It has been just over two years now since Microsoft’s Phil Spencer promised that mouse-and-keyboard support for the Xbox One was “not years away, it’s more like months away.” Though that’s a promise Microsoft has echoeda few times in the years since, thus far Minecraft is the only game on the platform with official support for the PC player’s controller of choice.
Over the weekend, though, Windows Central got its hands on a purported internal Microsoft presentation from earlier in the year detailing plans for the impending rollout of robust mouse-and-keyboard support for the Xbox One.
The developer-focused presentation, which also integrates lessons from Razer’s living room-focused lapboard peripheral, suggested an April API rollout to developers ahead of a planned fall announcement of support for players. It’s unclear, though, if those plans have changed since the presentation was given (Microsoft did not respond to a request for comment).
As reported, though, the presentation suggests that any Windows-compatible, non-Bluetooth USB mouse and keyboard (including ones that use USB wireless dongles) will soon be fully compatible with the Xbox One. While all Xbox One titles would still need to support a standard gamepad, according to the presentation, a new Xbox API would build off the existing Universal Windows Program mouse APIs to provide Xbox One developers with relative and absolute mouse pointer information and click details for up to five mouse buttons. Developers would be able to customize the visibility and appearance of the mouse pointer in Xbox One titles as well.
Microsoft’s presentation also addressed concern over the competitive balance issues introduced by letting mouse-and-keyboard players compete against those using a gamepad. While the final call will be up to the individual developers, Microsoft is apparently encouraging game makers to monitor the presence of a mouse and keyboard and use that information in setting matchmaking rules online.
That’s not a bad idea, as pastexperience has shown mouse and keyboard players often have a distinct advantage over those using analog pads. The presentation also suggests that Microsoft may be looking to detect and crackdown on unlicensed accessories like the XIM 4 that convert mouse and keyboard inputs into standard gamepad signals, which can give users an unfair advantage over players using a regular gamepad.
Given Microsoft’s past statements on mouse-and-keyboard support on Xbox One and continued player interest in the feature, it seems clear the feature will be coming to Microsoft’s console sooner or later. Based on this leaked presentation, though, there’s some reason to believe it will actually be sooner.