Tell Us Dammit: Split-Screen

Tell Us Dammit: Split-Screen

So I was reading earlier this morning that split-screen support has been pulled from For Honor, the upcoming hack-and-slash (literally) from Ubisoft. It’s more of a third-person action game, really, but you get the idea.

Still, it got me thinking: precisely how useful is split-screen to people in 2016?

Now don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that split-screen should go the way of the dodo, or that the feature serves no purpose. But when you have major franchises like Halo dropping the feature, and fewer and fewer games supporting the mode, it’s hard to wonder who still uses it.

I can imagine obvious scenarios: playing a FPS with your partner, sibling, or your child. But the proliferation of families with multiple screens and multiple devices to game on — think of Minecraft — make me wonder if the “problem” that split-screen used to solve isn’t really a problem any more.

What about you? Do you still use split-screen mode if it’s available? Or do you and your friends, partners etc. prefer to play on separate screens?


  • One of my favourite, and most enduring, gaming memories is heading over to a friend’s house with my TV and Xbox 360 to play Gears of War. We stayed up all night and beat it in one sitting. Taking breaks only to pee and go on a Maccas run.

    It was so good we did it again with Gears 2 and then Army of Two and Halo 3.

    While it’s technically not split-screen gaming it was done in the same spirit. I miss that.

  • Are there any games that can support dual monitor split screen for PC?

    Because that would eliminate the problem entirely.

    • There was a time when 3D could be used to split screen. With the flickering nature of how it works, one set of glasses were set to one output, the second set to the other, so you both have fullscreen, while effectively splitscreening.

      Never caught on. Gran Turismo comes to mind for some reason, and I’m fairly sure CoD:Ghosts could do it as well though I never played it.

  • Split screen is awesome, even better when you can split it to separate screens. I used split screen with my kids mostly.

  • Whilst I’ve had some great times in the past with split screen gaming, I very rarely utilise it now. All my gaming is online now outside of the very rare occasion we play some party game, actually I still play a bit of Mario Kart but that’s probably about it.

  • …But the proliferation of families with multiple screens and multiple devices to game on…

    Out of curiosity, how many people have multiple screens sitting side by side? I mean, how many people actually have the room to sit 2+ TV screens side by side for a party…

    Or is this really saying, people don’t have have parties at friend’s houses anymore?

    • Why do they need to be side by side?

      If they’re separate then that eliminates the problem of screen peeking :p

      • Hahaha, wait, you travelled halfway across town to have fun with your friends and then you want to be in a separate room?

        Also, nothing more fun than shit talking to your mates right next to you over an awesome kill ^_^

        • When Smash 4 came out I had all the guys around for a tournament, maybe a dozen or so of us. Three TVs set up in this room, the most “side by side” they got were the two that were back to back on the dining table. One of which had players back to back with the lounge for the players of the main TV.

          No room for side by side, but plenty of room for shit talking :p

  • Never understood the vertical split-screen games. At least, the ones where horizontal split-screen would have worked better.

    I wish it was still around more than it currently is.

  • Split screen used to be great. But now we don’t have to settle for half a screen (or less). The internet and fast home networks removed the need to split screen (for me) altogether. On the off chance that the missus and I are playing the same game at the same time and playing the multiplayer mode for that game we each have our own consoles or pcs with our own tvs and monitors. I’m happy I don’t have to go back to screen sharing. Most games look great these days, but perform barely adequately (not even adequately in many peoples opinion) on consoles let alone asking these underpowered devices to render 2 view points at the same time and maintain frames. Happy to let it go.

  • Split-screen I can take or leave. Lately Ive only been using it for silly multiplayer achievements like “beat stage in 4p co-op”. I don’t have 3 friends .

    I’d like to see more system-link/LAN play though. Two consoles, two TVs beats the crap out of split screen any day. When both consoles don’t have to fight for an online connection, its even better.

  • I’ve picked up so many games from shelves and put them back when I’ve seen they’re only 2 player local MP/coop. We are a family of 4 gamers, and there is very few games outside of things of what’s on the Wii U that does 4 player local now, even a lot of Wii U games are only 2 player local.

    We do have two TVs, but one of them is a smaller screen for the kitchen/dining. As my kids are getting older I’m going to have to start looking at things like setting up proper PCs for them or getting another gaming TV/console so we can play coop as split screen gets removed even more so.

