toy add from the 1980's.
The trick to advertising the toy was to show the child playing with the toy with either his friends or with his family.

Gi-Jo even with the Aircraft carrier (which every kid wanted) isn't that fun alone, you want it, because then you can get the other kids to play with you, and if it is your toy you can play the game with your own rules.
The real key is if all your friends had a different toy of the same product line, and then they can have a real adventure with them.
Now this is idealism that never really happens much. However that doesn't stop the kid with the I Want That Toy, because he still visions himself playing with all the other pieces that the other kids have.

Now with Video games. They are for the most part marketed as something to play with alone. However if they market multi-player split screen in a way to spark that type of thinking. People would still want it, as a way to play with their friends and family.
The new Wii Adds do a decent job at this. However the issue is the Wii-U just isn't up to par with modern gaming.

It requires real hardware. (0)

Lumpy (12016) | about 7 months ago | (#46544403)

The PS4 and Xbone are both jokes. they dont even support 1920X1080-60 resolutions, with 4K this year being as affordable to the poor people ($120K a year or lower) it was completely boneheaded that the Xbone came with hardware that was already 2 years out of date before it even hit release day.

The best thing was when you and friends could all play local lan, but game developers are too damned lazy to add that in anymore. split screen gaming will suck even at 8K resolution because you are still squishing it down consoles need to support MULTIPLE screens. let me hook up 2-4 cheapie $199 32" 720p tv's to the same console and let each of us play with our own screen and more importantly our own audio.

the Xbone would have been worth buying if it was an actual jump in technology. It's not. and hoping the XBtwo will arrive a lot faster to give us HDMI2.0 and 4K as well as real improvements in gaming instead of just sticking in all this media center crap.

Re:It requires real hardware. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 months ago | (#46544439)

It requires real hardware.

We had splitscreen before the 360 and PS3, let alone the Xbone and PS4.

Holy hell (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 7 months ago | (#46544459)

with 4K this year being as affordable to the poor people ($120K a year or lower)

Can you tell me which fairy land you live in because in Canada, under 20$K is poor.

Re:Holy hell (1)

Yosho (135835) | about 7 months ago | (#46544845)

Can you tell me which fairy land you live in because in Canada, under 20$K is poor.

I'm going to guess he's in New York City, because you need to make $80k there just to be able to afford an apartment and food, and for some reason people in NYC assume that the cost of living is that inflated everywhere else, too. Could also be Los Angeles, though. Or he could be a troll.

Re:Holy hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46544931)

Median NYC household income is $50k.

Re:Holy hell (1)

Yosho (135835) | about 7 months ago | (#46546813)

And have you ever seen how awful some of the ghettos and slums there are? They drag down the median a bit. I probably should've specified "a decent apartment".

Re:It requires real hardware. (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | about 7 months ago | (#46544693)

You've summarised the hardware purist argument pretty well. However, Sony and MS both had good reasons for pitching their technology at the level they did.

First, they'd waited more than long enough already to replace their old hardware. The 360/PS3 generation was the longest console generation on record and almost certainly ran longer than was good for either Sony or MS's business. It gave PC gaming (remember when that was dying) a shot in the arm to the point where it started eating the consoles' lunch and it resulted in a sales-fatigue for games that did a lot of commercial harm to a lot of developers. The story of the last 18 months of the 360 and PS3 was "new title launches, sales massively underperform previous game from that developer/previous game in the series". If they'd waited another year or two, home console gaming might actually have died - or at least, MS and Sony may have lost their place in it (Nintendo are functionally irrelevant now anyway).

Second, they have to think about hardware unit price. Push the spec too high and your unit price rises to the point where consumers lose interest. Sony have been burned before with the PS3 on launching with a high price tag and taking too long to get sales momentum as a result.

Third, you have to think about what games developers are actually capable of producing. The jump to the 720p average on the 360/PS3 was horribly difficult for most developers and the increase in costs wiped many out. The jump to the XB-One/PS4 hardware will be hard enough for developers. Few, if any of them, are in a position to finance games that would make good use of 4k resolutions.

Early 8-bit consoles (1)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46544729)

The 360/PS3 generation was the longest console generation on record

Was it longer than the second generation, which started with the Atari 2600 and ended with the NES?

Re:Early 8-bit consoles (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 7 months ago | (#46545093)

Was it longer than the second generation, which started with the Atari 2600 and ended with the NES?

Yep.

From the Atari 2600 to the NES was six years (1977 to 1983). From the Xbox 360 to the Wii U was seven years (2005 to 2012).

Regional delay (1)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46545363)

Then I guess it depends on which regional market we're talking about. The NES wasn't out in Slashdot's home country until 1985. In 1983 it was still the Family Computer, and Nintendo was searching for a distributor to bring it stateside during the great gaming recession of 1983-1984. In the States, the second gen lasted from 1977 to 1985, and the seventh from 2005 to 2012. It also depends on whether you group the TurboGrafx-16 with the NES or with the Super NES.

Re:Regional delay (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 7 months ago | (#46545519)

It also depends on whether you group the TurboGrafx-16 with the NES or with the Super NES.

