It might be hard to recall because of how long it’s been, but there was a time where Microsoft was making a serious push to get cross-platform multiplayer between Xbox 360s and Windows based PCs. The game Shadowrun was more or less the prototype of those efforts, but it wasn’t much later that the project began to fade. Flash forward several years later and HP’s gaming CTO Rahul Sood has given some insight on what happened to that initiative.
Sood sets up the scenario: “This project was designed to allow console gamers and PC gamers to interact and battle over a connected environment. 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… and guess what happened? They pitted console gamers with their ‘console’ controller, against PC gamers with their keyboard and mouse.”
He continues, delivering the reason why the project was killed: “The console players got destroyed every time. So much so that it would be embarrassing to the Xbox team in general had Microsoft launched this initiative.”
While we always expected that this was the reason to why the initiative was neglected, it’s interested to hear word of it from the inside. It is unfortunate that the platforms cannot play well together as it would have increased the community by a sizable amount. Perhaps now is the time to reevaluate the tentative as more games are centered around co-op. Cross-platform co-op should be much easier to obtain than competitive multiplayer.