Microsoft killed cross-platform project because PC gamers wrecked console gamers

By on July 22, 2010, 1:52 PM
PC gamers have long mocked the use of handheld controllers as an input method for shooters and other genres that require fast, precise actions. Apparently, that attitude isn't unwarranted, based on a blog post by the founder of Voodoo PC and current CTO of HP's gaming division, Rahul Sood.

According to Sood's sources, "many many months ago," Microsoft set out on a Xbox Live project that would let PC and console users interact on some form of united multiplayer platform – a grand idea on paper. In practice however, it's said that PC gamers "destroyed" console players every time.


The slaughter was so bad, Sood says that Microsoft even pitted "mediocre" PC gamers against "the best" console gamers in testing, and the results were unchanged: the keyboard and mouse prevailed. It's not clear what titles were played, but Unreal and Gears of War are mentioned.

Displeased with its findings, Microsoft supposedly cancelled the project to spare its Xbox team and players the embarrassment. I think most of us can agree a keyboard and mouse is more precise, but what do you prefer and why? Feel free to preach the virtues of your input device in the comments.




User Comments: 111

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TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

WE'RE NUMBER ONE! WE'RE NUMBER ONE!

I'm a hard-core PC gamer, but every once in a while I use a controller (Dirt2 comes to mind). Every time I do, I feel I'm taking ten steps backwards. There is just no accuracy with a controller, plus menu options and alternative fire options are a royal pain in the butt.

Give me a keyboard and mouse any day of the week.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This is probably a prime reason why the Champions MMO never saw a console version, even though it was worked on and supposed to release when the PC side hit. I saw all sorts of odd reasons for it, like licensing issues, ridiculous MS requirements to allow it, etc. Makes me wonder now if MS was just hedging to keep gamers from realizing how much better the PC side is, so they wouldn't hurt their Xbox sales...

Guest said:

Certain games are better with a controller. Mostly sports and racing though. For shooters 1st or 3rd, mouse and keyboard are the ONLY choice imo.

MrAnderson said:

It would be nice to have a wireless mouse and some one handed device. One which could allow all the other movement and action keys. It would have enough buttons to fulfil a single gamepad with analogue stick (ala nunchuck) and the mouse should have a good number of well placed buttons to give choice on control scheme.

I saw one such product that could of been a start, if the thing were wireless!

Guest said:

I play on both and prefer the feel of a controller in my hand. Keyboard hotkeys (F1 through F9 giving me 9 attacks for instance) are a big advantage on using a keyboard and mouse though. Granted, I'm not a hardcore gamer so my hands are never sure to hit the right keys on the keyboard either. My guess is that casual gamers would prefer the controller and hardcore gamers a keyboard.

princeton princeton said:

I just printed this to show to all my friends who say console controls are waay better. Thank you techspot.

motrin said:

Oh baby! i usually post comments as a 'guest' but i just had to make an account for this.Mouse and keyboard all the way!

we can play any game that is made for any console with out problems. (Not counting if its a bad port or bugs and issues not with the gamer) Not to mention that console gamers really miss out on strategy; turn based or RTS games. Sure they have them but theres no way you can play it well, with a controller.

Its a shame that pc gamers have been getting the short end of the stick lately. (DRM)

MikeFE said:

Agree. I like to play PES and some racing games with a controller. All the rest (RPG, FPS, Adventures and so on) => KEYBOARD and MOUSE!

prototip said:

No matter how much I tried console I would always get too aggravated to go on. PC gaming is the way to go; precision, performance and graphics can't be bit by any console out there. The potential of a PC is limitless by overclocking or upgrading parts.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

TomSEA said:

WE'RE NUMBER ONE! WE'RE NUMBER ONE!

I'm a hard-core PC gamer, but every once in a while I use a controller (Dirt2 comes to mind). Every time I do, I feel I'm taking ten steps backwards. There is just no accuracy with a controller, plus menu options and alternative fire options are a royal pain in the butt.

Give me a keyboard and mouse any day of the week.

Preach it Brother! Can I get an AMEN!

TitoBXNY TitoBXNY said:

For shooters it's always been no contest, Mouse & keyboard are better. For platform games the controller may have the advantage. I always wished that console games had the option to use a keyboard and mouse. I miss playing the console shooters with my console addicted family members and they're not hardcore PC gamers like i am. Regardless, PC rules baby!

thatguyandrew92 said:

ROFL I love this article!

tractorphil said:

I use controller for racing games games but find the keyboard and mouse better for everything else.