Not really. The TurboGrafx-16 was indeed the first of the fourth generation, but from the TurboGrafx-16 to the Atari Jaguar was still only six years (1987 to 1993).

Re:It requires real hardware. (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about 7 months ago | (#46545611)

The thing is that it is already starting to bit them in the butt. a LOT of 4K Tv owners are already bitching on forums how their gaming system, or worse the Xbox "media center/gaming system" is useless to them on their shiny new tv (that they cant watch anything at all on as there is no 4K content)

But the complaints and bad press start with the videophiles, and will infect the affluent people that buy game systems. it will actually cause PC gaming to get a better foothold, because you can build a gaming PC to handle 4K right now and play STEAM games on it that will render the video at 4K and look damn good at it.

If anything the 4K rapid adoption by consumers will further destroy console gaming. If Steam has a clue they will make sure they support a high end PC and 4K with their Chrome OS.... and then utterly decimate Sony and Microsoft in the living room.

Is there a law for headlines with two questions? (1)

Daniel Hoffmann (2902427) | about 7 months ago | (#46544417)

Yes and the answer is "no and no"

The only problem with split-screen gaming... (1)

wolrahnaes (632574) | about 7 months ago | (#46544425)

Are the inevitable people bitching about another player watching their screen.

Guess what? We can all see each other's screens. No one has an advantage here. Learn to use the information at your disposal, and learn to minimize what the other players can get from you.

Beyond that, today we have both the screen size and the resolution to allow each player to have more size and pixels than they'd have had with an entire screen to themselves just a few generations back. As long as your friends aren't the aforementioned whiny douches it's so much more fun to be in the same room.

Co-op solves screen peeking (1)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46544479)

Screen peeking was solved years ago by introducing cooperative multiplayer, as opposed to having every FPS be a deathmatch.

Re:Co-op solves screen peeking (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 7 months ago | (#46544571)

Coop is boring.

Re:Co-op solves screen peeking (1)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about 7 months ago | (#46545165)

Coop is boring.

Get a fox to guard it.

Re:Co-op solves screen peeking (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 7 months ago | (#46545501)

Guard the flag... from the other team. 2fort5, coop against other people.

The problem with coop games is you need strategy and organization or it's just boring. One person can assess all the stuff going on around him and learn to react efficiently; but if you need 4 people, you need it to be easy enough for 4 people to just blast their way through. If they're all together, they need to communicate--which is really fucking slow--and if they're separate and doing all the challenging things, they can come together and pretty much roll through any opposition. If it's challenging enough for coop, you lock out the single players.

Re:Co-op solves screen peeking (1)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about 7 months ago | (#46545579)

Coop [google.com]
n., a cage or pen for confining poultry.
"A chicken coop"
synonyms: pen, run, cage, hutch, enclosure

*whoosh*

Re:The only problem with split-screen gaming... (1)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about 7 months ago | (#46544639)

With an 120hz display and glasses, each player can have their own full-screen, rather than split screen. I haven't used this tech myself, but it seems like the way to go for in-person 2-player gaming.

Re:The only problem with split-screen gaming... (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | about 7 months ago | (#46544783)

I started the patent application process for using modified 3d glasses to split a screen between multiple player back in 1996, basic prior art search came up empty, but I didn't have the money to follow though with it, and what with the Pokémon flickering light seizures and the fact that console add-ons rarely sell well, I gave up on it. But I do have the paperwork describing it, and communications between me & patent attorney if proof of prior art is needed.

Re:The only problem with split-screen gaming... (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 7 months ago | (#46545245)

For the PS3, Sony calls it Simulview.

Re:The only problem with split-screen gaming... (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 7 months ago | (#46545483)

One of the reasons I like split view is because more than just the players can be in on it. You can have a party with almost a dozen people watching the match (sometimes switching off on death) and everyone can cheer, praise, etc the players they are watching. With each player using 3d glasses to watch their own game, everyone else in the room can either watch 1 player (if they have glasses) or gets to see a nauseating blur the whole time.

I miss split-screen, it seems like almost every company is dropping it from their games, even the need for speed franchise (where screen viewing isn't even an issue) doesn't offer it anymore.

Summary of previous Slashdot arguments (2)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46544451)

I've spent the past several years working on an article summarizing the arguments for and against split-screen [pineight.com] that I've seen on Slashdot and elsewhere. The big problem I can see is that startup studios have a hard time getting onto a platform that allows single-screen multiplayer: desktop PCs by and large aren't in the living room (with a few exceptions that Hairyfeet will probably explain), Steam Machines aren't out yet, OUYA flopped, and the major consoles require developers to have the sort of experience that one can only gain by moving to a place like Austin, Boston, or Seattle.

Re:Summary of previous Slashdot arguments (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 7 months ago | (#46545201)

Why focus so much attention on split screen multiplayer? I mean why? There have always been single player games. I know you were once a babysitter who babysat kids with an older console connected to an SDTV but you aren't doing that anymore. That is in the past.

So rather than saying:

"Waaah Nintendo/Sony won't give me a devkit to do a local multiplayer tetris clone" you should be thinking. "I should do a flash/java/pygame prototypes of various games and genres for a portfolio and apply for a job at an already existing studio."

