Mouse and keyboard support for the Xbox One has long been promised, with discussion on the subject even dating back to four years ago when Xbox head Phil Spencer spoke about cross-platform play between PC and console. The latest update in the lengthy saga comes from Corporate Vice President of Gaming at Microsoft Mike Ybarra, who stated that mouse and keyboard support will make its way to users sometime soon.
Speaking at Major Nelson’s Xbox PAX panel over the weekend, Ybarra stated that peripherals support for the Xbox One is “definitely coming” and when it does, Microsoft will aid developers in ensuring they give players choice in competitive games between going against users will controllers or with keyboards. “We have to be very smart in how we do that. We’ll leave it a lot to the developer choice,” explained Ybarra.
He continued, addressing in more detail concerns about an even playing field across platforms. “A lot of people, they tweet me and say, ‘You can’t do this because of fairness,’ and we understand that,” Ybarra said. “We run two platforms: the Windows platform and the Xbox platform. And so, when we bring keyboard and mouse [support], we’ll coach developers to say: ‘Look, you’ve got to think about your multiplayer pools.’ If you have a competitive game, people probably are going to want the choice to say, ‘I’ll play with other keyboard and mouse people,’ ‘I’ll play with only controller people,’ or, ‘You know what, I’ll play with any of those.'”
Ybarra mentioned that platers will see Microsoft and Xbox’s “first games supporting keyboard and mouse soon,” but remained tight-lipped about what those titles could be, explaining that he can’t announce anything at this time. From there, it will be based on developer interest whether they decide to use mouse and keyboard support moving forward. Overwatch‘s Jeff Kaplan seemingly already did so earlier this year when he stated that the Blizzard team objects to the use of such peripherals on the Xbox One and PS4 versions of the game, and called for a ban on keyboard and mouse users on console.
As mentioned, this isn’t the first time we’ve caught wind of a “coming soon” statement in regards to mouse and keyboard support for the Xbox One. More than a year ago, at E3 2016, Spencer admitted that Microsoft and the Xbox team didn’t have an exact support launch date yet, but stated that it was “months away.”
Implementing mouse and keyboard support on the Microsoft console will be interesting for genres that are traditionally best played on PC, such as MOBAs and real-time strategy games. It will also likely push players to rethink their gameplay strategies when facing off against others using different controllers and what their system preferences are, and encourage both PC and console developers to establish a stance on whether they’ll offer mouse and keyboard support on their titles. Let’s just hope that when Ybarra said “soon,” he truly meant it.
Source: Xbox E3 Fans – Twitter