The5Xfactor said:

Mouse and keyboard are the best, especially when you have the option of configuring your keys. But when you get game on your PC, that is a direct port from the console one, WITHOUT the option of remapping your keys ( like BLUR, racing game).. it is very frustrating!

DokkRokken said:

This reminds me of Quake III on Dreamcast where console players and PC players could play against each other. It was very innovative at the time, and still is.

For certain games, my 360 controller is the preferred weapon, but WSAD is still the combo of the god's as far as I'm concerned.

Guest said:

The only things I use a controller for are racing games and flying games, M&KB is better for everything else.

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Ok I have to be different here. I started playing on consoles long before I every tried PC gaming, and I'm still partial to a control for most of my gaming(and console gaming in general). Whether or not its actually true, I feel I have better control over the game using a controller for most games. I mean I can't imagine playing a fighting game with a keyboard and mouse O.o.

I will admit tho some games shouldn't be on consoles at all, like RTS. You need a mouse for that. Or most MMO's I cant imagine playing WoW with a gamepad.

Guest said:

Wow finally some proof!

I'm so sick of all my "friends" with their consoles saying that its just as good as the mouse for FPS games. The PC will never be beat as the best gaming platform.

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

Wendig0 said:

TomSEA said:

WE'RE NUMBER ONE! WE'RE NUMBER ONE!

I'm a hard-core PC gamer, but every once in a while I use a controller (Dirt2 comes to mind). Every time I do, I feel I'm taking ten steps backwards. There is just no accuracy with a controller, plus menu options and alternative fire options are a royal pain in the butt.

Give me a keyboard and mouse any day of the week.

Preach it Brother! Can I get an AMEN!

Amen!

Zeromus said:

I use xbox controller on PC and I must say it feels like you've got a super high performance 360, sure it's not so accurate as the godly keyboard and mouse, but it feels good knowing you have the "option" to go against other players with the same input as them...with higher frame rates.

Guest said:

Hallelujah!

Guest said:

There only talking about Fps shooters, keyboard and mouse vs controller

hellokitty[hk] hellokitty[hk], I'm a TechSpot Evangelist, said:

Guest said:

There only talking about Fps shooters, keyboard and mouse vs controller

Oh yeah my Starcraft 64 skills will win too.

I like mouse and keyboard because I like to win.

Johny47 said:

AAAAAHAHAHAHA, poor S***box 360 players getting 'raped' =P

I'm quite new to PC gaming and so far I'm loving it but the keyboard and mouse will always be better than a gamepad at First Person Shooter games and Real Time Strategy games, I honestly prefer to play 3rd Person action adventure/shooter games and Racing games with a gamepad.

I learnt to play a FPS game using a keyboard and mouse on Crysis, and since then I've had a go at Killzone 3 on PS3 and flippin heck it's slow(turning the sensitivity way up doesn't help).

Guest said:

@ Johny47 Uhh, No. I don't know what **** you're smoking but you're blatantly wrong. Gaming started on the Console and always has been the best. Who the hell would want to spend $2000 on a PC and upgrade it every other week just to play games? No-one in their right mind.

PanicX PanicX, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

There's got to be more to it than just keyboard and mouse, heck you can buy a keyboard and mouse adapter for the Xbox [link]

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

"Gaming started on the Console and always has been the best."

LOL...that's pretty funny. Played a Wii lately?

And spending $2000 on a PC and upgrading every week? Only if you're a complete *****. In the long run it costs plenty more to play on an XBox/PS3 than a computer. You can build a gaming PC that will run anything at top levels for $800-$1000 and last you 4 years. Games are 20% cheaper on the PC, you don't have to buy subscriptions to play online, you get player created DLC that you don't with consoles, you don't have to buy an entire new console if it goes belly-up (I know people who have had to buy FOUR X/Boxes over the years because of the red ring of death), etc.

You can try and brag up consoles are better than PC's, but you're going to get the smack down each and every time because any avid gamer knows the truth. Especially on these boards. And this is just one more article that proves what we already know.

Guest said:

DING DING DING. We have a winner.

Guest said:

The article linked to says that the PC gaming industry would have been much stronger if they had followed through with this plan.

Guest said:

fps'ers on pc are pro and have many years of practice with lots of different games compared to the short fps release time on xbox 360 games. I've been playing fps'ers on pc for almost 11 years and that simple wins over in skill compared to an xbox pro whos been playing for a few years. Like other people have mentioned you can plug a keyboard and mouse into an xbox. But to be honest you only get good by playing people who are better than you and learning how to beat them. If all you ever play against are xbox controllers and win you won't beat a pc gamer for skill. Simple because pc gamers have been playing against hackers, cheats and veterans for alot longer and getting better and better. Xbox players have been sitting on a couch chillin out owning unskilled noobies for a few years. I tried playing cod on my 50 inch tv on a coach and i got owned it's really uncomfortable and hard to get a proper rythem.

