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source http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20111205162848AAb1sl9

64 Players on P.C ( 32vs32)

& bigger maps with more vehicles & buildings.

24 on Consoles ( 12vs12) ( It was planned to have a 32 player limit, but was later reduced to 24).

Why does the console version have a maximum of 24 players? Is it hardware related?

One of the reason was that players can host games themselves. If thats true its very sad that you cannot play 32x32, because one or two guys want to host games.

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Simply because of the limited resources on consoles, mainly memory and CPU power –  Maik Semder Dec 15 '11 at 12:55
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up vote 12 down vote accepted

Well, I know on Xbox LIVE Indie Games, they have certain standards that they want you to follow. For example, they recommend that your game can run with a transfer speed of 8kb/s. This is because many people own Xboxes and not all of them have high-speed connections or even live in places where high-speed internet is available (what a nightmare! :-) ). So, in order to support as many players as possible, they have these, I guess you could call them quality of service guidelines.

Now, due to these limitations in bandwidth, obviously that limits the number of players that can connect. Especially since many games are host-based (i.e. one player hosts a game on their console and others join). PCs, on the other hand, are individually so different and unregulated, that it's really up to the player to take care of their own "quality of service".

There is another restriction on processing power, if a host console has to do all the work figuring out where people are, running the physics simulation, etc., it's possible that it can only handle a certain number of players before it starts adversely affecting the host's gameplay. This, of course, depends on the game.

On PC, often the server (especially for large 32x32 games) will be a dedicated server, meaning that no one is playing the game on the same PC running the server (hopefully), so the entire processing power of that computer (more or less) can be dedicated to running the game.

That said, big AAA titles on the consoles do have their own servers for high-player-count gaming and it's not impossible for a console game to support 64 players or even more. But they may still have the up/down speed restrictions for each player.

So I think, for the most part, it's wanting (or having) to provide a consistent feel for their games across as many countries and regions as possible.

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+1. I also watched a GDC video (Halo 3 networking stack, Google it) where the network programmer said that console gamers are obtusely unforgiving and naive when it comes to latency - so even without the restrictions I assume they need to stop players from experiencing lag (even if it's their own stupid fault for overcommitting on their connection). –  Jonathan Dickinson Dec 6 '11 at 13:01
    
Interesting info, @JonathanDickinson. –  Nick Wiggill Dec 6 '11 at 14:27
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You also have to consider that the current generation of consoles are all several years old, so there is a lag between the hardware in consoles compared to a new PC. As listed above, QoS and certification requirements likely play into those sort of decisions as well. –  dadoo Games Dec 6 '11 at 14:31
    
+1 Nice answer. @JonathanDickinson I google it but didn't find video. Is it available as a downloadable? –  iamcreasy Dec 6 '11 at 17:14
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@iamcreasy Here's one for Halo: Reach. I think it may be the same one that Jonathan Dickinson was talking about. –  Richard Marskell - Drackir Dec 6 '11 at 17:57
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