It’s been a long generation for Microsoft and the Xbox One, as the console has played second fiddle to the PS4 – and now the Nintendo Switch – in most areas that gamers care most about.
Alongside a handful of more acclaimed exclusives, the PS4 has outsold the Xbox One by almost more than double throughout the entirety of each console’s life cycle.
As the generation comes to a close though, Microsoft has been making big steps that could help put them on top for 2019 and beyond.
Whether it’s providing excellent products like Xbox All Access and Game Pass or adding a lot of impressive new developers, it’s clear the Xbox team is planning for the future.
The biggest step is yet to come though, as Microsoft recently announced it would be testing out full support for keyboard and mouse input on the Xbox One.
14 games have been revealed for the program so far, with Warframe, Fortnite, Bomber Crew, Deep Rock Galactic, Strange Brigade, Vermintide 2, War Thunder, and X-Morph Defense being the only ones currently playable.
This news has divided many fans, causing excitement and worry simultaneously. While there are certainly some issues that will need to be ironed out, full mouse and keyboard support is huge for the Xbox One, especially for its “Play Anywhere” focus.
Ever since it was announced at Microsoft’s E3 2016 press conference, Xbox Play Anywhere has been somewhat lacking.
While the concept is solid, allowing fans who own an Xbox Play Anywhere digital title to play on both Xbox One and Windows 10 PC, it really only meant Xbox One games could be played on PC and not vice versa.
The introduction of mouse and keyboard for the Xbox One is likely to help solve this issue, as titles can now be used for Xbox Play Anywhere on the PC end too.
This means that developers won’t have to specifically create a game with controllers in mind, opening up a myriad of possibilities for PC titles that can now be played on Xbox One. Imagine playing WoW or Runescape on a console.
It seems like the sky is the limit once the console is opened up to the PC market, allowing the ability to combine the computer games hardcore players love with the form factor, power, and affordability of hardware like the Xbox One X.
Instead of having to dish out thousands of dollars on a gaming computer, players could possibly a few hunred for one of Microsoft’s consoles and get a similar experience.
The main concern mouse and keyboard input does bring up revolves around fairness in cross-play. Whether you love controllers or not, there is no denying that a mouse and keyboard is logistically better for movement and reaction.
Since the mouse and keyboard will have a significant advantage, many are worried this will ruin games that allow them in competitive multiplayer. While this would certainly be an issue, it doesn’t seem too difficult to prevent.
To combat competitive advantages, Microsoft could simply create a matchmaking system that divided players using controllers and players using mouse and keyboard.
Alongside this, users could also opt-in or out of the user type they are comfortable playing against.
So how does this all compare to Sony’s current mouse and keyboard features? At the moment, the PS4 only has full support for a few titles: Final Fantasy XIV, War Thunder and the late Paragon.
It is entirely likely that the PS5 will jump on the mouse and keyboard bandwagon if Microsoft does find success with this program. Sony has shown that they aren’t too proud to play catch-up if someone else comes up with something popular.
Only time will tell, but mouse and keyboard support looks like another step forward by Microsoft, inching them closer to Sony, who seems to be standing still at the moment.