Divide and conquer: Halo 5 is the first in the series to not support local multiplayer of any kind

Halo 5 Guardians
If you want to play 343 Industries’ upcoming Halo 5: Guardians with your friends, they’re going to need their own copy. After first confirming that there would be no local cooperative play in the campaign, 343 and Microsoft have now made official that the game will not support split-screen multiplayer or LAN play of any kind in any of its modes. 343 studio head Josh Holmes dashed fans’ hopes for local multiplayer in response to a question on Twitter:

Microsoft subsequently confirmed in a statement to Ars Technica that the “extremely difficult [decision]” to remove all split-screen modes was in order “to ensure that fans get the best Halo experience yet, and the team felt a split-screen experience would compromise the gameplay design and the visual bar they’ve set.” At least in part that means maintaining animation at 60 frames per second. The complete removal of local multiplayer contradicts another Tweet from Holmes in January, which indicated that two-player split-screen would be supported:

The “dedicated servers” part of Holmes’ tweet also seems to sign a death warrant for LAN support as another way to play in the same physical location as your friends. Halo: The Master Chief Collection also did not officially support LAN parties, though Ars Technica points out that “LAN connectivity can be used in that game so long as all connected Xbox One consoles are also connected to Xbox Live via Wi-Fi,” so there may be a similar workaround for Halo 5.

Every previous first-person shooter in the Halo series, from 2001’s Halo: Combat Evolved to last year’s Halo: The Master Chief Collection, has supported local, split-screen multiplayer. Before Internet-connected consoles were the norm, local multiplayer was instrumental in developing the Halo community. As the comments on our previous story about the lack of split-screen campaign support indicate, playing live with friends is the core of the Halo experience for many players.

Halo sits roughly dead center in mainstream gaming, and so this decision to focus on graphics over such a major component of gameplay is somewhat indicative of the AAA industry’s priorities in general right now. Local multiplayer is being phased out in favor of online play. The business logic of requiring every player to purchase the game is anti-consumer and underestimates the value of playing together in the same place. While indie projects such as Starwhal, Gang Beasts, and Monaco have responded by modernizing couch multiplayer, and board games are better than ever, fans of conventional shooters are largely out of luck if they want to play the latest games locally.

Halo 5: Guardians comes exclusively to Xbox One on October 27, 2015.

Available at: Amazon Best Buy Gamestop Microsoft Store

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: heat-powered watches, phone cases with reflexes

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Computing

Our favorite Windows apps will help you get the most out of your new PC

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks.
Computing

Don’t even bother with the rest. Here are the only laptop brands that matter

If you want to buy your next laptop based around a specific brand, it helps to know which the best brands of laptops are. This list will give you a good grounding in the most reliable, quality laptop manufacturers today.
Deals

Walmart slashes prices on the Fitbit Versa smartwatch and Charge 3

We are officially halfway through January, and for a lot of us, that means the struggle to stick to our New Year's resolutions is in full force. Walmart is offering some great discounts on Fitbits to help you stay on track.
Deals

You can get a refurbished Apple Watch for under $200 at Walmart right now

The Apple Watch reigns at top in the smartwatches market, but with its costly price tag attached, it’s often hard to afford this great wearable device. Walmart is offering steep discounts for refurbished Apple Watch Series 3, Series 2…
Gaming

Verizon video game streaming service leaked, currently testing on Nvidia Shield

Verizon is currently testing a video game streaming service that is already running on the Nvidia Shield set-top box, according to The Verge. The platform, named Verizon Gaming, will also eventually launch on Android smartphones.
Gaming

Dataminers discover SNES games, more emulators for Nintendo Switch Online

Nintendo Switch Online may soon launch SNES games and more emulators, according to data miners. The list of hidden SNES titles include Breath of Fire 2 and Star Fox 2, while the other emulators may be the Nintendo 64 and Nintendo GameCube.
Gaming

‘RollerCoaster Tycoon 2’ ride takes 12 years to complete

A RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 player has constructed a coaster in the game that will take more than 12 years to complete from beginning to end, and is actually a tiny ride taking up a small portion of the landscape.
Gaming

‘Battlefield V’ adds Squad Conquest mode in ‘Lightning Strikes’ update

Electronic Arts and DICE have detailed what is included in the Battlefield V update Lightning Strikes. The update includes access to the mode Squad Conquest through the end of January.
Gaming

Here's everything you need to know to trade in 'Pokémon Go'

After literally years of waiting, Pokémon Go finally gives trainers the option to trade Pokémon with others. It's not easy, though, and the cost is quite high if you try trading with strangers.
Gaming

You're never too broke to enjoy the best free-to-play games

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially-popular League of Legends.
Gaming

‘Rocket League’ is the latest game to get full cross-platform play

Psyonix has announced that Rocket League now supports full cross-platform play across PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC, joining Fortnite as the only games to do so.
Gaming

Here's what you need to know about 'World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth'

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is the latest expansion for the now 14-year-old MMORPG. It goes back to the roots of the Alliance vs. Horde conflict. Here's what you need to know.
Product Review

'New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe' is 2D platforming wizardry

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is the latest Wii U game to come back from the dead on Switch. And wow, it’s much better than we remembered.