The New Tier Of Consoles Will Finally Bury Split-Screen Gaming

Ever since gaming began playing with a friend has not only been more enjoyable, but it has carried various benefits such as an additional competitive edge, moments that could be collectively remembered by two (or more) people (remember "cheating" by looking at the other player's portion of the screen?) and overall, arguably left a higher sense of achievement (considering you were the 'winner'). However, in recent years split-screen has been given a backseat whereas online multiplayer has been prioritized due to the plethora of benefits it holds when compared to split-screen gaming. To gamers of old, the time for split-screen gaming has regrettably come, and thanks to various elements within the new league of consoles, will be buried and left behind. Here is why split-screen gaming is on her way out after prevailing for so long within the gaming industry.

Rewind time and we land in the PS2's era - a time of progress, development and most importantly, change. Within this era we saw graphics change from pixelated blocks into annular shapes complete with detailed limbs and succinct detail. That wasn't all, we also saw the introduction of online gaming to the general population - a pleasure formerly exclusive to PC gamers; however, it took a while to catch-on due to the equipment needed to do so, and during this period split-screen was the average gamer's first choice when in need of a quick, fast-paced competitive rush.

Since the success-filled days of Sony's Playstation 2 things have changed, drastically. Ever heard of the phrase "old trends die fast?" Well, that was the case when we jumped from Xbox and Playstation 2 to their successors, and the trend that "died" was split-screen. Well, it didn't die as some games fortunately retained the function, however, compared to the previous generation's offering, games including split-screen were scarce - too scarce. This was the push-moment for split-screen gaming. Not only did this generation introduce most gamers to the joy of online gaming (thanks to technology leaps), but it made split-screen gaming seem dated.

If we jump ahead from now we land in the upcoming console generation: the generation of the Xbox One, Playstation 4 and Wii U. Despite the latter not bearing this function, the former two now demand a fee be paid for the player to access online multiplayer. The sad reality of this means that split-screen gaming will be pushed even further backwards on the priority list of developers; therefore, while online multiplayer grows, split-screen will fade even more, and eventually, we'll see the end of split-screen gaming when developers see no reason to use resources on a mode that won't be used as frequently as an online mode when they could use their funds to improve the latter. Sadly, the demand for an online fee means that gamers will strive to get their money's worth from the multiplayer portion for which they paid and sure, they may use the rare split-screen mode once or twice, but in the end, it will universally be discontinued due to the advances made by modern technology.

Not only does the multiplayer-fee (Xbox Live Gold & Playstation Plus) pose a threat to online gaming, but so does other features packed with the new generation of consoles. For example, on the Playstation 4 one can now see a live-feed of the game a friend is playing - this sounds familiar, right? Of course it does! Remember, sitting on a couch watching a friend play their new game? This ground-breaking addition will regrettably damage split-screen gaming even further as it'll mean gamers no longer have to visit a friend's house to see the latest title in action. In addition, the Playstation 4 and Xbox One's cross-game chat now mean that both consoles aim to create the social-aspect of online multiplayer regardless of what game you're playing.

Furthermore, who could forget the Wii U? The Wii U's controller alone seems to deter consumers from purchasing another (due to the size and cost) one, in addition, Nintendo's consoles have never been renowned for their multiplayer abilities, so why would that change anytime soon? Regardless of this, Nintendo - if anyone - would be the company to retain and preserve the joy of split-screen gaming because since their developers don't focus on multiplayer servings within games, they would be able to spare some cash in investing in split-screen multiplayer. This is even advertised in Ninendo's adverts. In lots of Wii U game adverts a focus is always (considering the game has it) put on a family enjoying a game of Mario Kart (or whatever the game is) together sat on the couch or stood up, all lit up with smiles. Things like this help show gamers that split-screen isn't dead, and if anybody is to offer it, it is Nintendo. Rarely is that shown on Sony or Microsoft adverts (excluding the rare Kinect/PS Move ads) as it seems that Nintendo highlight the feature more.

Despite losing such an iconic piece of gaming we now have two things that have taken its place: COOP multiplayer and Competitive multiplayer; however, as nice as they are, nothing can live up to the thrill of annihilating a friend when sat right next to them in a split-screen multiplayer game. On a positive note, at least split-screen gaming's replacements don't allow easy cheating!

Split-screen gaming, it's been a blast.