Mouse and keyboard support has been rumoured for Xbox One for years at this point. It’s both one of the most highly-requested features and one of the most divisive. Limited keyboard support already exists in some games (notably, Minecraft) and of course there’s support throughout the Xbox dashboard as an input device, but it’s never yet got wide-scale support.
That will change soon.
Announced on yesterday’s Inside Xbox show from Goodwood House, and detailed more in a blog entry, mouse and keyboard support will be coming soon to Xbox Insiders. It’ll be “in the coming weeks” with no more specific a date set just yet.
Importantly, there are no plans to force keyboard and mouse support on developers and it will be at the discretion of development teams to include support in their games. One of the very first games to test this support will be Warframe.
One of the primary concerns for console players any time keyboards and mice are mentioned is the competitive advantage it might lend people who choose to play on keyboard. Thankfully, Mike Ybarra, a Corporate Vice President for Xbox, confirmed in a tweet that developers will be able to control exactly how different player bases interact with each other, including forcing players on different input devices into different multiplayer pools.
Mouse and keyboard very close to coming to Xbox console. Lots of developer options to ensure fairness and a great experience. Choice is in the hands of the developer to do multiplayer pools (controller only, kb/mouse only, any, etc.). Soon! #Xbox
— Mike Ybarra (@XboxQwik) September 25, 2018
Whilst Xbox Insiders will get first crack at experiencing this with Warframe, Xbox have committed to revealing even more about this feature, including a partnership with Razer for what appears to be new hardware, in an Inside Xbox show scheduled for 10th November.
More choice in input devices is a good thing, provided it doesn’t split the player base or drive players away from multiplayer experiences which only have mixed-input lobbies. Another hope of mine is that keyboard support will open the doors to new games on Xbox: the obvious candidates are strategy games, perhaps even the new Age of Empires 4.