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I have heard that the reason that the XBox live games cannot be played with friends on Windows machines is that when MS tried it out, the keyboard-based players were so dominant that Microsoft decided not to allow the capability. Specifically, I've heard this about FPS games.

This is repeated in many places, for example on this forum:

Definitely PC on the FPS front. Unless you plug in a mouse to the console. Mouse and WSAD are -much- better than console autoaim and all that, to be honest. Not to mention that due to more control, the PC FPS games tend to be more fast-paced than console ones, where part of the difficulty of the game actually lies in the controller.

Console vs. Computer: FPS

So have Windows-based FPS players been proven to be generally superior to console FPS players, thus making this story plausible?

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    That has more to do with the superiority of the mouse than the keyboard. – Mad Scientist Jun 10 '11 at 20:31
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    @DVK-- then these people should practice more :) – mmr Jun 12 '11 at 5:27
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    The question is off topic because it's about the motivations of Microsoft - meta.skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/621/… – Christian Jun 12 '11 at 12:10
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    the live service can pull your account for ALL games, this is the recourse I was referring to. Playing on punkbuster enabled servers is almost always a client-side option. I think one would be insane to pick non-punkbuster servers. I would certainly disagree about the amount of hacking on each platform, but the point isn't whether hacking happens, but that the decision by Microsoft re: interoperability probably takes into account things beyond controller schemes. – horatio Jul 12 '11 at 17:38
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    I can tell you: I have a ridiculous gamerscore and I've been playing pc multiplayer since it was possible. As I said: this is all BESIDE THE POINT: the point was that there are more reasons other than a controller layout to consider. – horatio Jul 13 '11 at 13:37
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I don't know if this is the reason MS made this decision, but I do know that there are numerous videos on the Internet for products that let you connect a keyboard and mouse to an XBox 360.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnZvrjv1_JI

http://xim3.com/?page_id=185

The videos are being used as advertising for the product itself, however, so take that with a grain of salt. The motion of the video does seem like keyboard and mouse to me instead of controller, however. That said, I know of no direct competition between equally skilled players. The player in these videos may simply be highly skilled and playing against relatively unskilled players.

  • I have used one of these things. They're rather horrible, and really don't feel like a genuine mouse. Now, this may have just been a particularly crappy adapter, but YMMV. – Fake Name Sep 11 '11 at 13:42
  • This would be good as a comment, if you give an answer please provide good references for it. – nico May 6 '12 at 10:11
  • Connect a keyboard to the XBox? Well, there are those ports out front, and the console works with a USB keyboard just fine (haven't tried with a mouse). – Piskvor left the building May 7 '12 at 12:29

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