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MS "killed" PC/Xbox cross-platform play

Because PC gamers were too good.

Microsoft scrapped plans to allow PC and Xbox 360 gamers to play shooters like Unreal Tournament 3 and Gears of War online together because during tests "console players got destroyed every time".

That's according to Rahul Sood, founder of luxury computer designer Voodoo PC and CTO of gaming at Hewlett-Packard. "Rumour has it that there was a project many many months ago at Microsoft that was under wraps," Sood wrote on his blog.

"The goal was to bridge Xbox gamers with PC gamers so they could play against one another in games like Unreal, or Gears of War. This was all part of their Live strategy, and had Microsoft just stuck to their guns and made it work PC gaming might be in a much better position than it is today.

"There was a project that got killed at Microsoft. 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.

"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. Is this why the project was killed? Who knows, but I'd love to hear from anyone involved - what happened?"

Sood reckons had Microsoft kept the project alive, it might have resulted in the Xbox integrating into the PC.

Following the release of the Xbox 360 in 2005, cross-platform play became one of the hottest topics in gaming.

It hasn't taken off, however. FASA Studios' futuristic FPS Shadowrun does it, but it's slim pickings.

In 2007 Epic Games' Mark Rein confirmed Unreal Tournament 3 wouldn't feature cross-platform play, but said it could turn up "at some point in the future".