Destiny is upon us! After 1 year, 8 months, and 9 days, I finally have Destiny in the palm of my hands. A mishap occurred that almost prevented me from buying Destiny, but a gracious friend and roommate supplied me with the funds to buy the game (Thank you Sam!) Anywho – as I was standing in line my other suite mate asked a very simple, but thought provoking question: “Does Destiny have (local) multiplayer?” I told him that I really have no idea. 10 minutes later I was walking out of the GameStop with a brand new videogame and a lingering question. My suite mate and I arrived back at our dorm and headed straight for my room. Now altogether there are 6 people in the room, including myself. My suite mate posed the question again for everyone to hear and, hopefully, answer the question. I flipped the back of the game case and it said 1 player Xbox and 6 multi-player Xbox Live. So, here is the question that my suite mate proposed: “How come there is no more local multiplayer in games?” That question made me reflect on all the recent games that I have played that also do not have local multiplayer.
Of course, we can say that local multi-player has been dwindling due to the advances of videogame technology and the increase in the amount of players online. This is true, but is there more? The days of playing with your buddy in the same space on the same console seems to be headed out the door. This is not true in all cases, but being able to play with your friends right next to you has lessened over the past few years. I still play the occasional Mortal Kombat with my friends, but not at the same rate as when I was in elementary and middle school.
Maybe the local multiplayer exodus is a market strategy: The less people that play games with each other on the same console, the greater the chance that a consumer may end up buying a console and/or the game themselves. This creates more revenue for the developers of the game and, of course, the console manufacturers. This, honestly, is pretty sad. As a person who studies human interactions I see the disappearance of local multiplayer as a straining close relationships with other people. I am not saying that non-existence of local multiplayer will make us a more secluded community, but it does not help in the creating and maintaining relationships. Honestly, not every game needs local multiplayer – some games are better without it. The problem is that even the simplest of games that have fully flushed multiplayer do not support local multi-player (here’s looking at you Halo 4). Playing with your buddy online is fun, but nothing is better seeing the actual shock of utter defeat on your friends face when you perform a fatality on their character!
Special thanks to my suite mate Patrick for inspiring this post!