Microsoft will “coach” developers on bringing keyboard and mouse support to Xbox One titles

By Alex Donaldson, Monday, 4 September 2017 11:54 GMT

Aim assist be damned, keyboard and mouse support is coming.

Xbox Platform Corporate Vice President Mike Ybarra has reiterated that mouse and keyboard support is on the way for the Xbox One as part of an appearance on a PAX West panel this weekend, confirming that developers are already being assisted in the task of implementing such controls.

Given Ybarra’s role as the head of the platform for both the Xbox One and games on Windows 10, this makes sense as part of a general effort to unify the two platforms. PC players can already plug in an Xbox One pad and rock and roll in a few clicks, and the aim appears to now be to replicate that on the other side of the Xbox business.

Ybarra’s comments at this PAX panel were posted to social media in video form by an Xbox fan account and picked up by Windows Central.

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“Keyboard and mouse support is definitely coming,” said Ybarra, answering a fan question.

“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.”

Minecraft’s latest ‘Better Together’ update beta already has some basic keyboard and mouse input support, but this seems to refer to plans for greater platform-wide support on Xbox in general.

Keyboard and mouse is a bit of a hot topic among fans – some are well behind it, but others worry about fairness that’d make online games, particularly shooters, unbalanced.

At Gamescom we spoke to Ybarra about the Microsoft’s decision to only release the new Age of Empires for PC – where its other RTS, Halo Wars, shipped both on PC and on console with controller support. Check out our lengthy interview for that and a lot more on current plans for the Xbox brand on both PC and console.

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