    I also wonder if the reason for major games to be dropping split screen is more because of the graphical level they’re pushing and not wanting to drop that down for splitscreen.

    Also since you need PS+ to play online and games don’t really have LAN play anymore, that’s a couple more subscriptions I see in my future as well.

    • Use the “primary console” feature for playstation or the “home console” feature for xbox.

      You’ll only need 2 subs for 4 people on ps+ (or live).

  • I miss good split-screen co-op games, I truly do. My favourite gaming memories are either playing throught Halo / Gears with my brother or having 12 player LAN parties with only 3 consoles. Now, both LAN and split-screen seem to be truly dead and it makes me very sad

  • If they get rid of splitscreen, how will they sell multiple controllers? I’ll only need to buy one.

    • Game publishers dont care about controller sales, since they dont get a cut. But M$ and Paystation would probably make more money off selling 2 games than 1 controller

  • I mean, I really like split screen, as I used to play with my sister and friends on loads of split screen games. It’s typically more fun than online multiplayer due to various factors. Having said that, we also played a lot of games that are multiplayer but not splitscreen like fighting games and such.

    I think the biggest games that I miss split screen in is racing games. I’m glad Mario Kart hasnt removed it (there would be an almighty backlash I would think if they did) because racing games are great fun in split screen.

  • Split screen is great for when you have mates whou would happily come round for some shooting of things but are not necessarily “gamers” and dont have the latest consoles and games.
    But requiring all players to each have a console+game+tv kinda kills that casual “brews and fps” scenario.

  • Split-screen couch-co-op is still awesome and more games need to support it, rather than less. Yes, you can do co-op over the internet, but it’s not the same as playing with people that are sitting beside you. IMO a lot of the reason that you’re seeing board games becoming so popular recently is that it scratches the itch that used to be covered by couch games.

    • That’s a good point, although I have a large number in the gaming group who would not play video games even if all games supported it

    • And a recent resurgence of table top rpg gaming too. I’ve just gotten back into a dnd 5ed/gurps group with the missus and some mates and their…
      Maybe I was missing couch co-op…

  • Split screen for me has always primarily been a party thing. Nothing will top gettng some friends over, cracking open a few beers, and teabagging the shit out of each other for a few hours in Halo 3.

  • I don’t really have friends over for couch gaming sessions so split screen is pretty worthless to me. Not to say it isn’t awesome and I do enjoy it but not part of my life atm.
    Will likely change a lot as my daughter gets old enough to actually play games and wants to play them with me.

  • YES! All i can play splitscreen with my friends on my PS4 is Black Ops 3 for Zombies and what not. My later childhood was spent at friends houses playing halo and call of duty and now when we bring controllers over for a game night its like “what do you want to play?” oh yeah cod if you dont want to play alone, again

  • Split-Screen or local co-op in general is important enough in my household to be the decisive point in a game purchase decision. Especially with the rarity of local co-op in this generation, we’ve bought and played games we wouldn’t have been interested in otherwise just because we could play them together. We’ve passed on games after finding their co-op features were online only.

    We’ve considered buying a second console and TV, but the logistics of such a setup not making the living room a ridiculous space has put it off, more than the cost, and instead we seem to be turning more and more to PC gaming. HTPC + Steam Big Picture + Steam Controllers has opened up a lot of co-op opportunities for us.

    I’m sure we are in the minority though, and the trend away from local co-op on console will most likely continue. Was surprised and excited to see a game like For Honor announced with it. Disappointed, but not altogether surprised to see the feature not survive to launch.

  • Every friday for about 8 years my friend comes over and we play local co-op games. It’s the get-away routine from daily life. I know what it takes to implement local co op/split screen in games and it’s not a huge effort once the game has been made (depending on the game type) but as our cancerous generations blindlessly fork over money for microtransactions and DLC that normally should be included in the game, publishers would just rather force people to buy thier own copy, just because idiots would buy into it. Greed kills a tradition.

  • I agree with what Neg and Jo said. I don’t use it much myself, but I don’t really use online either. Mostly just play stuff solo.

