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First Xbox games with keyboard and mouse gameplay support are coming soon

Mouse and keyboard support has been on the cards for quite a while, and it's drawing ever closer. Minecraft's "Better Together" beta already supports mouse and keyboard inputs to some degree, owing to Universal Windows Platform (UWP) APIs that function across all Windows 10 devices.

Xbox Platform CVP Mike Ybarra discussed mouse and keyboard support for Xbox One during a panel at PAX West this week, stating that Microsoft is taking particular care to ensure that developers are smart about when to allow the functionality.

Keyboard and mouse support is definitely coming. We have to be very smart in how we do that. We'll leave it a lot up to developer choice. A lot of people tweet me and say "you can't do this because of fairness," and we understand that. We run two platforms; the Xbox platform, and the Windows platform.And so, when we bring keyboard and mouse, we'll coach developers and say "look, you've got to think about your multiplayer pools, if you have a competitive game, people are probably going to want the choice to say I'll play with other keyboard and mouse people or I'll play only with controller people, or that I'll play with any of those.So you'll see our first games supporting keyboard and mouse soon, I can't announce what that is, but soon. And based on developer interest, they'll choose to do keyboard and mouse, or not!"

There is a lot of anxiety about the inclusion of mouse support on Xbox One, primarily from players of competitive shooters. If you have a mouse, you can turn very rapidly without sacrificing aim, whereas on controller, turning up the horizontal joystick speed might make you turn faster, but you'll lose accuracy in the process. Microsoft has already been experimenting with mixed input playlists on Gears of War 4, and if Gears is any indication, the company wants to make sure players have a choice over who they compete against.

Therein lies other problems though. If every mutliplayer game on Xbox is suddenly split between keyboard and mouse vs. controller-only playlists, it could cut player pools into pieces, reducing matchmaking speeds. Microsoft will likely leave it up to developers on whether or not they implement these features, but I believe the addition, over all, is incredibly positive.

Wololo. Bring Age of Empires to Xbox One please. Wololo.

Wololo. Bring Age of Empires to Xbox One please. Wololo.

Games like Cities: Skylines would have been ported to Xbox One far quicker if the developers didn't have to rework the entire UI for controller support. There's probably a future for mouse and keyboard-only games, such as RTS' like Age of Empires, and maybe MOBAs like DOTA2 and Heroes of the Storm. And this even extends to non-gaming apps, like Office UWP. For students, an Xbox One could become a pretty solid gaming / productivity PC on a budget.

The potential here is truly massive, we'll just have to wait and see whether developers bite or not.

Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

37 Comments
  • I would love to see DotA 2 on xbox, but i know how slim the chances for this to happen are. Its a top steam game and we know how serious steam takes its customers wishes (Hint: No Half life 3 yet).  LoL have better chances of being ported. But still Xbox is turning into a full computer and it will be competeing against Windows PC(though xbox runs windows 10 too), Mac and Linux computers. And it already have advantage of more games compared to last two.
  • I disagree it won't compete with Windows PCs. This opens up to Microsoft extending their Xbox ecosystem into PC. In many ways this allows them to compete with Steam.  If OEMs want to join in the console market, they could in theory just create a Steam Machine-like console, through Windows 10 S. Which could benefit from Andromeda modularlisation and CShell Adaptive UI. Which apparently the Xbox Shell could come to PC and Andromeda could allow NEW Xbox Games come to PC along with Xbox through Windows Store. 
  • Xbox  will be prefered system for young casual gamers. As it can help do the stuff that school goers need to do. Office, web browser and gaming too. There will be no need to have an extra desktop for these tasks.  Xbox games are optimized for the console and it can perform better than similarly powered PC. A PC would cost much more to be equvilent of this machine. XOne X is $500 4k gaming machine and a PC that can do this would need a graphics card which will cost about $500. I think i would get a Xbox one X over a desktop if i wanted to do simple tasks only. With keyboard, Mouse support and nothing else changing in Xbox is good enough to do 80% of things i do on PC 
  • I think it would be super neat if Xbox eventually got its own version of Continuum that made the UI *look* like a desktop when a keyboard and mouse are plugged in. It would have a taskbar for multitasking, windowed mode, etc. Only able to run Store apps, of course. But if it could run Office, Outlook Mail, Twitter, and Microsoft Edge comfortably in windowed mode along with all my Xbox games, I would be all set. Maybe Cshell could make this possible one day.
  • With CShell, that's completely possible.
  • Creating 2 different pools wont matter...KB&M users will do what they already do now....play in the same lobbies and matches as controller users. You'd have to implement some type of limiter on sensitivity in non-KB&M lobbies/matches and allow native support its the only fair way to go forward with KB&M support. Otherwise say goodbye to your Elite controller and custom controller sales...we all might as well go buy adapters to even stand a chance in shooters on console. CronusMax and Xim4 and adapter users already are a huge issue on games like BF1 and every CoD and Overwatch...pretty much any shooter on console has been proliferated by KB&M adapter users destroying controller users. Granted some disabled players and gamers prefer or have to use a mouse but reasons for use aside...its a technological edge...Mouse is a much more efficient peripheral for shooters than thumbsticks.....Give us all the chance to even the playing field by using KB&M natively and implore devs to implement sensitivity stops in-game for controller lobbies so when mouse users try to use a mouse in the match for controller players they are actually at a disadvantage lol.
  • I mean that's literally what Mike Ybarra said, they'd force the use of those peripherals in the different pools. You really think they'd just let people cheat? lol
  • No, but I bet people work out how to use KB and M in the controller pool. Meaning couch/controller users get owned by KBM users in a chair. This move reallly worries me, as it has the potential to ruin my whole competitive gaming experience. Worrying times. 
  • Microsoft won't screw this up.
  • Microsoft (and everyone who like controllers) is making my point for me.  It's one of the main reasons I ONLY play games on a PC: Keyboard, Mouse, Joystick.  Right now, I love playing Elite Dangerous:Horizons because I'm running a combination of those three and I love it.  When I play Titanfall or Call of Duty or any other FPS, I simply will not play using a controller.  I don't really care what others are using.  I don't care if it's "fair".  and I don't think Microsoft should care, either.  It's one thing if someone is using some sort of a hidden exploit---we, as players, and developers have been dealing with that sort of issue from the beginning.  Sure, plug those holes as needed.  But, I'm sorry, using a keyboard and mouse is NOT an exploint.  It's a preferred way to interface with the game.  Tell me what kind of whining is going to happen when people using VR controllers have a different edge (or not) over legacy controllers, etc..  The bottom line is, developers and Microsoft need to support people playing using whatever method they prefer.  I think the simplest solution is to have some sort of indicator that allows you to see what method another player is using.  Let users decide.  As a matter of fact, one of the reasons I liked some of the older FPS games, like Day of Defeat, was that you could search for and CHOOSE specific servers because of their characteristics (e.g., single map only, language bans, no spawn killing, etc.).  It would be great to see that kind of thing come back.  Allow users to find servers that are controller-only if they are actually concerned about playing with KB players.
  • lol you're an idiot if you think it's a good idea for Microsoft to allow k/m players to crush controller players. you sound like you just want free kills cus you're bad.
  • Sorry Jez, As much as I agree that he's an idiot, (and he probably wants to boost his stats) if implemented right, it won't be just a bunch of "free kills" KBM doesn't automatically make you better at an FPS, especially if you've not used one much. 
