The Decline Of Split Screen

If you’re anything like me, you have a lot of fond memories of playing split screen deathmatches in Goldeneye for the N64. You and three of your friends would huddle around one TV and frag each other for hours, not caring that you only had a fourth of the screen to yourself. This tradition continued in subsequent generations with games like Halo carrying the split screen torch. Unfortunately, with the advent of online networks like Xbox Live, this once integral feature has become increasingly scarce and possibly on the brink of dying.


A lot of games still offer 2 player split screen play, and that’s just fine. But what happens when you have a third person in the room? Your gaming options decrease significantly if you want this extra person to do anything more than wait for his/her turn. Even some games that seem tailor made for four people don’t offer the option for all four people to be in the same room. I’m looking at you, Left 4 Dead.

There are, of course, games that encourage four people to play together. Rock Band and Guitar Hero: World Tour are incredible experiences when you have four people playing together. Unfortunately, the barrier for entry on these franchises is much higher than your average game.

Guitar Hero World Tour

So are we witnessing the decline and possible slow death of four player split screen play? Will playing side by side on the couch become as outdated as wired controllers and the cartridge slot?

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  • my make your games split-screen when you can add online play and sell double the copies?

    I love split-screen games and I don’t like this trend

  • mik

    You people need fewer friends.

  • Call of Duty 4 has split screen, I still play this with friends on a projector. Other than that – I play LBP with my family when the come over.

  • More split screen please! Among my friends Halo 3 is probably the most played because its fun to make a team of 3 or 4 and go online against other people. Doing it online is not the same as hanging out at the same place while the wives and girlfriends all get together. If we could do this on Call of Duty then it might take over Halo among the group. We don’t just need more 4 player split screen, we need more split screen online.

  • Well resistance 2 supports 2 player split screen on co-op games and competitive. Whats nice about it is that you can take the feature online, you and your buddy can play 60 man battles from the same tv. What I dont like, is that it does not have 4 player split screen local game modes.

  • You People??? Do you have a problem buddy?

  • snakeman555

    I love split-screen. It adds a different way to play the game. Halo is so much more fun with a room of 4 people who can BS each other. It just isn’t the same when a 8 year old kid is calling you a ?#$%@. I think any developer who puts in 2 player split-screen in a shooter and leaves out 4 player split screen is retarded. One example of this is resistance 2 I would have gladly popped it in and added 4 players to their game, but instead I was forced to play Gears of War 2 (not that GoW2 is a bad game but I was just feeling like Resistance)