RUMOURS ARE ABOUNDING that Microsoft recently killed off a rather interesting project, one that would have seen console gamers pitched against their PC gaming equivalents in online battles.
According to Rahul Sood, the man behind the Voodoo PC and now the CTO of HP's gaming business, Microsoft started the project in the hope that it would form part of its Live online gaming experience and see XBox gamers rain down frag grenades on PC players.
However, a fly soon appeared in Microsoft's Live ointment, which was the rather shaming fact that PC gamers dominate their console gaming equivalents, making them look more like Leeroy Jenkins than the bloke in Tron.
Sood lamented the end of the project, not least of all we suspect because it would have led to gains in the PC gaming business.
"Personally I wish it would have stayed the course. I've heard from reliable sources that during the development they brought together the best console gamers to play mediocre PC gamers at the same game," he said.
"And guess what happened? They pitted console gamers with their 'console' controller, against PC gamers with their keyboard and mouse. The console players got destroyed every time."
Sood said that the PC gamers won so often that "it would be embarrassing to the XBOX team in general had Microsoft launched this initiative", and he speculated as to whether this might have been the reasoning behind the Vole's abrupt plug-pull.
Whatever the reason, Sood explained that the day the decision was made was a black day for gaming in general, adding that such a feature would have encouraged more development in the business.
"Had they kept it alive it might have actually increased the desire of game developers and gamers alike to continue developing and playing rich experiences on the PC which would trickle down to the console as it has in the past," he explained.
Failure to experiment in this way could harm Microsoft too, in the long-run, as it would allow the firm to concentrate less on hardware. For example, the XBox could be integrated with the PC. And that would have let Microsoft concentrate on software.
Sood added that decisions like this were what was causing Microsoft, and others, to fall behind Apple in the battle for consumers. µ
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