Mouse And Keyboard Support May Finally Come To The Xbox One This Year

After years of promises, multiple reports claim that keyboard and mouse support is officially coming to Xbox One and could be a reality as soon as this spring. Finally, your dreams of being endlessly sniped by a 14-year-old with god-like reflexes will come true.

Image: Microsoft

At the moment, keyboard and mouse support is theoretically available on the Xbox, but aside from Minecraft, developers have almost entirely avoided officially including it. You can also use special hardware such as the Xim USB hub to get around the developer-imposed restrictions.

Especially in fast-paced first-person shooter games, controllers are considered to be a disadvantage compared to the whiplash speed of a solid mouse and keyboard combo.

But Microsoft is reportedly giving developers input detection tools so they can match players based on their control type.

Windows Central was the first to report that Microsoft met with developers earlier this year about an upcoming partnership with PC accessories manufacturer Razer. Microsoft reportedly gave a presentation in which new Razer products were previewed and (because this is Razer) the company's flashy custom Chroma keyboard lighting was integrated.

Windows Central published several slides leaked from the presentation.

Image: Windows Central

Yesterday, The Verge confirmed the report through its own sources that are familiar with Microsoft's plans. The Verge reports Bluetooth and custom mouse drivers still won't be supported, but any keyboard and mouse that uses a wireless dongle should work just fine. The new support is planned to come with the "fall update" on Xbox One (so arriving in Australia in spring).

Microsoft has been gradually blurring the lines between the Xbox and PC while championing multiplayer cross-play between gaming platforms. The company has implemented "play anywhere" and the Windows 10 Xbox app as part of this initiative, and its console "exclusives" are often available on PC. The more powerful Xbox One S console was even rumoured to be Microsoft's big leap into just releasing a cheap Windows machine for gaming, but turned out to just be a hardware update.

While Sony continues to reject cross-console multiplayer capabilities, Microsoft sees an opportunity. It even teamed up with Nintendo last week for an ad campaign promoting Minecraft's ability to support cross-play between the Switch and Xbox One.

The biggest problem is the aforementioned advantage that PC players have had in some games when they use a mouse and keyboard. Anyone who's tried to play PUBG mobile and encountered one of the cheaters who figured out how to use a mouse and keyboard knows how extreme the disadvantage can feel.

But Microsoft is allegedly trying to make the playing field more level than ever.

According to the presentation obtained by Windows Central, the company is giving developers a new API to detect unauthorised peripherals which emulate controller behaviour. Not only are developers encouraged to monitor the type of input device and set up multiplayer matchmaking accordingly, but they will hopefully be able to weed out the cheaters who use devices such as the XIM to dominate controller-tethered players.

We've asked Microsoft for confirmation of these details and the expected spring release date, but didn't receive an immediate reply.

In the meantime, the Nintendo Switch has focused on being as un-PC-like as possible with major returns. Without even having a true online service, the Switch had the best first-year sales of any console ever.

[Windows Central, The Verge]


    Wouldn’t this be ridiculously simple to impliment in the first place??

    The part about detecting and weeding out players that use gizmo's that allow people to use keyboard and mouse and pass them off as a controller sounds great.

    The other part about matchmaking based on input type, while the only way to feasibly make this work, sounds like it could run the risk of fragmenting the player base which could make it harder to find a game, especially as games get older and numbers decline.

      And is open to abuse if they get it wrong - plug your M/K in on game start and you'll have a significant advantage.

      They could write it to pull players from all input types if it's not able to make a same-device match in a short enough time. It'd be fairly easy to do something like that at the software level, at least.

        Yeah but then the controller players are getting buttf*cked by the M+K guys,which is the whole reason they're being separated in the first place. They might end up with a situation where games stop supporting M+K after a while in order to bring everybody back into one group. I guess M+K could potentially end up getting matched with PC players, but that leaves the controller players kind of left behind.

        Personally, I actually prefer controller because the turning speed tends to be slower and more consistent. I'm prone to motion sickness so playing with a mouse or watching others play with mouse often has me feeling queasy pretty quickly.

          I figure if matchmaking is sparse enough that you'd need to mix the two to give a reasonable wait time, it's better to just get the game going at all than have two half-sets of players waiting indefinitely. I guess that's down to personal preference though.

            If people are constantly getting smashed then they'll probably give up and go play something else, reducing the player base even further.

              They'll do the same if the matchmaking times are too long. That's why I suggested it comes down to personal preference of which one is more important to each individual player.

    This is going to make building to easy in Fortnite.

    wow about time some real mouse/keyboard support came to consoles.

    Sounds like a win for common sense.

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