Microsoft 'Definitely' Bringing Mouse and Keyboard to Xbox One, Considering Separate Servers

Written by Jon Sutton on Mon, Sep 4, 2017 9:57 AM

Soon our console brethren will be joining us in the weird, wonderful and hyper-accurate world of mouse and keyboards. Xbox director Mike Ybarra has said official mouse and keyboard support is "definitely coming" to the Xbox One, which should go some way to levelling the playing fields when it comes to Xbox Play Anywhere titles. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, in particular, seems like a logistical nightmare in terms of balancing between PC and console. Implementing console mouse and keyboard means those overly bothered can just switch to this alternate control method.

"We have to be very smart in how we do that,” said Ybarra during a panel at PAX West.  “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 Windows platform and the Xbox platform".

Interestingly, Microsoft’s plans don’t end there. Due to the disparity between the two control methods, Microsoft is also considering offering options to splinter player bases by control method. "If you have a competitive game, people probably are 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 then based on developer interest, they'll choose to do keyboard and mouse going forward, or not". It’s a noble idea, but ne'er-do-wells are always going to find a way to circumvent these measures and trick a console, PC, or server that they’re using a gamepad.

Of course this isn’t the first time consoles have had mouse and keyboards. There have been many (often failed) attempts over the years. I can remember having a mouse and keyboard for my Dreamcast which was essentially only necessary for Phantasy Star Online, although I did buy a second copy of Quake 3 for the express purpose of absolutely slaughtering gamepad uses. Ahhhh, those were the days.

You can also use keyboard and mouse on both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One already, but they’re gimped approximations that fool the consoles into thinking the mouse and keyboard is a gamepad. This leads to some awkward aiming issues wherein the console treats the mouse as a left analogue stick. Due to the strange vagaries of movement acceleration, moving the mouse as if it were an analogue stick can be pretty unpredictable, although it still offers a competitive advantage.

At its most basic level, the good news for Xbox One players is that this now opens up the potential for genres previously designed for keyboard and mouse play. Rather than the simplified likes of Halo Wars 2, Xbox One players could instead get a full-fledged version of Age of Empires 4. A far better deal in anyone’s book.

How do you think Microsoft plans to balance all these impending changes? Would you be open to the prospect of separate mouse & keyboard and gamepad servers, or would this prove impossible to police? Let us know!

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06:09 Sep-05-2017

whats next upgradable gpu in the next gen xbox instead of buying new system

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21:58 Sep-05-2017

Wouldn't surprise me, provided that they have the will to implement it.

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22:20 Sep-04-2017

I can picture the lems "Xbox One X has M&K = RIP PC gaming" lol, this is bloody ridiculous, just let the Xbox die.

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17:30 Sep-04-2017

MS sure is trying to make up for all of those years of ignoring the PC gamer community. Sadly, instead of making Windows gaming better for us they seem to be trying to come up with ways to pull gamers with mid level hardware desires to the Xbox platform.

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16:48 Sep-04-2017

is it just me, or is Microsoft sneakily destroying PCs and Windows 10 in one go?
because Apple is dominating mobile market, servers are matter of Linux, and Windows 10 is ruining PC experience, maybe Microsoft is doing a 360 turn and coming up with subscription-paid gaming PC-like device?
this might actually end up very interesting, because it's more than obvious Microsoft is keen on cutting users off programs leaving them with UWP Store only, next step would surely be cutting users off varied hardware leaving them with Microsoft-designed (-certified) small amount of hardware (Surface hardware nowadays) huh?

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17:00 Sep-04-2017

Essentially, if this were their true course, MS would become like a Mac. Horrible thought ...

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17:04 Sep-04-2017

why would it be horrible?
1) game devs would be guaranteed a stable solid platform and specs to make games for
2) gamers would have even conditions when gaming
3) gamers would no need to care about hw specs, requirements, compatibility etc., games would just work (and if not, nobody could play lol)
4) hardware devs would be guaranteed to supply exact components of huge batches in long run
5) Microsoft would have solid monthly income of money, which might help more long-term planning, better supportive services etc..

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18:23 Sep-04-2017

probably because "PC Master Race" lol

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19:56 Sep-04-2017

Then on the flipside there are people like me, wouldn't touch a Mac with a 10 foot stick, utterly horrible. I'm not even going to start with other apple products since I actually prefer functionality over fashion..
I'm sticking with my Win7 and if need be I upgrade to win10, but if they start pulling off stuff like apple, whooh I'd be off to Linux in no time.

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06:08 Sep-05-2017

looks like you got hit hard with dislikes after that comment

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14:25 Sep-05-2017

Wow, lol, who would have thought a well detailed argument would get down votes. Passions run strongly in GD. I'll put a up vote though since they're all good points.

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14:33 Sep-05-2017

What's really at stake is freedom. The freedom to customize one's rig according to tastes, budget, software options, OC potential, upgrade path/future proofing, etc. If Apple was such a great model to base game development on then the past thirty years would have been very different. MS should be very aware of shat Windows true advantage over OSX is: individuality; for better or worse.

