I have big hopes for The Agency. The spy-based MMO from Sony Online Entertainment is just the sort of thing the MMO world and the PlayStation 3 needs. Based on my early look, the game will feature semi-casual play, stylish graphics and sharks with frickin' lasers on their heads. It also might feature cross-platform play between PS3 and PC users. But maybe not. According to Sony Online Entertainment, the technical aspects of cross-platform are in place, but gamers might not actually want it.
In an interview with VideoGamer.com, SOE senior game designer Kevin O'Hara said “We have not decided if you can play between the two. They are cross-platform. We’re able to do it - it’s more of a design concern. We’re doing a lot of focus testing and we’re finding that people just, ‘oh they’ve got a controller, it’s not fair! Well they’ve got a mouse it’s not fair!’"
“It’s what people say they want at first but when they actually play then… So it’s up in the air. We’ll go through beta with that and get strong opinions on which way to go. But technically we can do it if we want," he added.
It seems to me that PC users would have a definite advantage: The Agency is a FPS, and the mouse+keyboard configuration is considered the most accurate means of controlling those games. To even the score, you'd have to maybe add some auto-aiming feature for PS3 users, and, honestly, I doubt you could ever really balance the two sides without one whining about the other. So I can see where Sony is coming from with this, but on the other hand, should the possibilities of a game really be held back because a certain segment of the population aren't mature enough to understand/handle how the differing control schemes would change gameplay?
What do you think? Is cross-platform game play something game companies should work on with MMOs, or is it just a gimmick that doesn't have any real advantages?