Guest said:

amen to this

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

FPS and RTS most definitely better with a keyboard and mouse.

Flight Sims and Arcade games, I'm going to side with a gamepad/joystick/arcade stick.

Guest said:

If PS3 and XBOX games allowed us to use a keyboard and mouse it would even the playing field.

Guest said:

Honestly, I'm a hardcore PC gamer, mainly FPS, and ocassionally RTS & Thirdperson. But I don't understand why Consoles are given support to use Keyboard mouse? X360 & PS3 both have USB support and the information gathering is done at a hardware level so wouldn't it just be reading what the mouse/keyboard send in? I'm confident that X360 & PS3 could have full keyboard/mouse support if game developers designed their games to use them.

mrtraver said:

I don't really have anything new to add but I'm posting anyway.

Mouse and keyboard all the way for shooters and RTS!

Joystick with true force-feedback (not rumble or vibration) for flying games.

Wheel and pedals with true force-feedback (not rumble or vibration) for racing games.

I do use an Xbox 360 controller for Wheelman.

I own Serious Sam for both PC and Xbox, and i always found it more enjoyable to play on on my old PC that was less powerful than my original Xbox. It was just so much better to snap across the screen for a quick shot, or fine control for sniping at distant or closely grouped enemies.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

The mouse is better for FPS because there is no limit to the movement. You can spin around countless times, or snap-turn-around and headshot someone. Just like using your OS, you learn where to place your mouse to hit the exit/start/etc buttons - and this is quite exact if you've been doing it for a while.

Controllers (with analogue sticks) cannot pinpoint an exact spot to move to. Hold stick left, you will continue to turn left. You judge points with your eyes, and react by letting go of the stick. There's just no way to compete with a mouse.

But driving games for example, are limited in their movement. Steer left/right, accell/brake. Can't steer with mouse, and can't do that and accelerate with keyboard because it's simple on/off. This is where analogue controllers are in their zone.

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

I tried playing cod on my 50 inch tv on a coach

They make TV stands ya know....geeez

Guest said:

Whooo. That just made my day ^-^

Guest said:

wow well either way it goes i'm still loyal to my console controller. Now don't get me wrong a keyboard and mouse are not just fun to use they're challenging to become good users of it. But with a PC and console controller i feel at my best

Guest said:

I have every game system out there. I have a pretty spec'd out pc.

I'd rather play with a controller than a keyboard and mouse.

For me it's about comfort.

Pc gaming is like Mr. Sulu on the helm. Console is like Capt Kirk chilling.

I could lounge on my sofa chair for hours.

Sitting up right in my nice leather padded office chair...not so much.

No monitor can beat my 46in Sony TV. 23in vs 46in?

HaMsTeYr HaMsTeYr said:

Guest said:

@ Johny47 Uhh, No. I don't know what **** you're smoking but you're blatantly wrong. Gaming started on the Console and always has been the best. Who the hell would want to spend $2000 on a PC and upgrade it every other week just to play games? No-one in their right mind.

And yes PC sales are still strong... and it REALLY doesn't take 2000 bucks... every week for that matter. What another member suggested was right, all it takes is about 800 bucks and you're set for at least 3-4 years.

As far as gaming starting on the console, i'm not too sure about that. First games might have been out for the consoles first, but gaming culture didn't really take off until the arrival of decent pcs, games like Counter-Strike were born, Half-Life, MMOs and a lot of grand daddies of what we're playing right now.

Oh well, i'm a PC gamer, and i'm a hardcore one. :3 I pimp my system because it gives me pride looking at it, my own custom machine. Not much pride comes in it for me for just looking at a PS3, but a PC for me is something i can really make my own, tailor made to my own needs and quirks.

Doesn't mean i shun console gaming though, i just prefer the PC more, and if anything all i need to do is connect a USB controller to my PC :P

In fact, recently, i just converted my whole PC into a Wii, complete with a sensor bar for a Wii Mote. My Wii has been rendered useless because of this and i'm now going to sell it off.

davimous said:

Being able to sit on my couch super relaxed offers a lot compared to sitting 1.5 to 2 feet from my monitor . I do prefer some shooters on pc though. All CoD on PC and things like Halo on console. I think its funny that people say PC controls are better though. All you are doing is pointing and clicking to aim.