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14:58 Sep-05-2017

I often get downvotes for complaining about Windows 10 (valid reasons people refuse to accept), but this time it makes me sincerely laugh I get downvotes for spoiling up Microsoft strategy (again fairly valid outlines people refuse to accept),
that basically means Microsoft Windows userbase (or shall I say fanbase) is already falling into pieces, because on one hand they dislike me pinpointing flaws, but on the other hand dislike me pinpointg inevitable future...

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15:07 Sep-05-2017

That's damn right. I disliked almost all of Microsoft's new releases after win7

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15:02 Sep-05-2017

His comment got downvoted because what he stated sounded wonderful in its own right, that kind of situation is so easy to monetize and monopolize (just look at apple nowdays) and hence is not ideal in the real world, thinking about the consumer and product development. Like you said, it's our freedom at stake, but not only that, also advancements in pure performance and product variety are at stake.

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19:51 Sep-04-2017

Do you spam that now under every thread that has something to do with Windows 10?
Typical conspiracy theorist ...

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15:00 Sep-05-2017

let's not call it conspiracy theory, but rather a negative future vision ;)

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15:45 Sep-05-2017

I was sort of expecting this sort of deal from Steam Machines but it never materialised. Fixed specs they just classify as Gen 1, Gen 2, Gen 3 etc. Each game would just have the minimum and recommended gen next to it. Think it would've been a pretty nice balance between standard PCs and consoles but they went and made it a whole lot more complex.

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17:40 Sep-05-2017

core problem of SteamOS machines is those were supposedly running modified Debian Linux which means absolutely no DirectX support which means just a fraction of potential gaming market...

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22:03 Sep-05-2017

I wonder, had Vulcan been available in the time of the first SteamOS machines would we be talking about it differently now?

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10:03 Sep-06-2017

I think no,
API alone is worthless if there is not a usable game engine,
indie game devs tend to pick ready-to-go game engines and pros code their own - neither of those options would support Vulkan easily, so even if OS fully supported Vulkan, it would still take a lot of time to fully make use of it

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16:53 Sep-06-2017

@tzzsmk Would you care to estimate Vulcan-s chance, for becoming the mainstream API tho?

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08:16 Sep-06-2017

I don't see subscription for online gaming happening. Windows is easy to hack and crack apparently, so there will always be a workaround. Steam can make a subscription thing, but that would mean that they probably will make some sort of "steam prime" of it, pay for extra stuff.
I think the only subscription that can happen is unlimited games for X amount per month, which is a good deal if you play a lot of games

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14:54 Sep-04-2017

About damn time. With this, the drama over the consoles having to deal with just a controller should finally be put to rest.


P.S.
Now that the Xbox One will get proper keyboard and mouse support, should MS consider just using the console as a PC for regular PC stuff.
Your thoughts everyone?

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11:32 Sep-04-2017

So.... Microsoft is making their own macs but only for gaming and no productivity ? :P

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14:56 Sep-04-2017

Don't see why they can't give it a go. Apple's stuff these days is overpriced for the hardware that they use.
I have this opinion, because I am not a novice that needs help to use my PC/laptop/raspberry pi 3 and so forth...

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16:39 Sep-04-2017

I see steam computers but with optimization and lower graphical settings

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16:50 Sep-04-2017

seems so, when you really think about it it's the only way to make the growing gaming software market profitable

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02:19 Sep-05-2017

It could happen, but there needs to be a damn good reason & even better support for the win/MS gaming system to work. And when I say support I mean it, not just for their apps, but for 3rd party ones as well.

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10:43 Sep-04-2017

That's good but what about 60-120hz? I just got a 144hz monitor I can see big improvements in my play in shooters (Overwatch, Dirtybomb). At least we will get more gaming Mouse and keyboards to choose from.

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10:53 Sep-04-2017

That's a long, long way off for consoles, if ever. TVs have never really offered high refresh rates and few console gamers plug their console into a monitor.

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14:37 Sep-04-2017

I think there is a relatively high number of TVs that have 120 Hz displays

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15:00 Sep-04-2017

True, but their price isn't anywhere near the Xbox One 500$ price, at least to my knowledge.

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18:36 Sep-04-2017

if it's 1080p I'm pretty sure you could find it for less than 700$

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02:22 Sep-05-2017

That is still way too much. I know a place where I can buy a used 1080p monitor for around 150$. It's refurbished of course, but a monitor unlike a GPU, or CPU can outlive several systems provided that it's cared for.

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10:24 Sep-04-2017

yeah, and still.
a pc for the same money would perform better.

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16:49 Sep-04-2017

what if game will not install/launch/run on PC for the same money?
as far as I know all PC games are fully dependant on Microsoft monopoly prequisities

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16:53 Sep-04-2017

I'm pretty sure that's the point where they get sued for scamming customers..?

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17:01 Sep-04-2017

I'm pretty sure Microsoft lawyers team is beyond suability :P

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20:40 Sep-04-2017

Hah, that might be true, but. you said that ''what if game will not install/launch/run on PC for the same money?'' If by that you mean they start fiddling with game performance and making installation hassled to sell xboxs and their own ware I'm pretty damn sure they would get smushed, having valve, nvidia, amd and other independant productions up their throats without even talking about the legal issues of such actions..

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