The Predatory Nature Of Online Games Makes A Strong Case For Local Co-Op

I'm tired of all these battle passes and fleeting online games.

Story Highlights

  • The demand for local co-op games is not dead yet, It Takes Two winning GOTY is proof.
  • Online games have been plagued with live services, battle passes, and complete shutdowns.
  • Rather than a game that can be taken away at any time, I prefer my multiplayer experience natively.

If I say “multiplayer games,” what comes to your mind? Is it online lobbies and squads teaming up to complete a fixed set of objectives? or is it a 100-player map conducting a free-for-all brawl? If you ask today’s gamers, I’m sure this is the response you’ll get, yes. But for me, multiplayer also carries a different, more ancient meaning.

For me, multiplayer meant getting together with friends, plugging in a second or third controller, and having a blast both in-game and in real life, without the worries of internet quality and connection issues. It meant playing arcade games with a friend who I could beat in the game, and shout at in person. It meant completing an entire game with a buddy by my side; the triumph was twice as meaningful.

Oh, how I wish those times could return. Today, multiplayer games automatically mean online lobbies and network play, while the concepts of local co-op and split-screen gameplay are rarely used these days. They still exist, true, but they are limited to a select few titles.

YouTube video

The Local Co-Op Spark In People Is Still Alive

An argument can be made that local and couch co-op concepts were the stuff of the past when advancements like the internet were not available. Today, everyone has access to the internet and thus prefers playing online if they wish to enjoy multi-player. However, I do not agree with it, nor is it true that local co-op is a “relic of the past.”

Lamenting the loss of couch co op gaming
byu/amyice inpatientgamers

There’s still plenty of demand for local co-op games, and many people wish to relive the concepts that essentially made modern multiplayer possible. If that wasn’t true, It Takes Two wouldn’t have won the GOTY now, would it?

It Takes Two is a perfect example to support my cause. There isn’t a modern cooperative local co-op game more interesting than that one, that’s for sure. The heartwarming story grounded in the reality of relationships augments the teamwork play brilliantly, and the creative gameplay mechanics are a blast to enjoy with a friend or a partner by your side.

It Takes Two is a perfect example of local co-op done right
It Takes Two is a perfect example of a local co-op done right

Besides, the creation of the internet didn’t erase IRL people from your life, did it? I have plenty of people I would like to play a couch co-op session with even now. Plus, it’s an opportunity for socializing with like-minded people in person and getting to know them better realistically. There’s no way online multiplayer can be an alternative for it, and you know that.

If local co-op was not that big of a deal, why did people protest when Dragon Ball: Sparking Zero seemed to be omitting it? The legendary Budokai Tenkaichi series’ revival was a long time coming, but apparently without local co-op. Seeing this disappointed a lot of people since split-screen battles were the soul of the series.

Heard there’s no split screen? Welp, there goes all my hype and willingness to give Bandai money
byu/Bostonah inSparkingZero

It still has online multiplayer, but can it replace local co-op? I don’t think so.

Online Multiplayer Is Not In A Good Spot These Days

I still have plenty more points to support my argument that online multi-player cannot replace local co-op. First I was listing the pros of the latter, so now I’ll move on to some cons of the former.

For starters, being tied to the internet is both its greatest strength and its worst flaw. Strength in the meaning that there’s no need for people to be even remotely close to each other; they can play together even if separated by tens of thousands of kilometers. However, consider this as a flaw now. No internet means no multiplayer.

What will you do when your online game hits you with one of these?
What will you do when your online game hits you with one of these?

The moment your connection lags or is disturbed, BAM! Your concentration and skill go down the drain if the network doesn’t respond appropriately. Oh, and did you know that if the companies shut down the servers, that’s curtains? You’ll lose the game and the co-op experience. Can I play Overwatch 1? No, I’m stuck with its ridiculous sequel with no way out for me.

My Multiplayer experience… I’ve got 5G internet speeds and qued for 13ms ping games. Don’t think I should be getting constant connection errors like this.
byu/W0ND3D inblackopscoldwar

Do you see my meaning now? Recently, all the heinous practices of the industry have made online multi-players an ephemeral existence. You never know when it’ll be snatched from you. Plus, online games are filled to the brim with greedy microtransactions and ridiculous battle passes. Unless you indulge, forget about making meaningful progress.

Online multiplayer these days is all about making as much cash from cosmetic items, costly packs, and tying your progress behind battle passes that there’s no chance it can beat a good old-fashioned local co-op with no strings attached. 

I’m gonna sound old as hell for saying this but if anyone isn’t sure what games were like before season passes, constant patches and microtransactions, they were AMAZING…
byu/t-alt ingaming

Local Co-Op Needs More Love, Now More Than Ever

Considering how much the industry has deteriorated by resorting to underhanded tactics these days, especially in online games, I think it’s time local co-op becomes a consideration once again. There’s still an ample audience for it, and people would enjoy multiplayer without any hidden agenda.

Please don’t stop making games with local co-op
by ingamedev

Being local means the cooperative experience wouldn’t be tied to an internet connection or server availability. Even if the game is no longer supported, it can be played with a buddy whenever you wish, and that’s all I want. Plus, some local co-op games like It Takes Two, Battletoads, Darksider: Genesis, etc. have proved that very creative adventures can be created with this concept.

Darksiders Genesis' local co-op was one of its best features for me
Darksiders Genesis’ local co-op was one of its best features for me

Thus, local co-op needs to return to mainstream attention. I’m honestly tired of all these live services and predatory online games that care more about my money than providing enjoyment. In times like this, I just want a creative game I can enjoy with a friend for a change.

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Hanzala is a dedicated writer who expresses his views as opinion pieces at eXputer. He's always been fascinated by gaming and has been an avid consumer of many different genres for over a decade. His passion for games has him eager to encounter the latest RPGs and actively look for new Soulslike to challenge. He puts forth his experience and knowledge of gaming into captivating opinion pieces.

Experience: 8+ months || Education: Bachelors in Chemistry.

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