When Microsoft launched the Xbox One, the company wanted the console to be a do-it-all living room box. It would be your games console, entertainment hub, streaming center, and maybe even your PC. Many of those plans, such as keyboard and mouse support, were put on the backburner when gamers reacted angrily to the vision.
However, a leaked presentation suggests Microsoft is working with PC company Razer to reignite keyboard and mouse aspirations on Xbox One.
Windows Central reports Razer showed a presentation highlighting how its Turret keyboard and mouse would run on Xbox. Details include how the support would work on the console and a comparison to how Chroma RGB backlighting currently looks on Windows PC.
In the presentation, the company showed how Xbox One would only support a single keyboard and mouse at a time. Other features showcased in the presentation include:
- Support for up to 5 buttons
- Support for wheel movement (horizontal and vertical)
- Ability to query for mouse capabilities
- Feature to report absolute pointer location
- Ability to report relative pointer movement
- Ability to set cursor glyph and visibility
- New API for polling the above data
PC gamers out there will know having a keyboard and mouse is better in many gameplay environments than a controller. This is shown in first person shooters (FPS) titles, where keyboard and mouse control offer a level of detail (such as movement and aim) that gamepads cannot match.
In online gaming environments on console, this could cause a problem. For example, a deathmatch in Call of Duty would be swayed in favour of those using keyboard and mouse controls. To overcome this bias, developers would have tools to detect if a player is using a keyboard and more or a gamepad.
That allows the game to automatically find players and group them lobbies depending on their control choice. Microsoft highlighted this option will be open to developers, but not mandatory:
- Multiplayer balance is completely up to the title
- Presence of keyboard/mouse can be queried
- Keyboard/mouse vs gamepad usage should be monitored throughout gameplay
- Highly suggested that usage of mouse/keyboard be used as part of matchmaking rules
It is clear that Microsoft and Razer are clearly working on something. Whether that is close to fruition or not remains to be seen. However, the Xbox One is due to be replaced in 2020, so surely the companies would want this support to arrive when the console's life-cycle is still relatively long?
We have certainly been here before in terms of expecting keyboard and mouse support for Xbox One. At the start of 2017, Microsoft gaming chief Phil Spencer hinted that the company would eventually introduce the support:
“I keep talking about it in the press and my platform team keeps shaking their head, because they… Truthfully in our dev kit modes now keyboard works, mouse support is a little bit further away…I say it because I know it's not years away, it's more like months away, but we don't have an exact date yet.”
Those months Spencer spoke of have turned to over a year. Still, with Razer's involvement, perhaps we are now close to an official announcement.