Much was made of the inter-operability between Xbox One and PC at Microsoft’s E3 2016 press conference, but one big question was raised - How could console gamers compete on a level playing field with mouse and keyboard users? Well Xbox head Phil Spencer has got the solution; mouse and keyboard support is coming to the Xbox One in a few months.
If you missed the hullabaloo earlier this week, Microsoft announced the Xbox Play Anywhere initiative. The gist of this is that you can buy any (first party only for now) game digitally once, on either PC or Xbox One, and you’ll be able to play it on both. That includes cloud saves and, most excitingly, cross-play. It means every first-party Microsoft game is also coming to PC, and it also means you will be able play Gears of War 4 co-op on PC with your buddy on an Xbox One.
Fair enough for co-operative play, but get into the murky waters of PvP and you’d think PC players would deliver the smackdown to console gamers.
"I keep talking about it in the press and my platform team keeps shaking their head, because they… Truthfully in our dev kit modes now keyboard works, mouse support is a little bit further away," Spencer said. "I say it because I know it’s not years away, it’s more like months away, but we don’t have an exact date yet."
It’s coming then, so the option will be there. I’m not sure how receptive Xbox One gamers will be to using M&K, although I can’t say I’d be too keen when I’m sat in front of the telly. With any luck there’ll be the option to pick and choose whether you want to play with the other platform, or as Jon wrote yesterday decent auto-aim for controllers could also level the playing field. Some genres just really aren't suited to gamepads however, including MOBAs and strategy titles.
"Trying to take League of Legends and play it with a controller… or Dota… I don't know, maybe a designer’s going to try and tackle that problem, but those seem like natural PC games to me," explained Spencer. "When we enable PC and mouse on console it’ll be interesting to see how many of those creators think about running their PC and mouse-only game on console."
Do you think mouse and keyboard support is a necessity for cross-platform play with the Xbox One? With Microsoft clearly intent on unifying PC and Xbox, will we begin to see Live subscriptions charged for PC gamers? Let us know what you think!