As a little boy, one of my fondest memories of gaming was playing my PS1 in split-screen multiplayer with a friend or family member on the same T.V. screen. The countless hours of fun and trying to best my opponent, who was sat right next to me were truly magnificent times, ones that I loved. Nowadays though it seems more and more developers are pushing away from the split-screen element in favor of online multiplayer only.
Nowadays it’s pretty easy to pick up a racing game and discover it has no split-screen multiplayer. F1 2019, while an excellent game features no split-screen multiplayer much to the frustration of my 6-year-old who wanted to race me. Driveclub is another game that my son enjoys but has often sulked about not being able to race with me. There are also plenty of none racing games, that could easily implement a split-screen feature, such as FPS games, yet developers still stay away from the idea.
So why is it, then that developers are doing this? One reason could be to cut the cost down or another could be to make more use of the resources on offer by modern consoles. It’s no secret that every bit of a game uses a system’s resources, which themselves are limited, so for developers, it must be a tough choice to choose between limiting something else and providing a more family entertaining game.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still some decent split-screen experiences to have, just not that many in reality. Lego games are one series that feature fantastic split-screen Co-Op where you can bring a buddy in to play with you and then there’s Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on the Nintendo Switch, which is a game me and my son love dabbling in, thanks to its fantastic split-screen multiplayer options. Then there are adult games like Borderlands, which offer split-screen Co-Op, which can be combined with online Co-Op.
The thing is though, there just aren’t as many split-screen multiplayer games as there were back in the days and to me that’s a shame. Is it dead? no, not yet, but is it dying? I’d say yes it is and while its demise isn’t too close, I can certainly see a future where its existence is much more limited.