  • AxmanTim KBM > controller - period.  Scubadog is our resident idiot, so just ignore his A4 sized rants   
  • Not in all situations. You might want to play something other than call of duty.
  • Almost all situations* k/m is superior, in shooters.
  • My point is you don't magically become awesome if you use a kbm, and you also don't drop the last place when you use a controller. Even with the advantage of a kbm, it can be mitigated with proper matchmaking. Ppl rarely have fun (as a whole) if one player goes 76 and 0 on every match. So if one player is dominating (legitimately) they should be placed in a higher tier until they start losing bad. Then, with their control method of choice (kbm, controller, or even rock band guitar) things are balanced.
  • Oh, and one other thing.  "Soon".  Same old story we've been hearing since Xbox One debuted.  I don't believe them anymore.
  • Wololo? Wololo. Wololo Wololo Wololo Wololo. Wololol, Wololo Wololo - - Wololo Wololo. Wololo Wololo! #Wololo #weninIndia
  • Console being turned into a PC...that's good for Big Doftie.
  • All that needs to be done is implement a proper match making system based on player skill. If one person can kick butt with a controller against KBM players then he/she will be placed in a lobby with them. The only time you need KBM or controller only is official competition.
  • I play a console so I can compete and be competitive on a level playing field with other controller users. I don't give a damn what kind of matchmaking they implement. If they go this route and have controller users playing against , I'll be done with MS as a console forever. Also, please don't bring up xims as if they're out in large numbers. 
  • As the article states, It's up to the developers, so I'm not entirely sure why that means you'll be done with MS. To also be fair, you don't know what others are using that you're playing with/against, nor is it a completely level playing field on console. You dont' know if you're playing with someone that is using an alternate controller type, or if they have a comparible internet connection, or any of the other variables involved in multiplyer. You won't even know if someone has KBM unless they tell you while you're playing with/against them. As I said, the only time is matters is when those variables are controlled in an official tournamnet.
  • Actually, your comment about alternative controllers made me think about the elite controller which has the paddles. Theoretically, when you've gotten used to it, the paddles are more efficient. Now, an elite controller is still very similar to a regular controller, so I don't think I can totally extend the analogy to controllers and keyboard/mouse.
  • I really don't know what analogy you mean.
  • Sorry to clarify I was just comparing elite controller to regular controller vs keyboard and mouse vs regular controller. The first, with the elite controller having some theoretical advantage, is much more similar to each other.
  • Ahh, I honestly didn't just mean the elite controller. Ppl are allowed to use any compatible controller with any game. Racing wheels being one, or even the person using screwing around using a guitar hero controller for an fps. Advantage or disadvantage they are allowed to do that and no one is up in arms over it. There are so many variables that can give a person an advantage or disadvantage during a competitive match that they kbm argument, IMO, is stupid.
  •  actually those for extra buttons that can be used whenever you need them make a significant difference.
  • Large numbers you say? How about Googling "Cronusmax." There's a community of over half a million now using that 60.00 module with full out keyboard and mouse support. It's 100% legit and you can pick it up at Best Buy. XIM users are only dwindling because this little device is much better, faster and cheaper than XIM. There's an entire community with mouse sensitivity settings for every game on xbox. How long has this been around? Three YEARS now big guy, THREE years. So with that and by your own analogy, shouldn't you be "done?" I'd say you'd better just suck it up and move on to PS4 now, but..........OH WAIT!!! PS4 ALSO supports the Cronusmax. LOL Looks like you're just out of luck. Maybe get a new hobby?
  • Didnt they do this already with that one shooter game for xbox 360
  •  for all the people complaining, you do realise that we already have a divide between the likes of the Elite controller and a standard controller so this is just another step.
  • Elite Controller advantage isn't thaaaat big.
  • So you're acknoledging that the Elite controller is an advantage. Where is the line drawn then, and who decides that? Why is my elite controller advantage ok, but KBM not ok? Why is a force feedback racing wheel vs controller ok in racing games. Why are children allowed on my team  that just like to swear and throw grenades at teammates vs good players on the other team? Hell, I'm able to have a wired connection to my xbox, and play against people with a high latency wireless connection. All these things are advantages to someone. We aren't all in controlled tournaments and that's exactly what people are treating this as. The ONLY way to EVER have a perfectly level playing field is if everyone is in the same room, with the same equipment, on the same network.
  • There is already a massive community of players using xim or other hardware. Is about time really.
  • Random question, what is xim?
  • Microsoft next needs to add Thrustmaster flight stick support.  The PS4 has had this for a long time. Where the heck is it for the Xbox One??
  • What if... player can choose to open a gamepad-only room, a KB+mouse-only-room or mix-control-room?
    Gamepad player gets more points from beating a KB+mouse player?
  • Thats neat but I hope they only bring this to non competitive games or have some limiters for them as kb/m is superior to a controller and always will be especially in fps games.