Snatching up Diablo IV’s $90 Deluxe or $100 Ultimate editions is supposed to give you four days of early access to the loot-grinding RPG ahead of its June 5 global release. While this early entry into the gates of Hell is welcomed, some folks, myself included, have run into an issue unrelated to the minor server woes: Local couch co-op play, which was available during the open betas, has been busted. But don’t worry, I got you. There’s a quick workaround that will let you and a friend play together on the same console.
Diablo IV is the fourth mainline entry in Blizzard’s long-running, loot-obsessed, dungeon-crawling RPG series. While not officially out for the masses, critics have already fallen in love with the game, suggesting it’s more of the same in the best way possible. I’ve been enamored with the grimdark setting of Sanctuary as well, calling it the perfect podcast game to empty your head and kill shit to. It’s especially fun in two-player local co-op via game share, which sees you and a friend demolishing demons together on the path to slaying the succubi queen Lilith. But while couch co-op was readily available in the game’s myriad betas throughout this year, the feature hasn’t worked as advertised since Diablo IV’s early access period began on June 1 for Deluxe and Ultimate edition owners. That this key feature has been busted has peeved folks to the point that they’re now posting their frustrations across official forums, Reddit, and Twitter.
Game share is the ability to share games on one system across multiple profiles thus enabling local couch cooperative play, and it’s been restricted during Diablo IV’s early access. Some have said Blizzard is “scummy” for turning the feature off. But it’s not all doom and gloom, as there’s a quick fix for the issue.
- The account that purchased the game and the account trying to play it via game sharing need to be on the same console.
- Start Diablo IV on the account that purchased it.
- You’ll need a fresh character, so if you started one already, start over and create a new character on the account that purchased the game. While doing this, turn on the second controller and sign into the other account with it.
- After the account that purchased the game has created their character and loaded into the prologue, the second player should see the “P2 is connected. Press Options [for PS5] or Menu [for Xbox Series S/X] to join” message on the bottom-right of the screen.
- Have the second account on the other controller press the corresponding button to join the game and bam, now you’re both playing the prologue.
This is very different from the way local co-op worked during the betas, which necessitated both players completing the prologue separately before joining forces to beat the brakes off of Hellspawn in Sanctuary. Either way, I can confirm that the above steps worked. My partner and I—with a Necromancer and Druid, respectively—are now fighting side-by-side. Neither Heaven nor Hell can keep us from each other, especially when it comes to killing The Butcher.
Diablo IV’s global community development director Adam Fletcher took to the official Blizzard forums to address the game-sharing issue. While the development team confirmed to Kotaku in a previous email that couch co-op will be available at launch, Fletcher clarified how it works during early access.
“Users who purchase a Deluxe/Ultimate Edition on an account should use that same account to host couch co-op sessions during the Early Access period,” Fletcher said. “This ensures the guest player can join and participate in co-op. Accounts that weren’t the original purchaser of a Deluxe/Ultimate Edition of the game on that console will not be able to play in Early Access unless they join as a second player with the account that made the original purchase.”
A Blizzard spokesperson told Kotaku that couch co-op is available now in early access and at full launch, but early access blocks some folks from participating.
“The only nuance is that this gating restriction is currently active (because only Early Access players can play Diablo IV at the moment) but will no longer be active once the game launches fully next week,” the spokesperson said.
So, while the jury’s still out on exactly what’s going on with game sharing in Diablo IV, at least with this workaround, you and a friend can play together. The game is out now for folks who shelled out more money, while everyone with the standard edition of the game will have to wait until June 5 to kill demons.
Update, 06/02/23 04:40 p.m. ET: Added a Blizzard spokesperson’s comments about Diablo IV’s early access gating restriction to this story.