Couch co-op rocks. Some of the most fun I’ve had in gaming has come from sitting side-by-side on the couch with friends or my family. Games like Overcooked, LittleBigPlanet 3, Helldivers, Moon Hunters, Diablo III, and LEGO Worlds last for months in my household before we move on. But there are a lot of games that feature a cooperative experience without split screen. As online only. And that’s what we’re here to talk about today. Should you buy a second PS4?
Grand Theft Auto Online, Dead by Daylight, Monster Hunter World, Star Wars Battlefront II, Fortnite Battle Royale. These games vary in age suitability but just because a game is rated T or M doesn’t mean kids can’t enjoy it responsibly.
Do I need a second TV?
Depending on what you have right now, you may not even need a second TV. Do you have a PC? You can connect a PS4 to any PC monitor with HDMI inputs. Laptop? You could set up the PS4 on the same TV and connect to it via the Remote Play app. On the same local area network, remote play is pretty close to perfect.
Monitor manufacturers even make monitors specifically for consoles. I use the BenQ RL2460HT and have used a similar ASUS monitor. These products cater specifically to the console experience, making them ideal for shooting games and anything fast paced.
Do I need to buy two copies of every game?
The PS4 has an amazing game sharing system for families with two PS4s in their home. Any user on your primary PS4 can play any digital game you purchase. . In my home we have “Dad’s PS4” and “Kids’ PS4″—though the kids play on Dad’s PS4 too—I activate Dad’s account as primary on the kids’ PS4, then download my digital purchases there. Kids log into their accounts and they can play any game I’ve bought. We can play any game on Dad’s PS4 when logged into Dad’s account. Now we can play GTA, Dead by Daylight, and any other digital game together having only purchased the game once.
Family sharing is a feature offered by many digital software providers, including Steam and Apple, so this feature will be around for a while.
No more split screen!
I was born in the 80s so one of my fondest gaming memories is 4-player Goldeneye on the N64. Followed closely by 4-player Perfect Dark on the N64. Back then we were lucky if we played on a 26″ CRT TV, and splitting that screen four ways was terrible—but we didn’t know any other way. While split screen is still a thing, and some games do it phenomenally well—looking at you Cel Damage HD—there’s an experience out there you just can’t have with a shared screen. Split screen usually requires a sacrifice. Star Wars Battlefront II and Gran Turismo Sport both offer split screen, but only in limited game modes.
Even some games with local multiplayer benefit from a second PS4. In Diablo III local multiplayer, everyone’s game pauses when one person accesses their inventory or skills. When playing online, one player can be sifting through inventory or changing skills while the others continue to play. This introduces a danger with opening your inventory in the first place, since the game won’t pause. LEGO Worlds sees better performance from playing online instead of split screen, and games like Ark Survival Evolved change completely. In split screen Ark you’re tethered to each other and required to stay within 200m of one another. When two players connect to a dedicated server, the whole world opens up to each of them.
So you’re saying two PS4s is better than one.
Sony is so awesome at supporting family sharing between two PS4s that there really isn’t a downside to having a second system. It opens up a massive library of games that you cannot play on a single console. The real question should be, “Do you need a third PS4?” Sony limits family sharing to two consoles, so the third introduces issues with buying additional copies of games. Probably just buy a Switch instead of the third PS4.