By Jared Newman | Thursday, July 22, 2010 at 8:45 am
Ever wish you could play Gears of War for Xbox 360 against someone who owned the PC version, or vice versa? Microsoft reportedly did too, but might’ve killed the concept of PC vs. Xbox 360 gaming because console controls just aren’t accurate enough.
That’s the rumor coming from Rahul Sood, the founder of Voodoo PC and chief technical officer of HP’s gaming business. He cites “reliable sources” who say Microsoft was working on a way for PC gamers and Xbox 360 gamers to play together, but problems arose during testing. Mediocre PC gamers were able to wipe the floor with even the best console players, because the PC’s mouse-and-keyboard combination was so precise.
Sood doesn’t say definitively that Microsoft killed the project because of the accuracy issue, but he lays heavy blame on Microsoft for not seeing the project through. The rest of his blog post is a ramble on the decline of PC gaming, the threat from Apple and a strange plug for WebOS game development (“and while it may take time for new devices to start showing up, you can rest assured that the wait will be worth it”).
If Microsoft was working on a way to connect Xbox 360 and PC gamers, control differences seem like a petty reason to ax the project. Why not require PC gamers to use an Xbox 360 controller in order to dive in with the console crowd? Or limit connected play to cooperative games such as Borderlands, instead of competitive ones in which the PC gamer has the advantage?
I hope Microsoft revisits (or visits) the issue some day, especially with Windows Phone 7 presenting its own opportunities for gaming. If Microsoft really wants to unify the PC, television and phone, there needs to be a way for gamers to interact across all three platforms.