    Really wish LAN play was more of a thing. Remember what a revelation it was when the DS came out, and suddenly multiplayer was ridiculously accessible? You didn’t need to go out and buy an expensive cable (which you would then never have on you when an opportunity to play someone arises), half the time you didn’t even have to have a second copy of the game you wanted to play. Then the Wii came along and suddenly we had this magical wireless technology built into our consoles. I thought this is great, now we’ll be able to play multiplayer on separate screens! But it wasn’t to be. Only either split screen or online, nothing inbetween. And usually you can’t do a combination of the two either.

    I think for me the time when this most mattered probably ended maybe a couple of years ago, everyone’s gotten old and too busy to get together for games any more like we used to. Damn do I miss it though.

  • Every year me and my mate got together and split screen played the halo games as they came out, wikid fun, consumed so much time but because of halo 5 we could not continue.
    I love split screen games, so much more fun when you can push the guy off the lounge when he sits next to you just before he frags you!

  • I downloaded the Overwatch freebie – then got immediately annoyed that I couldn’t sit on the couch and play it with my 9 year old son. Blizzard stopped us from bonding over video games. *cry

  • Definitely missing split-screen gaming this console gen. Most of my mates haven’t even bought a PS4 or XBO yet, for the simple reason that they’re not interested in playing by themselves much.

    We bust out the Wii U from time to time, but theres nothing better than 4-player split screen Halo. Thats the biggest disappointment this gen, for me.

    I would go out and buy an Xbox One right now if I heard that they patched Halo 5 to allow for 4-player splitscreen, with even Halo 3 level graphics.

    • Yep. Would happily take a downgrade in graphics while playing split screen. Halo 3 did it but lowering the draw distance and LOD and nobody cared because the screen was a quarter the size anyway. I was a big Halo fan and own an XB1 but refuse to buy Halo 5 since it doesn’t have split screen. Didn’t really matter in the end because it turns out the campaign was a big shit anyway

  • I didn’t play much o Halo 5 before giving up because of the lack of split screen. It’s a real shame it’s difficult to just put a game in and play some multiplayer on the same couch as someone.

    • This is exactly the same for me. My wife and I spent hundreds of hours in Halo 3 multiplayer, hit rank 48 in Team Doubles and had an absolute blast together. Halo Reach was much the same. Halo 4 was less popular due to some of the issues the game had at launch. Halo 5? I have about 10 hours of game time because I could not bring myself to play the game alone. I don’t care if it’s the best thing since sliced bread, it’s just not what I want from the game.

  • I have a long standing grudge match(matches) with an old chum. Halo 3, shotgun+sword, vehicles enabled, Valhalla/Last resort/high ground.

    I’m pretty sure that I’m winning and he feels the same about himself (deluded).

    Play a lot of the older split screen games with this chum, even games so old that they couldn’t split the screen and had you SHARING one! Scary stuff.

  • Definitely frustrated that there seem to be few split-screen games on new gen consoles. Myself and my partner used to play a heap of Borderlands, plus any other available split-screen games on the PS3, but coming to the PS4 the opportunities are dwindling. We don’t have the money or space to have a separate set-up, and while we both have solid gaming PCs, there’s nothing quite like proper couch co-op.

  • As a multiplayer format, splitscreen’s usually a far better option than hotseating.

    These are the only acceptable multiplayer formats, though. Online can fuck right off.

  • Halo 1-4 had endless hours playing the campaign and multi-player hundreds of times with siblings and mates. Halo 5… I played it by myself once.

    • Play so much Halo 3 with friends at LAN parties. Good times. Online just isn’t the same

  • Goldeneye N64; four players on screen simultaneously. Combined with beer for hours of fun in the 90s.

  • I wish we still had split screen these days. Some of my best gaming memories centre around it, there is nothing comparable to physically being there playing with your friends co-operatively, affecting the same world and eachothers game. I want to be able to play games with my fiancee but there aren’t many options now without resorting to Halo/Gears, and now even they are dropping the feature. We don’t have separate computers, which could help although the choice is still limited, we don’t have the space and it’s frustrating not having the ability to do this together, We could play older games, but I’m not in the habit of replaying games when there isn’t even time for 5% of the new ones, the last game we were able to play together was Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime.

  • 5yo brother and 9yo sister playing Lego Dimensions together on the Xbox 360 would not be possible without split-screen. We turn off the dynamic split-screen mode so it’s just a vertical split, but split-screen in these games on console is a necessity.

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