Guest said:

lol. who says you have to sit 1.5 to 2 feet from your monitor? not when you can use your tv as a monitor.

teklord teklord said:

I prefer holding a controller for games, less carpal tunnel that way. K+M is far more precise though. I found that out playing Unreal Tournament on Dreamcast with proprietary Sega K+M. Gave me a huge edge. Love playing console games on my PC with Xbox 360 controller. Better than the console version, especially with high end PC and full Xbox 360 controller support.

Guest said:

QUOTED: Guest

on July 22, 2010

5:55 PM

"@ Johny47 Uhh, No. I don't know what **** you're smoking but you're blatantly wrong. Gaming started on the Console and always has been the best. Who the hell would want to spend $2000 on a PC and upgrade it every other week just to play games? No-one in their right mind. "

GAMING FIRST CAME OUT FOR: Manchester Ferranti Mark 1 COMPUTER unless you want to consider a non-digital data then you have a missle game that lit a dot up on a screen... and well... you had to put an overlay on that, so it was not a computer nor a console...

Besides, Consoles are dumbed down version of PCs

Wow bub, you must have never understood the PC building process and its' uses. I built my rig for around 600 dollars with a Phenom II x4, 2GB Ram, HD5770, M4A78T-E, 500GB HDD, 750w PSU (now using a 380w PSU), using an old tower that had an AMD K5 chip in it, but now I have a Azza. I use my 26" HDTV as a monitor.

I wont HAVE to update for a long time actually. I don't get Red Rings of Death or Red Dots of Death either, and my computer doesn't randomly fire death beam discs at me (PS3). Peripherals are usually cheaper, so if I want to play an emulated PS2, NGC, N64, etc game, all I have to do is buy a pad with the required buttons. From what I gather people have found ways to emulate the Wii even.

Sir Vagabond said:

All these comments about how consoles are better due to being able to play on a large TV prove either just how little console players actually know about PCs or how desperate console fanboys are to find pros that justify their fanboyism. A TV isn't better than an LCD simply due to it's size. If one was to sit far back from a large TV, they would physically perceive the screen as the same size as an LCD that one was to sit close to. It's all about perspective. Hold up a quarter and a dime. Now move the quarter far enough away from you and now it's perceived as the exact same size as the dime that is closer to you. But, let us say that you have a hard on for TVs or that you enjoy lounging back. In that case simply hook up the PC to the television and suddenly you have the best of both worlds. I personally hook up my PC, PS3, and XBOX360 to my quality 23" LCD monitor and sit up close to it. You get greater clarity and crispness of visuals when sitting closer to your monitor. Though, I admit I'm a bit biased to gaming on my LCD monitor vs my TV due to the fact that I'm quite nearsighted and can't be bothered to wear my glasses the whole time or deal with contacts every time I wish to get a bit of gaming in. Plus, I use a premium leather executive office chair at my desk. This thing is more comfortable than most recliner chairs that I've sat in.

Guest said:

I did a similar trial.

We found mouse/keyboard gives the best precision and speed. Subjects were asked to jump and spin around 20x with a mouse, and land facing exactly the way they want. Something not possible with a controller. The trial was to see how such impressive talent could impress the ladies while control group B was restricted to keyboard turning.

But once a subject won a (real) lady with their Gears of Ballet, we would make them kick back on the couch (yes, with a blanket) with said (real) lady's (real) legs over their lap. We would then hand them a keyboard and mouse.

We found that they performed quite poorly. In addition to the extremely unstable surface, we also attributed this to the fact they also didn't care about the game any more.

Control group C were only allowed to play with their feet. They also performed poorly.

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Its no surprise that keyboard and mouse beats consoles. All you have to do to fight someone using a joypad is circle strafe

This should have been a good argument for allowing keyboard and mouse options on consoles, not canning the entire project.

Guest said:

AMEN!!!

--------------------------

D'oh... Stupid minimum 10 chars per post requirement...

Richy2k9 said:

hello ...

I agree, the Keyboard & Mouse combo is just unbeatable for some kind of games, but the idea of cross-platform gaming is interesting, i really would want this to be implemented.

I know we have keyboard & Mouse mappers for PS3, don't the Xbox have same ? Well you can't control what the users are using, so i guess would be good if they could cross-platform ONLY if some conditions/criteria are met.

anyway, too bad, but here MS had good reasons.

... & the truth is when we are a gamer, we are not forced to be limited to ONLY 1 platform ... I play on PC + PS3 (best of both world) ...

cheers!

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