Microsoft has acknowledged plans for mouse and keyboard support on the Xbox One, but it’s yet to materialize. Players have managed to fill the void with adapters, but that raises issues for competitive gaming.
Though a great control device for racing and fighting games, the dual-analog stick setup of controllers makes them less accurate when it comes to shooters and RTS. Some games mitigate this with aim assists, but that’s not a popular option for hardcore multiplayer.
As a result, controller players can experience unfair difficulty when playing against mouse users. Xbox customers have called for an outright ban from Microsoft’s, but it seems that’s not part of the plan.
Speaking on Twitter, Microsoft gaming CVP Mike Ybarra announced the company’s hands-off approach.
Developers have the choice to use APIs that detect and not allow these. It’s up to them, but the capability is there. //t.co/jE97R6oj0c
— Mike Ybarra (@XboxQwik) February 18, 2018
Though it would be simple to block mouse and keyboard support, Microsoft is deciding to leave it up to developers. It might seem like a cop-out, but this is generally the company’s approach, and for good reason.
The Accessibility Argument
For those with accessibility issues, the controller poses a problem. It needs at least six fingers to operate and generally isn’t re-bindable. Strategy games can usually be played with just the mouse, meaning only one is required.
This move means it will be down to developers if they want to deny those users access. However, the lack of official support means those using a mouse currently are a minority and developers are unlikely to act.
Come official support we’ll probably see separate mouse and controller lobbies, which could make matchmaking more difficult. Until then, gamers will just have to tough it out.