Developers Should Make More Couch Multiplayer Racing Games

Companies need to bring couch multiplayer back in racing games, and here's why.

Gaming has a lot of amazing aspects which makes it as great as it is. Not only is this medium of entertainment very fun, but it also improves your cognitive abilities and logical problem-solving. Kids who play video games are much faster and more accurate in their decision-making.

Other positive upsides of gaming include better hand-eye coordination and multi-tasking ability. However, none of these things are the actual best part of video games. What really makes video games the best form of media is the community and bonds that players develop.

Playing video games is something that brings people together. Spending hours playing games on the couch with your friends is a core memory of every childhood. Everyone has spent countless hours enjoying their favorite Call of Duty multiplayer games.

Games like FIFA have been responsible for many broken friendships and controllers. It doesn’t matter if you play with friends online or in real life, gaming creates bonds between people. The time you spend racing your friend’s car in Blur is something no one forgets easily.

Racing Games
“Splitscreen Gaming on PC or Why the **** Do Devs Ignore This” | Source: Stallion Free/NeoGAF

However, this trend of couch multiplayer is facing problems in the world of racing games. Multiplayer racing games are an essential experience for any player. If you haven’t played games like Blur on split-screen with your friends you have missed out.

Whether you are playing it online with friends or with family on a couch, it’s always fun. However, this genre of racing games has slowly been declining in quality. Nowadays, only a handful of racing games have couch multiplayer and even then the mode isn’t very good. Focus on this aspect of racing games has shifted but should that really be the case?

Why Have Split-Screen Racing Games Declined So Much?

Split-screen modes were an essential part of racing titles until the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 generations. It had some amazing racing games which were the peak of this very genre. No racing game was actually complete without a split-screen mode.

Titles like Blur really elevated split-screen racing to another level and were a relative success. However, we don’t see racing games with split-screen now and there are some reasons for that. Probably the biggest reason for the decline of split-screen games in the new generation is developers prioritizing other features.

Companies spend a lot of money on car racing games even now. However, a lot of this money goes to improving other areas of the game instead of split-screen. Work on graphics, environment, and gameplay is given more budget than an entirely new mode.

So, the split-screen feature has been gradually phased out in current-generation gaming. While a few games still have it, split-screen in them is nowhere close to older games. One other reason for scrapping split-screen is the meteoric rise of online gaming.

Players nowadays prefer online gaming to couch multiplayer in almost every kind of video game. It’s also more profitable for the companies that make these games, as people spend a lot of money while online gaming. Hence, making the overall game better for online instead of splashing the cash on another mode makes perfect sense. Friends can play with each other online anyways, so no one loses. However, split-screen racing is much more convenient than online multiplayer games.

Why Developers Need To Bring Couch Multiplayer Back:

Even though there is no doubt that online multiplayer is dominant, a lot of people still play with friends locally. Inviting someone over and playing FIFA on your console/PC is a universal feeling. Racing games like Blur, Forza, and earlier Need for Speed were the pinnacle of couch multiplayer.

Playing racing games with younger siblings with their controller disconnected is a core memory for most of us. Split-screen in racing games is responsible for all of that. Hence, removing it really abolishes a big part of what makes racing games so much fun to play.

Split-screen racing games not being common is also seemingly a major topic in the gaming community and has been for a while now. Players have noticed the decline in the couch multiplayer aspect of racing games this generation and they want it back. Players try to find modern games which do have this feature but not many are present.

Split screen racing games on PC? from pcgaming

Adding a well-built split-screen mode into a new racing game will appeal to a huge demographic, meaning that sales of the game will sky-rocket if it has a good medium for couch multiplayer. Games with a good split-screen feature always sell well and earlier Need for Speed games are a prime example.

Even if we talk about it generally, video games with good couch multiplayer are still successful. Call of Duty and FIFA titles are among the highest sold franchises in the world, and a big reason for that is how you can play it with your family or friends locally without any online mode.

Not everyone wants to play online, some just want to enjoy multiplayer with their companions and racing games are a major medium for that. In conclusion, there is a niche in the market that developers can take advantage of. Couch multiplayer in racing games has been left behind and there is nothing to fill that gap.

If any company can make a great racing game with a competent split-screen mode, their game will likely succeed. Not only will the players be satisfied to see split-screen racing return, but the companies making these games will also earn a hefty profit. 

Gaming, obviously, evolves all the time, like any industry in the world. Some of these changes are outstanding, but some take the merriment out of one of the most favorite pastimes. Removing split-screen racing from games is one of those things.

Ahmed Mansoor

Your average video games enjoyer with a deep passion for single-player adventures who writes about his favorite hobby.