Over at Kotaku, I was reading this interesting article this morning. Apparently Microsoft was toying with a wide range of cross platform game titles but ended up scrapping it because PC gamers with mouse/keyboard out played the console gamers.Not turning this into a flame war aside I am really suprised by this article. First of all the article (which is an interview with the founder of Voodoo PC) states that it was a group of “pro console” gamers against “mediocre PC” gamers. First off how do you measure mediocre? Who were the gamers in question? Furthermore they never mentioned which game they were playing. There has been some of this cross platform work in the past (See Shadowrun), and while there was a lot of tweaking on the behalf of the game company (auto aim, speed limitations) it did seem to work for a time. I have played Shadowrun in the past and I still cannot see why it wasn’t more successful and something not pursued more.
Sure you would have to modify things, but there are possibilites and quick solutions. First auto aim for the consolers. It’s hard to argue that the mouse/KB is more accurate so why not just admit it and correct it. Personally I would have no problem with that so long as it is balanced.
I also think this presented a great opportunity for the Xbox that was missed. Why not just add mouse/Kb support for the 360? Level the playing field that way. Sure in my apartment it would be tricky trying to find a placement for it but if you’re a serious gamer you will find a way. What about Kinect being a possible solution? Try a FPS that uses the hand like it was holding an air mouse. Sure there is lag, but lag is a way of life if you game online. I just feel that MS missed the boat on a really neat opportunity to broaden and unite their gaming platforms.
I am also very on the fence about the whole mouse vs. controller. I mean I can see advantages of both. Sure for FPS a mouse is faster and more accurate but I wonder what playing a MMO like WoW would be like with a keyboard controller combo. Using the analog stick to look around, and you have about 14 assignable buttons for spells/attacks. I play a Shaman for WoW, and as a healer 14 is about the most I would need. Plus you can combine it with a keyboard to give you even more keybind commands. Personally I see advantages to both.