You don't actually move, till you have the job.

Re:Summary of previous Slashdot arguments (1)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46545557)

Why focus so much attention on split screen multiplayer? I mean why?

Right now? Because it's the subject of this Slashdot article.

tetris clone

I moved on years ago from that...

pygame prototypes

...to that [pineight.com] .

Ah, you kids. (2)

uCallHimDrJ0NES (2546640) | about 7 months ago | (#46544521)

Doomers and Quakeworlders thought your GoldenEye and Halo were cute. I guess they still are. It always seemed to me like an excuse to not learn how to network computers, coz all that tech stuff is SO hard and for nerds. I'm confused why this is a news article. Hexen, anyone? Off my lawn. Where did I put my teeth?

VR Headsets (1)

phorm (591458) | about 7 months ago | (#46544635)

If stuff like the Occulus or Sony's new headset catch on, it may supplant single-split-screen multiplayer with single-console-multi-screen gaming for a lot of purposes.

I wonder how many headsets your average PC/console could drive.

I'd like to see a TV which supports (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46544849)

plugging in multiple consoles & doing its own splitscreen.

When my friends come over with their xbox... they have to bring a teevee too... why cant i just plug them into mine & split the screen?

PIP on the Vizio VX32L (2)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46544939)

My Vizio VX32L television has two different picture-in-picture modes: the traditional mode where the smaller picture is inset and a side-by-side mode where both pictures are squeezed into 4:3. It can show TV (composite, S-Video, or ATSC) and component (YPbPr or VGA), TV and digital (HDMI or DVI), or component and digital. This means I can run a GameCube with S-Video out and Wii with component out at once; I've done this before with Animal Crossing for GameCube. Or I can run two PCs, one with VGA out and one with HDMI out. Or I can run a race [youtube.com] with the NES version of a game (composite) on one side and the Wii Virtual Console version on the other

Hey cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46545051)

they just need to make one with this in mind.... 2 to 4 HDMI inputs & a menu to config it.

Obviously it can be done.

Re:Hey cool (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 7 months ago | (#46545511)

Actually, this would be a great idea for an adapter. 4 HDMI ports coming in, 1 going out with a selector to chose the output format. You could even have it support the new 4K displays using multiple HDMI ports or a displayport.

HDCP (1)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46546101)

I'm not so sure how well an external HDMI scaler like what you propose would interact with the HDCP that some consoles require even when playing games.

Use for all the 3DTVs out there (1)

Garisimo (689294) | about 7 months ago | (#46544853)

They should make split screen games that take advantage of 3D screens; each person wears only one type of lens allowing them to see just their screen.

Re:Use for all the 3DTVs out there (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 7 months ago | (#46545229)

Already been done, Sony calls it Simulview

Re:Use for all the 3DTVs out there (1)

Garisimo (689294) | about 7 months ago | (#46546375)

Cool!

Halo was the gamechanger (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46545123)

Really, the first Halo is what changed all this imo. Quite a few of my friends used to get together and have Halo bouts in split screen during high school, and we would even link up 4 xboxes and TVs in the same room to have 8v8 matches. This got a *lot* of people interested in multiplayer, especially some of the less typical gamers at the time. When Halo 2 came out, it had a very good online multiplayer system, so a lot of us started playing online instead of gathering at one place. This started getting the general masses used to online multiplayer and also got them hooked on xbox live. Once the 360 came out, people were hooked, and then the Call of Duty/Battlefield type games started trickling in and that was that, goodbye split screen.

Re:Halo was the gamechanger (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 7 months ago | (#46545275)

Quite a few of my friends used to get together and have Halo bouts in split screen during high school, and we would even link up 4 xboxes and TVs in the same room to have 8v8 matches.

The key statement being "high school". We see a lot of "I did goldeneye/halo at college" comments over the years, but then you realize that once you're no longer in school and share schedules and living space with lots of people in the same age/interest bracket, it becomes harder to do.

Next generation of gamers, not just games (1)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46545759)

True, the generation who grew up with GoldenEye aren't kids anymore. But the GoldenEye generation is having kids, or at least nephews or nieces, and the possibility of sharing the experience with these youngsters once they're of gaming age may help bring back split-screen.

A good use for 3D? (1)

chris200x9 (2591231) | about 7 months ago | (#46545291)

I've always been a fan of his: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com] pretty much split screen as full screen through a passive 3D tv when you switch up the lenses in the glasses.

Split screen sucked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46545345)

In the 90s my bachelor pad had 16-port 100 Mbps switch and living + dining room had wall + electrical wiring for 10 computers. I had 3 gaming rigs and friends would bring the rest. Everyone had their own screens. We had all the yelling, cheering, ball busting, and fun during those day. With a scented candle burning full time in the bathroom!

We do all the stuff today with Internet games using Ventrilo (minus the candle burning).

Supreme Commander can use 2 screens (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46545597)

Extremely useful for watching another part of the map or displaying the whole "minimap".

According to betteridge's law of headlines... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46546851)

No! Err... wait, What?

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