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Sunday, August 19 2018 @ 07:16 PM -08

Console games moving away from split-screen multiplayer

A recent post on The Verge reports that game developers are increasingly less likely to include split-screen multiplayer in their games. According to the article, the main reason for this is that split-screen gaming doubles the hardware resource requirements of a game.

In fact, while the hardware resources required for split-screen are greater, the difference is usually not that large. That's because a lot of the work being done by the console only needs to be done once, not multiple times. Of course, this depends on the quality of the programmers and the development process used. If split-screen is added to a game as an afterthought, it's likely to be much less efficient.

But the real reason game producers are moving away from split-screen is pressure from management, which sees split-screen gaming as lost revenue. If I can go to my friend's house and play a split-screen game with him, that's one less game sold. Game producers would much rather force us to each buy a copy of the game and play on two separate consoles. The extra expense involved (multiple copies of a game, multiple consoles, multiple online gaming subscriptions) is great for game producers, but a crappy deal for people who just want to play games with their friends.

In any case, this trend is certainly sad. As noted in the Verge article, some of the best gaming experiences come from playing alongside friends in the same game, while sitting next to each other on the couch. It's a much more social experience than online gaming.

Of course, some games will always include the ability to play with and against friends on one screen. Many sports games, like EA Sports' NHL Hockey series, have always allowed this kind of play, and they typically do it without even needing a split screen. This no doubt contributes to the long-term success of such games.

Game developer CD Projekt Red shows the way

Proponents of DRM and other consumer-hostile copy protection technologies often argue that without this technology, software developers would never make any money. This is demonstrably false. In fact, DRM is - and has always been - about trying to squeeze every last penny of profit from a piece of software, regardless of the consequences. The net effects include software incompatibilities, technical support issues, angry customers, bad press, and (guess what?) lost sales.

Happily, a few game developers are starting to realize that DRM, and the attitudes associated with it, are pointless. Leading the anti-DRM charge is Witcher developer CD Projekt Red. These good people recently released Witcher 3, which has no DRM or copy protection of any kind.

And the result? Witcher 3 is setting sales records, and making a ton of money for CD Projekt Red. But why would people pay for the game when they can easily pirate it? Because most people want to support good work, and are willing to pay for it.

Microsoft facing class action for XBox 360 disc scratching

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Seattle has overturned a 2012 decision by U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez in Seattle, which dismissed claims against Microsoft based on a 2009 ruling that was later overturned as well. The upshot is that the class action against Microsoft for knowingly selling defective consoles will continue.

There's a complete analysis of the XBox 360 disc scratching problem elsewhere on this site.

This is encouraging news, but the fight is far from over. Still, it's a step in the right direction. Even if nothing else ever comes out of this process, I'll be satisfied if Microsoft admits the defect and its subsequent failure to provide appropriate relief to affected customers.

WAN IP has changed

Due to a router change, the IP address of all JDRGaming game servers has changed to Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

JDRGaming Minecraft server now running version 1.8.3

Apparently version 1.8.3 of Minecraft was released on February 20 to address a crashing bug. There was no proper announcement for this update. A couple of lines were added to the version 1.8.2 announcement on the Mojang blog, but this meant that there was no corresponding RSS update.

The JDRGaming Minecraft server is now running version 1.8.3. The Minecraft page on this site has been updated with all the latest information.