For many gamers, the Xbox controller is just how they’ve always played games. Still, there are some of us who might like the added precision and versatility of a classic keyboard and mouse setup. Microsoft has been promising to add support for this hardware to the Xbox One since the middle of 2016. Now, it’s finally happening. Well, sort of.
If you talk to PC gamers who almost always use a keyboard and mouse for shooters, they’ll tell you the mouse provides finer control of aiming, and the keyboard is easier to remap for access to a lot of functions. At the same time, the true analog input of a controller can make movement more fluid than when using a keyboard (unless it’s analog, too). Basically, everyone has reasons to prefer their control scheme. The point is, most gamers want the choice on consoles.
According to Microsoft, select Xbox insiders will get an update in the coming weeks that enabled keyboard and mouse support. However, that’s just enabling it at the system level — it will be technically possible to game with a keyboard and mouse. It’s up to game developers to allow you to do so. If a developer doesn’t support keyboard and mouse input, you’ll be stuck with a controller.
Microsoft says that most keyboards and mice will work with the Xbox One, but it’s partnering with Razer to offer enhanced functionality. It did not specify what you could expect from this integration, but it likely has something to do with Razer’s Synapse lighting system. Most gaming keyboards with fancy lighting are controlled via desktop software. Without that software, the lights are not configurable by the user. Not only is that lack of customization frustrating, the keyboards often default to distracting rainbow patterns with the software is missing.
The blog post also claims that Microsoft is working with top developers to ensure that keyboard and mouse gaming doesn’t cause balance issues. That could mean that players using a mouse and keyboard could be separated from those with controllers during online play. Gamers have long held that the keyboard and mouse offers a competitive advantage, but Microsoft’s cross-play experiments with Gears of War in 2016 led it to conclude there was no issue with fairness.
There are still some unanswered questions here, but Microsoft should answer at least some of them during the Inside Xbox stream on Nov. 10.
Now read: Sony Doesn’t Have Cross-Play Fortnite Because Other Consoles Suck, Report: Xbox One Sales Apparently Doubled Since 2017, and AMD Working With Both Sony and Microsoft on Next-Generation Consoles
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