Xbox Minecraft Locks Some Players Out Of Its Biggest New Feature

Some people who bought the Xbox 360 version of Minecraft have found themselves unable to use one of its most important features. Unless they feel like buying new televisions.

The console version of Minecraft, which launched today on Xbox Live Arcade, offers a unique mechanic that isn't available on the computer: split-screen multiplayer. You can sit in a living room and dig up blocks while perched alongside your friends and family, building all of Game of Thrones or whatever else it is crazy kids do in Minecraft nowadays.

But you can only use the feature if you own a high-definition television, according to developer 4J Studios. That's a problem for many fans, who have taken to Minecraft's forums in outrage and confusion, saying they had no idea an HDTV was required for split-screen.

And indeed, the Xbox Live Marketplace seems to make no mention of the fact that a high-definition display is required for this feature:

For some gamers without high-def TV sets, like Kotaku reader Andrew King, buying the console version of Minecraft was nothing but a waste of $US20.

"My main reason for buying it was the chance to do local splitscreen co-op with my friends," King told me in an email. "Basically it would appear that you NEED to have an HDTV, or HDMI cable, or something like that, to be able to do split-screen co-op. I own none of these things, and cannot afford them."

King plans to ask for a refund as soon as he can.

"At no point had I been under the impression that I needed anything other than the console and some extra controllers to do split-screen co-op," he said.

We've reached out to Microsoft for comment or clarification and will update should they respond.


    Not a big deal - LCD's are cheap as.

      Thats not the point. We shouldn't have to go out and buy a new tv because we weren't notified that we needed an HDTV until we already bought the game and saw the message on the loading screen. This makes me a very displeased customer

        What kind of cave do you live in without a HDTV what's the point of owning a HD console seriously your argument is invalid you may as well be playing a SNES or Ps1

          Do you realise how old the Xbox 360 is?
          And how over-exaggerated your point is?

          That's because XBoxes had HDMI support from release day right? Not just component with a 1080p mode. You do also realise there's a bit of a financial crisis going on around the world too meaning not everyone is going to be able to throw a bunch of hundred dollar notes at an electronics store employee just to play a $20 game.

          Might have to come out from under that rock a bit more eh? /tongueInCheek

          I have an HDTV. I'm using an older XBOX with composite cable. I still don't get the benefit. Is my argument still invalid?

        once you get a hdtv u then need hdmi cable $3 off ebay

      Worst logic ever.

    There are people out there who DONT own an lcd or plasma tv these days??? My freakin nephew does 6 hours a week at Maccas and bought himself one for 300 bucks. My mate on the DOLE bought himself a 200 dollar one. Theyre AFFORDABLE. Cough up tightass.

      Yeah I can't fathom these bastards who have the money to buy a xbox360 or a ps3 but don't have a tv to play it on, it's like saying " oh I bought a netbook but I can't play Skyrim on it " " I want my money back " some people need to be euthanized

        Yeah, this bastard saved up for a year to buy an xbox 360 (in change, if it matters), and cant afford the to buy memory for it (came with 4 gig) much less an overpriced tv with no visual difference whatsoever from the old tube tv I'm using now. plus, in this economy many families (mine included) prefer food over electronics, or maybe electricity, and are lucky if they can even afford internet. so maybe you should grow a few brain cells and stop insulting people who actually have to work for a living.

    When you get get an LCD TV for around $150 I don't see what the fuss is, in Australia I would say this isn't an issue. Remember Americans are stupid and don't realise that they can actually fix the issue quite easily with $150 of their USD.

      Yup all Americans are stupid, It ever occur to your genius ass that alot of kids with no money play this game?

        Then obviously their parents don't love them enough to buy them a decent TV.

          They have no money but they have an Xbox...

            And internet to use Xbox live too...

            But they have parents who probably bought them the xbox

    Buy a 32" Second hand LCD off Ebay.
    Would cost the whole part of $100.

    This HAS to be a small minority of people, right?
    I cant imagine too many people still dont have an HD TV...

