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Why is the industry abandoning split screen co-op?

4 Player Co-Op used to be such a huge part of gaming to the point where systems were getting a lot of flack for needing a multitap.

The Dreamcast, Gamecube, and the OG Xbox all included 4 controller ports, while the PS2 required a multitap.

I know online has taken over multiplayer, but I can't help but wonder why with TVs getting bigger than they've ever been, why we're seeing less split screen co-op. Or is it because games are pushing the limit so much that they can't support framerates and resolutions necessary on 4KTVs?

Or is the thinking that people should be capable of doing LAN parties with consoles now? Because even in 2023 that's a much taller ask than asking someone to buy a multitap.
 

01011001

Member
it's hard to implement, and we all know developers these days don't like to actually optimize their games.

a splitscreen mode needs its own graphics settings, separate from single screen mode. that alone is why many will not even bother I bet, even tho most games could absolutely support it.
I mean, hell, Fortnite, a battle royale with destructible environments, dynamically placed player buildings, cars, boats, NPCs, wildlife, and a massive map, can easily support 2 player splitscreen... it even ran well on One X, a last gen system.
but even Epic only implemented this most likely to show off, and less because they thought it was worth it.
Fortnite is also always a Unreal Engine commercial so to speak, and they want to show off what's possible (which is also why they wanted 60fps ray tracing on console in the game)
 
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When you don't have friends around, it's better for DLCing, nickel and diming, and MTXing because you don't have a collective questioning what actions you take or what's a bad deal, and there's no one with experience to say "don't do that, it's a rip off" or something isn't worth the money.

Without that, a lone gamer, primarily younger than 30, will be more likely milked try like a barbie with cataracts.

Some may say it's technical issues, but even games were that's not the case, notice they are also pushing the monetization all over the place.

Unless it's a party, sports, or 1vs1 action game in several genres. Then it's mixed because it can go either way.

Except fighting games, where everyone always empties their wallet if not by Netherealm, because they want to get the color changed cloak in anime fihter 5, or the bathing suit in dead or a alive for $50 or whatever it costs. Which is why many are lacking content, especially at launch. You can have 5 people in the room and all will say pay $400 for bra armor.
 
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AJUMP23

Gold Member
They probably have data to show it isn’t worth the effort as a feature for the number of people that use it.
 

01011001

Member
I hate how many online co-op games exist without a local co-op feature.

literally the reason I have 2 of each system...
well not yet for PS5... hoping to hold out for that Slim version to get released... but the PS4 Pro is a relatively ok substitute until then thanks to publishers not believing in generations enought.

one console on the Monitor, one on the TV.
I love the Series S for that reason alone tbh lol, cheap second system :)
 
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Hobbygaming

has been asked to post in 'Grounded' mode.
Co-op is a resource hog, it limits what they can do graphically that is probably the main reason
 

TheDreadBaron

Gold Member
They probably have data to show it isn’t worth the effort as a feature for the number of people that use it.
I have a strong visceral feeling that making decisions on what to cut based on metrics like this is missing something important. I’m sure there’s a pie chart somewhere showing these features aren’t heavily used when it comes to time played, but people still want them and will buy a game based on the promise of a great coop experience. You might spend most of your time in single player, but when you have a friend over you need something you can play together in the same room, and those experiences are some of the most fun and memorable. They’re streamlining all the fun out of gaming chasing retention stats, but that’s hardly news :(
 
literally the reason I have 2 of each system...
well not yet for PS5... hoping to hold out for that Slim version to get released... but the PS4 Pro is a relatively ok substitute until then thanks to publishers not believing in generations enought.

one console on the Monitor, one on the TV.
I love the Series S for that reason alone tbh lol, cheap second system :)
Yeah it sucks that's what we have to resort to.

Same here, I have a Series X hooked up to the TV or Monitor and an Xbox one X that my gf uses to play last gen games online
 

Rykan

Member
Because splitscreen gaming sucks. It's a much better experience playing online with voice coms and everyone uses their own hardware.

People also spend less time at each others home, so playing games together on the same system becomes less and less common.
 

TexMex

Gold Member
Because I’m 2023 it’s not worth the time and resources relative to the number of people that would use it.
 

kyliethicc

Member
4 Player Co-Op used to be such a huge part of gaming to the point where systems were getting a lot of flack for needing a multitap.

The Dreamcast, Gamecube, and the OG Xbox all included 4 controller ports, while the PS2 required a multitap.

