Microsoft and Razer might be working on an Xbox keyboard and mouse partnership (Confirmed)

Update, September 25, 2018: Razer posted this on their twitter teasing the imminent announcement of the partnership, and Xbox's Mike Ybarra confirmed mouse and keyboard support is on the horizon for Xbox One. We'll find out more during Inside Xbox this November.

Keyboard and mouse support for Xbox remains a hot topic, despite never fully materializing. Support for keyboard and mice would open up Xbox to a far larger array of games, potentially, since many titles like Age of Empires DE simply won't work well with a controller. Minecraft (Bedrock version) already supports mouse and keyboard on Xbox One, but so far, that's it.

Earlier in the year, Microsoft spoke to developers about its plans for keyboard and mouse support on Xbox One. Leaked documents we've recently received detail how Microsoft was at least planning to bring mouse support to the April update of the Xbox dev kit. Redmond showed off the sofa-friendly Razer Turret keyboard and mouse peripheral in partnership with Razer, who joined Microsoft for the presentation.

Whether these plans are still set to go ahead or not remains a mystery, but we can at least get a glimpse at what the two companies might be working on.

The presentation details a Microsoft and Razer partnership to enable Razer Chroma RGB lighting support directly on Xbox in games, showing off how it works today in PC versions of Overwatch, DOTA2, and other titles. Chroma lighting can provide visuals cues for abilities coming off cooldown and so on, which can be useful and immersive.

The presentation also details some rules and guidance for developers on their implementation of mouse and keyboard support for Xbox. Gamepad support is still a requirement for all titles, and the Xbox can only support one mouse and keyboard per console, unlike gamepads, of which it can support several.

Microsoft also offers some guidance on the impact mouse and keyboard support might have for competitive multiplayer titles. It notes that it's entirely up to developers on how they want to utilize mouse and keyboard support, emphasizing that the presence of mouse and keyboard can be detected, meaning a developer could potentially lock players to specific playlists based on their inputs to preserve balance.

Microsoft encourages developers to monitor how mouse and keyboard players compete against gamepad players and make adjustments where necessary, while "highly suggesting" that use of mouse and keyboard should be used in separate matchmaking rules.

The presentation notes that support for all USB mice supported by Windows would be available on Xbox, including mice with wireless dongles. Mice with custom drivers or Bluetooth reliance would remain incompatible, however. The presentation also discussed unauthorized peripherals which emulate controller behavior. In response, Microsoft is introducing a new API developers can leverage to detect (and potentially block) mouse and keyboard accessories that mimic controller inputs unfairly.

The presentation closes noting that mouse and Razer RGB lighting support for games was at least supposed to arrive in the April 2018 XDK update, targeting a Fall 2018 Windows 10 Update rollout, internally known as RS5. We haven't been able to verify if it actually did land in the hands of developers as of yet, or whether it got cancelled or delayed.

Whether these plans go ahead or not remain to be seen, so take it with a pinch of salt. However, maybe soon, gamers could get a lot more choice over how they control games on Xbox, and the list of games jumping across from PC could also grow.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at 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 tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!