At E3 2017, developer Mojang shared plans to bring the various different Minecraft communities across consoles, PC, and mobile devices under one umbrella in the form of the “Better Together” update. That patch is currently being tested by Xbox One players who opted into a beta and the preview confirmed the introduction of a long-requested feature.
The current version of the beta allows Minecraft fans to test Xbox Live multiplayer and other functionality in the new “Bedrock Edition” of the game. On top of that, there is a nifty option hidden away in a menu screen that can be used to select a keyboard and mouse as the primary input device rather than the standard Xbox One controller, according to OnMSFT.
This is pretty big news. Minecraft started out on the PC and as such many players are most comfortable building their creations and navigating the game world with the freedom of control afforded by a mouse. There have been numerous requests from fans for this functionality to be implemented in the console version of the game and it seems that those wishes have finally been granted.
It remains to be seen whether the PlayStation 4 version of Minecraft will also receive official support for keyboard and mouse control schemes somewhere down the line. Sony declined to take part in the Better Together update, so the system is currently positioned separately to the central strand of the game’s development moving forward.
The fact that Minecraft is adding keyboard and mouse support on the Xbox One might suggest that this control scheme will become a more prominent component of the console’s identity. Microsoft has made no secret of its intention to bring Windows 10 and the Xbox One closer together and since so many of its big releases are cross-play and already have keyboard and mouse control schemes established, it should not be too difficult to set up.
The Better Together update for Minecraft will see the Xbox One, Windows 10, Nintendo Switch, and mobile versions of the game drop their platform specific-branding and enable players using different hardware to create alongside one another. There is currently no official release date for the final version of the patch.