I know online has taken over multiplayer, but I can't help but wonder why with TVs getting bigger than they've ever been, why we're seeing less split screen co-op. Or is it because games are pushing the limit so much that they can't support framerates and resolutions necessary on 4KTVs?

Or is the thinking that people should be capable of doing LAN parties with consoles now? Because even in 2023 that's a much taller ask than asking someone to buy a multitap.
most people don't care
 
I hate how many online co-op games exist without a local co-op feature.

from my Xbox to the PS4.

Nintendo is the best at this and I'm glad they've never abandoned it.
Nintendo made it mandatory to have a 2nd controller in the box ever sinc3 the NES, and only strayed from that path in Wii-U.
Nintendo always assumed there is a 2nd player in the room.
 

Rykan

Member
Nintendo made it mandatory to have a 2nd controller in the box ever sinc3 the NES, and only strayed from that path in Wii-U.
Nintendo always assumed there is a 2nd player in the room.
I'm pretty sure most Gamecube and Wii packs didn't come with a 2nd controller in the box though?
 
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Fbh

Gold Member
Most people probably don't care. Implementing split screen is probably also a substantial amount of extra work too as you need to optimize the game to work decently in that mode.
And it probably doesn't hurt that it incentivizes people to buy their own copy which makes it easier to sell them skins and battle passes and all that.
 
I'm pretty sure most Gamecube and Wii packs didn't come with a 2nd controller in the box though?
It has been a while, but yeah. I guess i just remembered that when they launched the Switch, they specifically mentioned wanting two controller bundled. I guess this is because that was not how they did the old handhelds and wanted to distinguish the Switch that way.
 
Because splitscreen gaming sucks. It's a much better experience playing online with voice coms and everyone uses their own hardware.

People also spend less time at each others home, so playing games together on the same system becomes less and less common.
No it don't.

It's always better to play in person, even if we have to compromise in the graphics or fps s little bit.

What kind of forever alone answer was that...

I have thousands of hours in several DIFFERENT multiplayer games... Specially wow(6k plus hours) and I always had more fun playing split/co-op/local multiplayer games.
 

Three

Member
4 Player Co-Op used to be such a huge part of gaming to the point where systems were getting a lot of flack for needing a multitap.

The Dreamcast, Gamecube, and the OG Xbox all included 4 controller ports, while the PS2 required a multitap.

I know online has taken over multiplayer, but I can't help but wonder why with TVs getting bigger than they've ever been, why we're seeing less split screen co-op. Or is it because games are pushing the limit so much that they can't support framerates and resolutions necessary on 4KTVs?

Or is the thinking that people should be capable of doing LAN parties with consoles now? Because even in 2023 that's a much taller ask than asking someone to buy a multitap.
It requires optimisation just as much as it did back then so I'd say that's not why. My guess would be it's mainly the internet and being more connected that's killed it, that and charging for online multiplayer.

It's likely not just games either. The internet has made people more connected but more distant.
 

StueyDuck

Member
Split screen I understand...

What makes me sad is how we seem to be losing co-op games in general and when a game is co-op its a GAAS or a PvPvE type game which is crap.

I dont want 4 characters with special moves and green/blue/purple/gold loot.

Just give me days gone but it's two bikers 🤷‍♂️.. just give me hogwarts legacy with 2 people running around doing quests.

This is what secretly makes ghost recon wildlands one of the best games last gen
 
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UnNamed

18+ Member
Split screen is always mythologized.

It's easy when you're 13, after 20 it becomes difficult to sync free time with other people.

Last time I've played with people offline was during the PSX era with multitap and 8 people. So much fun, but hard to replicate.
 
Online is superior.

Unless it's a top down or side scroller game, I don't see how split screen coop is enjoyable. Highly distracting, other part of the screen.

Playing Gears of War Ultimate edition in split screen vs online is a huge difference, online being way superior.
 

Nydius

Member
Primarily money, I would guess. There's less money to be had in letting one person with one copy share the experience with one to three other friends. They'd rather those other people buy their own copies.

It's easy when you're 13, after 20 it becomes difficult to sync free time with other people.
Right?! I remember when the first Rock Band came out, I had several friends who got it and we were all stoked to play in our fake plastic band together, but trying to coordinate our schedules to get together in the same place to play was harder than herding feral cats.

Even after Rock Band 2 added online play, it was still a challenge to get us all on the same schedule.