      Some peoples parents are cheapskates and wont help them get any money..
      (15 and cant drive or get a job yet so the most i have is for when im mowing the lawn and i get a dollar. :/)

        I don't get money except on my birthday, or loose change I pick up wherever, which is total about $15 a year.
        BTW I'm fourteen.

    can't read half the text on 360 games without a HD-TV

      This ^^^. I don't see how after owning an Xbox360 on a standard TV for so long your FIRST problem is now Minecraft.... Almost the entire library of games are damn near unplayable on SDTV.

        Lol? I have never had a problem with my SDTV. And you know the most retarded part? The logic the developers used is that it woulf be difficult to tell which blocks are which in SD... Okay, um, so it is a bit harder to play without wasting money on a new TV -- better program the game not to run in SD split screen? Why? They gained nothing from this move. Nothing. Why not let US decide if it is worth buying a higher quality TV to get higher quality. Obviously we aren't graphica freaks obsessed with a high quality image if we own SD, so do you honestly think we would rather not be able to play a game properly than lose a little quality in the image?

    This is more of an issue in the US. In Aus everyone has a huge HD tv and we all complain about our economy and the price of property.

      Make property in Minecraft... Problem solved

    I was forced to buy a HD-TV about a year ago because the text is unreadable in a lot of games.

    But 360's are cheap, and this is a game primarily played by children. My younger brother has his 360 in his room, and most of his friends have SDTV's as well. This is false advertising, and they deserve refunds.

      *clears throat
      Primarily played by children?

        I take it you've never played Xbox 360 online?

          He was talking about Minecraft, not the Xbox 360 :p

          "and this is a game primarily played by children"

      Yup, and these are the guys who say the PC sucks because it's expensive, however text on an Xbox is unreadable without a $50 HDMI cable and a $300 TV, and obviously you also need a Live membership.

      Besides... Why not buy a PC monitor with HDMI input rather than a TV? You can sit closer to it without ruining your eyes, they're cheaper, higher resolutions and FAR sharper than a medium-range 1080p TV.

    They can afford a XBOX 360, but not to upgrade their SD TV?

      Honestly i have an sdtv... why

      i'm 17 no job... i get 7 bucks a week from chores...
      Have a massive problem with saving (wow time $15... my monthly gaming mag $14 (nothing but the dvd issue is acceptable.... monthly earning $48 (no my maths is not wrong i get another 5 a week from my gran for nothing... bless her) Massive candy craving $X where X = spare change) in other words im lucky that i get a few hundred dollars on my bday and xmas else i wouldnt even have the fucking xbox.... and it doesnt even have a harddrive (gonna have to get around to installing one)

        You're 17 with no job? I'd stop complaining and start applying for work

          I've worked ever since I was 15? About $270 a month is what I earn. I work for 4-5 hours and only 6 days a month, tax free because the pay is still relatively low...
          Come on for christs sake...

    'Murricans. Pfffft.

      I just bought a car, but the dealer didn't tell me that it needed gas to make it go. I'm taking it back.

    Although it doesn't make any sense for them to have created that abritrary restriction. It isn't like it requires a high resolution to be played. You can still play Halo Reach on a SDTV with 4 player splitscreen. That is a bit of a cop out really.

    You shouldn't have to buy a new TV to access an advertised feature of the game. Any restrictions on that feature should be clearly stated.

      Xbox isn't even designed for SD-TV anymore.. I think it's just time for people to move on with life and jump up to HD-TV.. The fishbowl is out of fashion dude.

        I'm sorry but unless you're willing to pay 2000 dollars PLUS, you cannot get a HD tv that is close to comparable quality with the picture on the SD-TV I currently have. Furthermore not everyone has that much spare cash just lying around.

          Why did you get an SD-TV of that size in the first place? What are you? An idiot?

          Troll? or just a simpleton? Do you even understand the differences between SDTV and HDTV? As stated above you can pick them up for dirt cheap now, and as they will natively have a higher resolution than your SDTV, they are already of a higher quality. Furthermore if you can afford an Xbox360 you can afford an HDTV. That's almost like saying you bought an Xbox360 but you didn't get a controller because you expect your SNES controller to work and don't see why you should fork out the money to upgrade.

            He was talking about picture quality, not resolution. A higher resolution generally improves picture quality, but it is not the only factor (colour reproduction, motion handling etc). A good CRT television can still today have a better picture quality that almost all cheap HDTVs, so Ian is not being a simpleton by saying that you have to spend a lot of money to buy a decent HDTV. Whenever I look at most sub $2k HDTVs, I vomit in my mouth a little because the image is so poor, but many people don't care about a decent picture, they just care that it says "HDTV" on the box.

