Why has local cooperation disappeared in video games?

Should we really put an end to local cooperation?

Local cooperation. A pleasure that those under 15 years cannot experience (yes, we are exaggerating). The years 2000 represent the golden age of the game with two (or more) on the same screen. TimeSplitters, Halo, Ratchet & Clank: so many games that allowed you to share a consistent and thrilling adventure for two.

Today, few titles offer such experiences. Apps like A Way Out or It Takes Two seem almost like niche games, as online multiplayer has eclipsed “couch co-op”. But why has local cooperation disappeared in video games?

Local cooperation buried by online gaming?

When we talk about local cooperation, we distinguish titles offering short-term games (fighting games, sports, etc.) from those offering a real long-term adventure. Of course, many games of this last genre can still be found on PS4, but the more the years pass, the rarer they become.

Read also: the best PS5 games from 2021To understand this evolution, let’s go back to the golden age of local cooperation, at the beginning of the 2000. Online console gaming is still in its infancy. To play with several people, do it on the same screen. A unique copy of a title for fun for two, or up to four. The arrival of online multiplayer, which really exploded at the end of the years 2000, was to shake up this established order.

Big studios no longer believe in local cooperation

To share a game online , each player must own a copy of the title in question. Much more lucrative for publishers, therefore. This is even more true with the arrival of micro-transactions.

Money, yes, but not only. The evolution of the way of consuming video games has also played its part. Being in the same place at the same time to play is much more complex than launching an online game in which you are sure to find other players. For its reasons, online has become obvious.

It is more and more towards the indie scene that you have to look to find something to have fun on the same sofa (which is far from be a criticism). A glaring example of the “abandonment” of local cooperation on the part of the big studios, even a saga like Halo – whose multiplayer on the same screen was one of the real strengths – preferred to focus on single player and online multiplayer for its latest installment. The local co-op will arrive later. Today, only sagas like Borderlands or Diablo seem to be resisting on the side of the major studios.

It Takes Two, the genesis of a new era?

Investing in local cooperation, a game that is therefore no longer worth the candle according to the studios. Just look at the profitability of titles like Fortnite, Warzone or GTA 5 to understand why online gaming so popular. But now, some of the players are still asking for adventures to live on the same screen.

The success of It Takes Two, elected best game of the year 2021 at The Game Awards is excellent news for lovers of “couch co -op”. Hazelight Studios has pulled off the feat of bringing the co-op campaign back to center stage. It’s hard to imagine that the industry will take a new turn, but we can at least hope that the work of Josef Fares and his team will inspire other studios.