It’s not immediately obvious, but one of the cooler things available in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is the ability to take on its multiplayer offerings in split-screen mode. That means you can share a TV with a friend and both dive into Cold War’s multiplayer from the comfort of the same couch.
But while it’s nice to have the split-screen option for more than just private matches, enabling local split-screen is not exactly obvious in Cold War. There are also a few caveats for using the mode on consoles. Specifically, if you mean to play split-screen online, you’re going to need two Xbox Live Gold accounts or two PlayStation Network accounts. Don’t expect split-screen to be a workaround to forking over online subscription fees to console-makers.
Here’s everything you need to know to set up split-screen for both online and local play on consoles, in all of Cold War’s modes.
Step 1: Sign In A Second Controller
Before you get going on Cold War, you’re going to need a second controller. On the second controller, sign in to an account on your console. On either the PlayStation or Xbox console families, you can sign in with a guest account, rather than one tied to either the PSN or Xbox Live. That’ll work in some variations of multiplayer, but note that you can’t use a guest account to play online–using one restricts you to local play.
If you mean to play online, make sure to sign into a Xbox Live or PSN account on the second controller. You should also note that you’ll need a separate Activision account to play online, which you can set up or sign into when you load up Cold War.
Step 2: Set Your Orientation
Cold War allows you to adjust your split-screen settings, orienting the split either horizontally (so the two screens are stacked on top of one another) or vertically (so they’re side-by-side). You can adjust between the two in the Graphics settings menu, so check on that before you commit to a multiplayer game and find yourself disoriented.
Step 3: Switch Between Online and Offline
When you get to the main menu of Cold War, you’ll see the options to play Campaign, Multiplayer, Zombies, and Dead Ops Arcade. Way down at the bottom of the screen is the info you’re looking for: The setting that flips between online and offline play. You should be able to toggle this with a single button on your controller.
Switch to offline mode and you can load into the multiplayer lobby of your choice, one that can’t be filled with other players from the internet. In offline mode, you can play split-screen against another player using a guest account on your console.
Step 4: Head To The Lobby
In either case, once you’re in a multiplayer lobby, look for a prompt on the right side of the screen telling you how to sign in for split-screen. Like the switch between online and offline, it should be a single press of a button to switch to split-screen. That’ll automatically add the player on the second controller to your in-game party, as well.
If you’re searching for an online game, the rest of your lobby should fill as normal once you pick which kind of match you want to take on (and in Zombies, once you start the scenario). In local play, you’ll load right into the game, but of course, it’ll be a little empty.
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