Really quick post. Sorry it's not more comprehensive, I have schoolwork dammit.
Nothing is more frustrating than being able to play a game with some fellows from Kenya, Australia, and France when you can't do a little co-op with three buddies on the same console.
Online multi-player has become one of the more usual features in this generation of games, with good reason; when done well, it can be one of the most exhilarating types of play about. Truly, there have been many, many games that have suffered from being shoehorned into the awkward fit of online MP, due to the questionable rationale that a current game needs
online MP to be profitable in today's gaming market (TES Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim aren't a good indication that this piddly line of thought is flawed, publishers?). I, for one, maintain that you don't have
to have MP to be relevant in today's market, at all, but the thing is, publishers (not always, obviously) perceive online as a sure means of ensuring a healthy sales figure, so they pressure developers into including it.
Nonetheless, my fear is that we, the consumers, will lose offline MP in this, the publishers'/developers' shuffling struggle for relevance in today's gaming market. It seems to me that the consensus among those who make games is that proper, fully operational, offline MP isn't really needed anymore, since Bob and James can just play together at their own homes, through Xbox Live/PSN/that abysmal Wii Code shit.
I think that's bullshit, and that offline MP should be even easier to strike up than online MP. It should
be positively dead simple to play with your friends when they're right next to you.
Let me tell you a quick story. Three of my friends came over to my house once, in the midst of summer, looking for something do do. I suggested they get the hell off my porch, and failing that [proper] course of action, that they come inside and play some Firefight. We settled down in front of my TV, which is large enough to accommodate such split-screen madness, and I popped in Halo: Reach.
We soon discovered that four-player local Firefight was an impossibility. Only two players are allowed when playing locally. Does this not strike you as lunacy? Why is it that I can play with three strangers across a network, but not with three friends seated next to me? Unless you have two Xbox 360s in the house (which I, very luckily, do), with Gold Live accounts on both, you just can't do it.
Yes, this strikes me as ridiculous mostly because it was a specific problem for me, and yes I probably am quick to extoll the virtues of offline co-op mainly due to the fact that I was practically raised on it, but I want you to simply consider the following: why should a network be absolutely required to play with people you know?
tl;dr: how the fuck can I screen-peek if your screen is in Wales? :|