Indie Developers: Offline only Co-op sucks
love co-op games, especially “couch Co-op” where it is one screen, one game, many players. However, this is a console thing. It should not be an expectation on PC. The logistics and comfort of the standard gamer’s PC rig is just not built for it. PC or console, the modern expectation is that online is an option in every co-op game or VS game, period. I know there are some fabulous games on out there that are hindered by this. Crawl, a game I really like is a good example of this. It just has to be played co-op to really be played, and there is no online option.
Firstly, The logistics are a mess. Our gaming PC’s USB ports are already full of keyboards mice, headset dongles, chargers for our phones, webcams, and cords to charge our controller. Getting more wired controllers in there means buying extra hardware to get a hub, managing to sync up a bunch of wireless controllers to the system, or unplugging things. In addition, most PC players do not have more than one controller for games, if that. So it comes time to now have to scavenge from consoles. Then there are the real masochists that try and play multiplayer on one keyboard. PC gaming is built around a single user, Co-op really has to be in an online environment. On console, the logistics of it are a bit better and I quite enjoy couch co-op there, but not all the time. Sometimes I can not find or do not want some other person right there with me. I expect to be able to play online. That brings me to my second point, Expectation.
Everything is online now. My watch is online, people have refrigerators and baby monitors online A game with more than one player is expected to be able to be played online. That is all there is to it. I know in the most basic sense that online is not a magic easy setup, but in this era of gaming, it is almost as necessary as good gameplay and controls. It is too important to even list it as a “future maybe” for games that offer more than one player. Really, indie developers. I love your games, I really do. The innovation and creativity of gaming rests with you. That said, there are just basics that are expected that you just gotta have and unfortunately, online for multiplayer is one of them.
In the end, there are some games that do this very right, and some that do it very wrong. Unfortunately, it is mostly indie games that do it wrong. either it is a lack of net code proficiency or cost for servers and networking that are main reasons. This is holding these gems from their true potential and it is unfortunate.