The first month or so after I tried out my first MMORPG, my boyfriend at the time and I actually shared an account. One of us would play while the other studied or napped, then we’d switch. So buying a second account was an eventual necessity; finally, we could play together, and that’s what we’ve been doing ever since. I love my MMOs because they allow me to hang out with people on the other side of the world, but time and again I return to gaming with my favorite guy in the whole world — even when he’s sitting at the desk three feet from mine.
That compulsion for local “couch co-op” is the subject of research firm Quantic Foundry’s latest blog post, in which Kaleb Embaugh sorts through Quantic’s data to determine that it turns out that people really love local co-op play (and aren’t necessarily being served by the market). On the flipside, the appeal of co-op with strangers versus with friends you already know appears to drop off, whereas competitive gaming with strangers is boosted (at least with men).
“The gamer generation is growing up,” he writes. “With the average age of the gamers being 35 and increasing each year, and knowing that the enjoyment of competitive gaming declines with age, the stable appeal of local co-op points to a growing opportunity. And who knows, poker night could very well be replaced with the next Gauntlet Legends.”
What do you think about “couch co-op” versus global MMOs or even ARGs like Pokemon Go, which Embaugh says “makes the entire world a space for co-located play”? Did local co-op just move to consoles? Is local co-op bound to make a comeback, or have global MMOs taken over for good?