              Here's a ticket to Anusland, now off you go before the trolls come. *hands ticket*

                Agreed. A friend of mine bought a 720p CRT TV and it's awesome. It may not have HDMI inputs, etc, but when most console games are 720p anyway (and Minecraft CERTAINLY doesn't need it) it more than does enough.
                And it was like $100. He has no intention of upgrading, and why should he?

                Okay, I will retract the "sub $2k=mouth vomit". that's a bit overkill... and also say that my job involves noticing picture quality in TV and games, so I may be a bit more picky than the average viewer. I'm just saying that resolution isn't the be all and end all - I would prefer to play Crysis on higher settings and a lower resolution than the other way around. It does make me cringe when somebody throws out a perfectly good SDTV and "upgrades" to an inferior cheap HDTV, which is what I've seen a lot of friends and family do... when you spend hundreds out houts watching it each year, I think it's worth buying a decent set.

                  This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.


    I don't mean to sound like a dick - but i find it hard to fathom that people would still be playing 360 games without a HDMI cable.
    There are a bunch of games that are just outright close to unplayable without one - and they never say anything on the box - Dead Rising for one.

    The Xbox 360 is a HD console, so it would be expected, presumably, that you would need all the bells and whistles to get the most from it. I don't know if people complaining about this sort of thing is really justifiable...

    Even if you save just $20 a week, like i do, you could have a basic set up in just a couple of months.

      A lot of families have their consoles on a secondary television, the OLD television. This is how I grew up; I imagine the same holds true today.

      We didn't have stacks of money; the consoles were second-hand gifts from extended family. We couldn't have upgraded our TV set-up if we wanted to. I imagine there are plenty of people in similar situations today.

      For a game like Minecraft (which - let's be honest - is not shit hot graphics-wise) to not properly support SD is a very odd thing, and is an unexpected blow to consumers who only have an old TV.

      If the game requires hardware in excess of the console, this should always be made clear to buyers prior to purchase.

      Also, I played my 360 for 3.5 years before getting a HDMI cable. It's not just a HD console.

        our main tv is a cheap 32in Samsung non-full HD LCD tv, the one my 360's on is a 42in Hisense full-HD LED tv, go figure ;)

      i only upgraded because i realised skyrim looked like shit and was missing half the screen on an sd tv

      +1 to Chuloopa - one of the games I bought on the day I got my Xbox, Madagascar 2 (crap I know, but it for my daughter to play!) flat out didn't work, because our TV (a Plasma) couldn't simulate 60Hz, I took it back to the store that afternoon completely incensed by the faulty merchandise! It wasn't until a week later when I talked to my younger brother who had owned a 360 for some time that he suggested the HDMI cable fixes that problem!!! Needless to say I felt like a dick - but they don't tell you these things!

    In my house, the games machines are relegated to the old TV while the new TV is for TV and movies. So even if I wanted to play games on it (which I don't, because digi-latency is shit), I couldn't because everyone else is always using it anyway.

    Regardless, SD is still a standard format which the 360 otherwise supports, and there's no reason for it not to. Especially in a game like Minecraft. For them not to make note of that anywhere is wrong.

      Get a new TV.

        Why? I have a perfectly functional TV right there which already displays the games I want to play. Plus for whenever I want to play Guitar Hero, it plays those with zero latency, a feature that is very important to me. Buying another TV would just be a waste of money.

        Although if you're so insistent on it, then I'll kindly take donations :)
        (and spend the money on getting more games instead, actually)

      Actually, in Australia we are now in the middle (just past? maybe 67% through?) the national push to digital television network. The old network is being switched off in Jan 2013, iirc. To watch television you will need a digital tuner.

      The implication here is that the easiest way to be "digital ready" is to buy a HDTV - which you should have already done with your K-Rudd Fun Bux back in 08/09.

        Man, I would go to a K-Rudd Theme Park.
        There'd be Tea!
        And chinese things! Chinese food is a pretty cool guy. It doesn't afraid of anything.

        Thats true.. so essentially in Australia it's your own fault for not being ready because you were given a payout from the government to upgrade, there is no excuse for not having a HD-TV in Australia.

