Finding a video game to play together used to be easy.

Early Nintendo and Sega were built to be child-distracters. In the 1980’s, video games gave parents a much needed reprieve from their hyperactive children by giving them something to use their boundless energy on.

Early stage 8-bit Nintendo and Sega had lots of side-scrollers. The Super Nintendo had Turtles in Time, the Nintendo 64 had Goldeneye. Even the also-rans (TurboGrafx 16 anyone?) in the console wars had games like Road Rash that could go split-screen, so you could be legally kicked and bashed by your spouse until you fell of your bike. Then Sony came and fucked it all up. Now split-screen or couch co-op games are as rare as unicorns, and the ones that do exist are usually not worth the money and time.

Actually, it’s probably a lot more complicated than that. Sony likely stopped the wave of split-screen games because they recognized an aging gamer-base spearheading a market trend moving away from split-screen games and towards single-player first person shooters, especially played over the internet or at LAN parties. Then their kids took over and the user-base shifted again. But there is definitely a market for couch co-op games, and that’s why Borderlands 3 is important.

First, what’s Borderlands?

Borderlands is a science-fiction first person shooter that progresses like an RPG, but includes up to four player couch co-op as well as online multiplayer options. Each generation of the game includes new player characters with their own customizable skill sets, working in diverse environments filled with unique missions and terrifying (and often hilarious) enemies. Borderlands also includes an amusing array of guns, grenades and loot.

It’s one of those games that you commit to playing for an hour at 9 p.m., and look up and discover it’s 4:30 a.m. so you develop a spontaneous case of the 24-hour flu so you can keep playing.

Sorry, boss. Can’t come into work today. I’ve got the flu. | Source: Business wire

The Twitch effect

Borderlands 3 owned the top spot for most watched game on Twitch on its launch day, and has yet to drop out of the top five most watched games. It’s already generated more than 14 million hours of content, which is half the viewership that the company puled in during its seven-year lifetime.

There are 17,300 viewers watching it right now.

That’s a lot of happy advertisers.

“Borderlands 3’s incredibly successful launch is a result of the hard work and longstanding partnership between Gearbox Software and 2K. We are immensely grateful to everyone who played a role in making the Borderlands series the global, pop culture phenomenon that it is today, including hundreds of developers at Gearbox and many who have made this their life’s work. We also want to thank the Borderlands community. Mayhem does not happen by itself, and their passion for the series is what drives us to make each game an amazing experience,” said David Ismailer, President of 2K.

The game came out September 13 and has been kicking ass and taking names ever since, having moved 5 million units in the first five days, making it the fastest selling title in 2K’s history and the highest-selling title for the label on PC.

Here are some of the positive reviews for the game:

  • “The once and future king – 9/10” – Forbes;
  • “Its arsenal of fun is unmatched – 9/10” – IGN;
  • “An absolute masterpiece – 9/10” – Shacknews;
  • “A hallmark of excellence – 9/10” – Destructoid;
  • “Destined to become a classic – 9/10” – Meristation;
  • “An absolute blast – 4/5” – USGamer.

The game marks 2K’s highest percentage of digital sales for a cross-platform, cross-distribution title. A solid %70 of consumers bought the game digitally during the early five-day rush post-release, and before that delivered the highest pre-order sales for a 2K title. Sadly, the PC version is not couch co-op, but does work especially well when played as an MMO. For our buck, though, we’ll be getting it for the PS4.

—Joseph Morton

Written By:

Joseph Morton

Joseph is a Vancouver-based author and journalist with both a communications degree and journalism diploma (and a few novels) under his belt. His joie de vivre is to spin difficult technical topics into more human-centric narratives. Buy him a coffee and he'll talk your ear off for hours about privacy issues, blockchain, cryptocurrency and martial arts. Don't talk to him if you're either a tomato, a bully, or if you're not a fan of either 1984 or Tender is the Night. No. You can still talk to him. Just be prepared to be told why you're wrong.

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