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RUMOR: Microsoft scrapped plans to do online console and PC gaming harmony

Posted by: John at 7/22/2010 4:22 AM
Yes, yes I know. Shadowrun let Xbox 360 and PC folks play together but rumors are that Microsoft was looking to expand that into many other titles. Do you know the reason they decided against it? It's nothing technical really. The reason was that in their testing, they found that PC folks just destroyed Xbox 360 gamers when they went head to head.

The testing didn't consist of average players against each other. No, it's rumored that Microsoft brought in the best console players to play "mediocre" PC gamers and the result was not pretty. The best console gamers using their controllers get destroyed by the PC folks and it was so one sided that Microsoft just didn't think it would be good at all to continue with the project based on this testing.

Now, as a heavy PC gamer myself, I could never do as well with a controller in FPS games than I could with a keyboard and mouse. When I reviewed Left 4 Dead and Gears of War for both the PC and Xbox 360, I had little or no problems going through the hardest level of both games (Well, when I had a solid team for Expert mode in Left 4 Dead) when playing on the PC but I struggled many more times on the normal levels of the two games on the 360. So, just for me, I'd rather play any FPS game on the PC.

But, I don't feel that FPS games on the console aren't fun. In fact, I've been playing a lot more of them on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 just because that's what we are sent and I've grown used to using analog sticks for aiming and movement. Even though I preferred the PC, I don't mind going to the console to play these types of games now.

So, it's just a little sad to hear Microsoft might have killed an interesting project because of their results in their testing. I think perhaps a better way would have been to develop games that could be played by both groups in a fair manner rather than rely on a popular genre. There are plenty of casual/strategic games that could work now that doesn't give an advantage to either group. The technology could've opened new doors for new types of games to come out that worked with both systems well. Hell, we could have had a game where the PC folks controlled one aspect of the game while the Xbox 360 players controlled a different aspect and all worked cohesively into a brand new gaming experience.

Nothing's every truly dead in the software world as various factors could bring a project back into the fold. I hope that Microsoft reconsiders though. We might be getting PC and PS3 cross playing with the likes of DC Universe Online, which whenever I talk to the guys at Sony Online, they say it could happen. They demonstrated it working at CES when I saw it so Sony looks to be one company that is keeping this little bit of gaming tech alive. I wish MIcrosoft would do as well.