          Although this statement sounds silly, it's so true. Back when the rud-bux were given out there were advertisements all over TV stating that the old network was being switched off in 2010. Then they changed to start of 2011, etc. It's been pushed. But for a good two years there everybody frantically tried to find the cash to upgrade before they couldn't watch anything and then ruddy upped everyones bank accounts. Clever timing...

    Honestly I think they are doing players eyes a favour. There's no way squinting at a SD tele while playing split-screen is good for you ! I still think they should have put the requirement of a HD TV on the marketplace though, it's a little misleading.

    It is kind of funny to me that of all the games available its Minecraft that needs a HD TV.

    I heard you can buy a HD tv for 12 cents!!!

    Oh wait you can't, I was just following the trend of the comments of stating lower and lower prices to try and justify a ridiculous feature requirement. Comments like this are just ridiculous, it's still FALSE ADVERTISING!

      Are you a 40 year old man who is stuck in the past? Where are you getting this claim from?

        Do you want to call up the other 40 or so studios that have made games on the 360 that are unplayable on SDTV's? As by your logic they all false advertise aswell.

          You guys are wasting your breath on this troll, the simple truth is if you own a SDTv you can still play single player Minecraft let's be honest you probably wouldn't have any friends to play with anyone because you'd be poorer than Kenny, and to all those people saying games consoles were only hooked up to the old tvs then if you are that deprived chances are you probably don't own Xbox live, hold your breath I'm sure you whiners will get your way and. You can play split screen Minecraft someday soon in shitty-definition

    How exactly is "Buy a HD TV" a direct solution to the in-game problem?
    You're paying for a game, software on a console. You shouldn't need to buy extra hardware to have the full experience unless specifically advertised as such.

    Yeah, LCD TVs are cheap as chups these days but that's irrelevant; there still exist people who don't have them, and that is still a market you should still be allowing to play your game (should they buy it, obviously) rather than excluding.

    I understand the practicality of the situation, but there's still principle behind this.

      Hi5 for similar points!

        Dear Shane,


        Kind Regards,

        Can I join in? I had similar points on TAY...

        Do I need to post them here to join in Hi 5-ness?

        o/ *waits*

          o/\o Bish
          o/\o What?

            I propose we do this:
            The 4th one is Strange, because she also made a point in TAY.

      Technological restraints. You make a game even if it looks like minecraft to display at a certain resolution, with textures and UI elements to match that resolution. If single player is designed to say work at 1280x720, then it's a good chance that multiplayer split-screen is designed to be a split 4 ways rescale at 1280x720. Theoretically that should make a single screen in multiplayer about 320x180, of which only one of these could display with decent picture clarity on a SDTV and so it's easy to play single-player but hard to squish 4 screens into multiplayer. Arguably this process is managed by the xbox, but even then the downscaling would probably result in a most unrecognisable game.

        320x180? Don't you mean 640x360? You don't have to divide by 4, there are only two screens acriss in either dimension so you only have to split the numbers by half. And either way it's beside the point The Nintendo 64 managed to split its 640x480 image (if it was even that?) into quarters, and we still got hours upon hours of splitscreen jollies out of that. Don't try and tell me that the 360 couldn't handle the same task.

          Yeah I agree, the N64 had it right, but it never had a UI designed at 1280x720 either though. Minecraft devs could have easily made considerations with the screen size of Minecraft, particularly because the game on PC runs on all sorts of resolutions.

    I would have thought everyone would have picked up on this by simply watching the trailer?

    It is a technical limitation; essentially, your standard tube or SD tv's are limited to either a resolution of 768 x 576 split that four ways, you end up with each grid at 384 x 288 pixels. essentially, not enough pixels to provide any sort of clarity to ingame text/menus etc.

      Again, the Nintendo 64 managed to cope with this and it had a total resolution of 640x480 or less to work with.

      ...Minecraft on the 64 would be pretty cool.

        Its kinda hard to explain... have you played skyrim, or the earliest example i can think of, dead rising on a crt? its impossible to read. it has more to do with the way the engine renders text.

