After years of hints and promises, Microsoft has finally confirmed that support for gaming keyboards and mice is coming to its Xbox One family of consoles - and those registered on the Xbox Insider programme might see the initial update within the next couple of weeks.
After years of rumours and numerous third-party hacks, support for adding a USB keyboard and mouse for in-game use to the Xbox One console family was seemingly confirmed by Microsoft's Phil Spencer back in 2015: 'Keyboard and mouse support for Xbox would need to be there for this to work,' Spencer wrote in response to a query as to whether it would be possible to stream Windows games from a PC to the console rather than vice-versa, '[but] those aren't far away.'
Three years on, and Microsoft looks to be finally making good on Spencer's somewhat premature promise: The company has confirmed that it will be adding keyboard and mouse support in a coming update, but warns that support will be available only on a per-game basis and is entirely in developers' hands.
'With this new input support at the platform level, developers can now build mouse and keyboard support in their games if and how they choose. It’s important to note that mouse and keyboard support for games is added on a title-by-title basis, entirely at developers’ discretion,' explains Microsoft's Jason Ronald. 'For all other titles, nothing changes. Mouse and keyboard input is not enabled by default for games. Each development team knows their titles best and we support them in creating the right experience for their games as they see fit, to ensure an optimal and fair gaming experience. Warframe will be one of the first titles testing mouse and keyboard input when the feature arrives to Insider in the coming weeks.'
Ronald has also announced a partnership with Razer to 'bring you the best possible mouse and keyboard experience for this new functionality', teasing dedicated hardware which will presumably come equipped with the specialised function buttons otherwise missing from non-Xbox controllers.
No release date for the functionality has been offered, but Ronald has stated that 'select' Xbox Insider members, users who have registered for the public beta-testing programme which runs alongside the Windows Insider programme, will receive an early version within the next few weeks. More information is available in the announcement.
February 17 2020 | 09:00