For many of us PC gamers, the real question that belies this conference is: “Why hasn’t Microsoft unified the entire Xbox/Windows ecosystem years ago?”
Xbox 360 had no problems meeting the hardware demands of PC titles, and the code was available and working for cross-platform play. In 2007, Shadowrun achieved it without issue (although it was $10 cheaper on PC), so what gives? Well, after I did some digging, it turns out that developers didn’t know how to address the skill gap between console and PC players. In 2010, Voodoo apparently conducted in house studies between the performance of console and PC gamers, and according to their founder, "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."
Ouch, are console players really that inferior to PC gamers?
Possibly, although much of this can be attributed to the PC’s more advanced controller; a mouse and keyboard is more accurate and offers more strategic customization than an Xbox controller. Kevin Unangst, developer of Shadowrun (2007), the only cross platform Xbox 360 ever made, ran his own tests, which “included testers who were hardcore Counter-Strike players on PC and Halo players on console.” He didn’t tell us who was better, but it’s likely that PC gamers had superior skill to console gamers, which is why it was the only one of its kind.
Should PC Gamers get excited about the Xbox One?
Somewhat, yes! Microsoft is spending a bajillion dollars luring back console kids to their platform with free games, and PC gamers reap the benefits. We also get to look forward to years of stomping our Xbox friends with higher frame rates, faster internet connections, and superior controls. Lastly, all those “Xbox exclusive” titles that were only occasionally ported to Windows are now suddenly “Windows 10 and Xbox One Exclusive.” Hell yea!
So what’s the deal, is this good or bad for PC gaming?
Overall, it’s a good thing. Quality should across the board as AAA PC titles start to compete with the wider console and gaming market. The Indie PC scene will now be able to push into living rooms at a much higher rate as well. Lastly, I believe we'll see a flood of money head towards the Windows 10/Xbone ecosystem, because the combined install base is well over 300 million units. Which developer can turn that down? Just a note, it ain't all peaches and cream for us PC gamers. There is a minor squabble online about the new “Unified Windows Platform” replacing the old Win32 environment which might destroy PC gaming as we know it... but don’t freak out, it hasn’t happened yet. Stay tuned.
To all you Xbone players: I can’t wait to meet you on the battlefield!
Top 3 Worst Looking Xbone Games:
1) Kanye West Title? WTF?
2) Minecraft in VR (John Carmack delivered the keynote, that was cool)
3) Final Fantasy XV (Such a messy boss fight they featured, so sad)