          Nah, I only buy good games :P

          Jokes aside, I have heard about those things. And have had a little trouble reading things in War For Cybertron at times, although I do only have a composite cable for my 360. It'd be a little easier if I was running it on component. But yeah, I don't know how it's a technical limitation when older machines were able to display fonts that were clearly readable on shittier TVs under lower resolutions through composite (or worse, RF) cables. There's no reason why this of all games couldn't do the same, other than laziness on the dev's side.

            It sucks i know. i pulled this up from gamespy:

            {Capcom has issued the following statement regarding the situation: "Unfortunately Dead Rising was optimized for High Definition TV's. Due to this, the font in the game might be difficult to read on standard definition TV's. If you are having a hard time reading the text, please try the following: 1.) Adjust the settings on your TV or monitor. 2.) Try using component cables instead of standard composite. 3.) Setting the TV to widescreen ratio (even though you may not have a widescreen TV) may help in some cases."

            Currently some gamers are demanding a patch to resolve the issue. So far Capcom hasn't made any mention of a patch being in the works. Gamers can probably expect to see more problems like this as future titles are developed with HDTVs in mind. It's just a sign of changing times as the industry goes from standard definition to high definition.}


            Back in the day, i got around it by getting a VGA cable off ebay for $10. I had a launch 360 back then with no hdmi. Hooked it up to my HUGE 21 inch 80kg monitor (lol) and happy days!

            It sucks i know. i pulled this up from gamespy:

            {Capcom has issued the following statement regarding the situation: "Unfortunately Dead Rising was optimized for High Definition TV's. Due to this, the font in the game might be difficult to read on standard definition TV's. If you are having a hard time reading the text, please try the following: 1.) Adjust the settings on your TV or monitor. 2.) Try using component cables instead of standard composite. 3.) Setting the TV to widescreen ratio (even though you may not have a widescreen TV) may help in some cases."

            Currently some gamers are demanding a patch to resolve the issue. So far Capcom hasn't made any mention of a patch being in the works. Gamers can probably expect to see more problems like this as future titles are developed with HDTVs in mind. It's just a sign of changing times as the industry goes from standard definition to high definition.}


            Back in the day, i got around it by getting a VGA cable off ebay for $10. I had a launch 360 back then with no hdmi. Hooked it up to my HUGE 21 inch 80kg monitor (lol) and happy days!

    Im sorry what!? So it's OK that I have to spend $170 to get one game? They better have a fix for people without HD

    Welcome to 2012

      Where apparently our biggest problem is we're not spending our money frivolously enough.

    It's just so hard to fathom how so many people are just entirely missing the point of this story. No words.

      Exactly. It doesn't matter if affects only one person, this was clearly false or misleading advertising.

    Given the number of Wii's I've seen attached to HDTVs I'm guessing they really didn't anticipate this problem! There is one game I've tried called "Feeding Frenzy" which refuses to work because my HDMI connected HDTV doesn't have a 60Hz mode! In fact a lot of games on the Xbox are optimised for 60Hz only and therefore in Australia will only work on a HDTV if you connect with a HDMI cable (ie: Connecting with RCA Jacks through your DVD recorder or whatever basically cuts your game library in half (and screws with your frame rate - something I noticed playing and recording TF2!))

      This is something I noticed too, being a relatively recent 360 owner and otherwise lifelong Nintendo gamer. My gaming TV is our old CRT which doesn't even support 60Hz, it's only 41cm or so and is basically all that can fit in the spot where it is, so the bigger and better CRTs aren't even an option (and have since been given away to family members without announcement :/).

      But yeah, Bit of a shock to fire up the 360 and find I couldn't play any of the games because they were all 60Hz-only. There'd been a few GameCube games that were like that - Metroid Prime II, Geist, OoT Collector's Edition/Master Quest. All of those had nice big warnings on the box saying that they only ran in 60Hz mode though. Whereas with the 360 games, of everything I've played so far the only one to support 50Hz is Wet. And of those that don't, only the two Rare games have a warning on the back of the box in tiny print saying they're 60Hz only.

      Dunno how they can say they're PAL games when they don't even support the basic PAL format. Stupid Xbox.

    who the fuck doesn't have a HD tv?! hahaha... seriously, you cant even give a crt away, you have to pay the rubbish tip to take them.. yep that's right pay to get rid of the piece of crap, instead use the money to buy a real TV, they are not expensive at all..

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