Growing up sucks.
 

mrmustard

Member
I think it's not worth it on XB/PS, because it's more niche than VR and they want you to sub for gold and plus.
 

SABRE220

Member
1) Very difficult to optimize engines to run demanding games with split screen, especially games with 30fps etc.
2) All that optimization dosent get much payoff since the majority of the player base has forgotten coop split-screen unfortunately with the current youth having had hardly any exposure to the option.
3)Most of the games currently designed are cross gen supporting splitscreen coop while maintaining support for the weaker machines in the loop is daunting prospect.
4) People have moved to online sadly noone has the time or energy to drive to someones house just to play games everything is online focused...kind of depressing but atleast over long distances online gaming has given us options.
 

mcjmetroid

Member
Why are people saying nobody uses co-op or split screen etc? Because nobody talks about it on internet message boards?
How do you know this?

With the amount games like Mario Kart 8 deluxe constantly selling amazing amounts every week still. You'd imagine it would be a wakeup call for devs. It's not selling because of Nintendo's amazing online.
Also with the amount the switch console is selling in general. Again this is not due to Nintendo's amazing online service.

I think the lack of split-screen is a bigger deal than what people on the internet make it out to be.
 
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StueyDuck

Member
Why are people saying nobody uses co-op or split screen etc? Because nobody talks about it on internet message boards?
How do you know this?

With the amount games like Mario Kart 8 deluxe constantly selling amazing amounts every week still. You'd imagine it would be a wakeup call for devs. It's not selling because of Nintendo's amazing online.
Also with the amount the switch console is selling in general. Again this is not due to Nintendo's amazing online service.

I think the lack of split-screen is a bigger deal than what people on the internet make it out to be.
the problem is that the publishers see the 12 year old with pink hair flossing as their main target audience who plays fortnite on their phone and probably doesn't even understand the idea of splitting a screen , that's "OK boomer" talk for them.

that being said games like Fifa are practically sold on their shared screen experience, i know FUT is massive but 99% of the people i know who play fifa mainly do so when the lads are over and wanna jam before the real game.
 

cireza

Member
Co-op games are the best, offline of course with kids or friends. They should do more of them, especially now that we have bigger TVs. I prefer this to competitive games.

Not all co-op games require split screen, but it should still be implemented when appropriate. And yes, it requires some effort.
 
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Markio128

Gold Member
Co-op games are there if you look for them. Games like Streets of Rage and TMNT can be played in co-op for example. It Takes Two is all about the co-op. Sport games like MLB or Fifa. Hell, even GT7 has co-op.

As others have said, Switch has quite a few split screen co-op games, like Mario Kart 8.
 
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Mr Reasonable

Completely Unreasonable
People that play split screen are often really enthusiastic about it, it's sometimes a thing that they say is essential to their experience of particular titles.

That more games don't try and capitalise on that market is strange, since it seems those people could be sold to on the basis of their enthusiasm for the feature.

Games collect lots of data about player habits.

So, you could conclude that though some people really like split screen, there just aren't enough of them. If there were, we'd see more split screen games being made to service that market.
 

lh032

I cry about Xbox and hate PlayStation.
because gamers prefer to play in full screen.
Meme Reaction GIF by MOODMAN
 

nemiroff

Gold Member
Because splitscreen gaming sucks. It's a much better experience playing online with voice coms and everyone uses their own hardware.

People also spend less time at each others home, so playing games together on the same system becomes less and less common.

Yeah, well, if you have no friends or family play with I guess split screen for sure sucks. But me and my son (and sometimes wifey) do both regularly; We play on separate stations and comms when doing CoD, but also split screen in f.ex. The Skywalker Saga, It Takes Two, Minecraft, Gears. We usually have the better time playing splitscreen for some odd social bonding thingy reason, lol.. There's nothing quite like kicking back with some cola and chips and have a good time in split screen coop, never got that same raw feeling sitting in silos (although that's also nice with old friends living afar).

Anyway, the most common place to find split screen coop experiences is for some fucked up reason in indie games.. The implementation ratio is relatively high there.
 
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IDKFA

Dickless
I love split screen multiplayer.

My son and I have spent countless hours playing games like Halo, Borderlands and Quake to name but a few examples. Then there are the local multiplayer games we play as a family, like Diablo 3 and Golf with Your Friends. Local multiplayer is a great way for families to spend time gaming together.

Long may it continue. It would be a shame if this disappeared forever.
 
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