In the latter half of 2010, Rahul Sood wrote an interesting article about a particular project that Microsoft canceled due to some unfortunate results. Rahul is the founder of Voodoo PC and the current GM of Microsoft’s system experience and interactive entertainment department. What does Rahul have to do with the ancient debate of console versus pc, and controller versus mouse and keyboard? Allow me to explain.
Microsoft releases the same titles for both Xbox and PC. Apparently part of Microsoft’s original master plan was to eventually unite the two in order to create a large player base. Makes sense right? Everyone loves playing with their friends, and not everyone owns the same system. Matchmaking also becomes easier due to having a greater range of skills represented in a larger population. Everything was going according to plan until they actually decided to pit console vs PC.
According to Mr. Sood, Microsoft developed software that would allow the Xbox to link up with its cousin the PC, in order to play the same games. For their test they recruited experienced console players and mediocre PC players. These individuals used their own controller or mouse and keyboard combination. Unfortunately the results were the same every time; the console players were decimated.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has owned both a PC and a console. A mouse gives superior control and speed over a tiny joystick. However, as Mr. Sood points out, killing the project may have doomed the possibility of the Xbox merging with the PC, and so you and I as consumers are forced to deal with the old business model of games being created for 1 system and then half-assed, I mean ported, to another.
With the kind of cash flow that current MMO’s are generating in the PC world, there’s a big financial push for next-gen systems to support mouse and keyboards. This does of course fly against the current console culture of being able to sit on a couch or lounge around at a friends house. So what do you guys think, should next-gens support mouse and keyboard or not?