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Apple is bringing keyboard and mouse gaming to the iPad

Apple is adding pointer capture to iPad gaming, which means that users will be able to play complex video games on the device for the first time.

“Level up your iPad games and add in keyboard, mouse, and trackpad controls,” the company told developers when describing a WWDC 2020 session about the new controller scheme. “Discover how to use the Game Controller framework to augment your existing titles, bring over games from other platforms, or dream up entirely new interaction experiences.”

iPads have allowed pairing with Xbox and PlayStation controllers for a while now, but this would be the first time developers will be able to make use of pointer capture with mouse and keyboard controls, widely considered the bench standard for PC gaming.

“Learn how to integrate keyboard and ‘delta’ mouse coordinate events for player motion, and disable system gestures like the Dock or Control Center to take full advantage of full-screen gameplay,” Apple said.

The news is being lauded by developers mainly because Apple and its products have been slow to delve into the world of video games.

The Apple app store is packed with games, but none of them have the cachet of a traditional big release on something like a PlayStation 4 or PC. However, Apple has been making moves to change this, and the past year has seen serious inroads into the more mainstream video game ecosphere.

In September of last year, Apple launched Apple Arcade, a $5 monthly subscription service touting more than 100 ad-free games, and users can play games with a DualShock 4 or Xbox One controller. Apple does not yet have its own controller.

Playing games on an iPad or iPhone is fairly simple with a game that requires simple touch controls but becomes complicated when trying to play games with more complicated control schemes, like Grand Theft Auto III. While adding controller support helped, games like Fortnite on PC have ravenous followings and are played with a mouse and keyboard. Adding support for pointer capture means that Apple could potentially offer players the same experience on the iPad that they’re getting from a full PC or laptop rig.

Steve Troughton-Smith, a developer that builds apps and games, tweeted that the move was a “huge deal for gaming on iPad.”

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