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 (opens in new tab) simply won't work well with a controller. Minecraft (opens in new tab) (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 (opens in new tab) 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 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 caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • FINALLY! My nephew love his Fortnite and would love to play with mouse
  • Hey, "finally" is right, right?..;) It's only taken 'em a couple of decades to realize how controllers are *not* competitive (especially when compared to a keyboard and mouse). Here's to making MILLIONS, to whoever is first (and, fastest!) to reverse-engineer the -hardware- protocols and clone the hardware devices. (If I had a couple grand, for sure, that's where I'd be investing; that is, whichever Chinese company gets their act together, first. :))
  • Depends. Many sports games are perfect with a controller. Same for J&R and Adventure games. Shooters, Strategy / Building are best played with Mouse/Keyboard (or even only Keyboard).
  • I'm personally a controller guy, but I'm sure ALOT of PC diehards would be more than happy to mess around with Xbox a lil more if they can run keyboards/mice.
  • Some people still perfer controllers, even after having used both. Especially because a keyboard and mouse is not exactly couch friendly. I am tempted to try using a trackball for strategy games though, but the keyboard is still needed for shortcuts.
  • yup, really hope it pulls thru cant even remember the last time i played fortnite looking forward to playing again on the xbox one
  • A gaming KBM from MS and Razer? If it's real, I'd say, bring it on!! Xbox One standard Gamepad is sleek and modern looking, the d-pad, is a decent, proper d-pad.
    The Design Lab is a nice addition. Gamer can have taste too. Elite can allows you to perform ABXY action without having one to move away their thumb from analogs. Xbox Adaptive Controller is also sleek looking.
  • I had a Microsoft, razer keyboard and mouse combo when they did it around 2003, razer recluse and habu
  • Can't see why MS has to partner with anyone regarding keyboard and mouse, since any keyboard and mouse should work unless they just want to screw us some more. Support for both should be on the top of the list for Xbox as it is something that other console don't support as far as im aware, a lot of pc gamers will welcome it for sure. Either way just get it done MS.
  • Like it says in the article... any keyboard and mouse would work, but it looks like Microsoft might be partnering more closely with Razer on things like RGB and sofa-friendly lappable mouse/keyboard setups like the Razer Turret.
  • They did it be for with razer recluse and habu
  • Wonder if they would make a keyboard and mouse set using Xbox wireless to avoid using a dongle. By the way, all I want is Age of Empires IV on Xbox with keyboard & mouse support. That would be a dream.
  • I feel like Razer is specifically equipped to handle gaming keyboards and mice. One probably wouldn't want a Surface Alcantara keyboard with an Xbox. They could make their own but why reinvent the wheel? They only ever make hardware that competitors haven't yet made or haven't made well. Besides, why miss an opportunity to keep a partner invested in the ecosystem? 😉
  • Already using an optimus max adapter for keyboard and mouse.
    There are other ones out there also. Still it will be good to expand to
    universal supportl
  • Xim apex..ive been using mouse and keyboard on consoles for years. Since early Xbox 360. Xim 1
  • Does that allow you to utilise every key, or does it just map controller inputs to keys/mouse buttons?
  • Give us Civilization please
  • When I decide whether to play a game on PC or Xbox my first question is “how will this game play if its filled with thousands of neck-beards with super human aim” For single player and turn based games the answer is “just as good as before” so I’ll go with PC. For games like Overwatch the answer is “slightly more annoying to play, but not a huge difference overall” so I’ll go with PC. For games like Rainbow Six Siege the answer, at least for me, is “Absolutely terrible” so I’ll go with Xbox. If MK support comes to Xbox it will be ok so long as Dev’s separate matchmaking based on input. This should not dilute the base too much, especially since a lot of MK folks will be new users who previously shunned consoles, but if it does then cross play between Xbox and PC can mitigate that and give controller users on PC a more level playing field.
  • Really looking forward to mouse and keyboard support.
  • Is this some difficult technical feat? I imagine so, otherwise why not have it implemented already?
  • I've said it before but I desperately need this for Elite Dangerous.
  • I hope this means we are getting a Civilization game soon...