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Microsoft isn’t shutting down unofficial mouse and keyboard support on Xbox One

Will Fulton/Digital Trends
Will Fulton/Digital Trends

Although Xbox One still does not have official keyboard and mouse support, but workarounds are available. According to Gamespot, Microsoft indicated that it has no plans to shut them down. Xbox Vice President Mike Ybarra took to Twitter over the weekend to address concerns about how a third-party party mouse and keyboard adapter could give players an unfair advantage in competitive games, like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and explain why they are not addressing it on the system level.

Developers have the choice to use APIs that detect and not allow these. It’s up to them, but the capability is there.

— Mike Ybarra (@XboxQwik) February 18, 2018

We could but there are helpful scenarios with these devices (accessibility for one). Our general approach is to empower the developer to manage their game how they want.

— Mike Ybarra (@XboxQwik) February 18, 2018

Ever since first-person shooters first made the jump from PC to consoles in the 1990s, it’s been conventional wisdom that mouse and keyboard offer a distinct competitive edge over gamepads because of the greater speed and accuracy with which one can move their arm and wrist than their thumb. Ever since crossplay between consoles and PCs has become viable, this divide has been a point of contention for how it could work. Gears of War 4, for instance, added social crossplay to its multiplayer mode, but not for ranked competitive play. Overwatch, meanwhile, has kept its console and PC players siloed, and lead designer Jeff Kaplan has voiced concerns about the unresolved state of console mouse and keyboard adapters creating competitive disparity.

Microsoft promised in 2017 that official mouse and keyboard support would be heading to Xbox One as part of the general initiative to merge the Windows and Xbox gaming platforms. Although that support has yet to materialize, Ybarra’s comments have clarified the company’s intent with leaving it to developers to determine what’s best for their games. For single-player games the competitive edge of mouse and keyboard doesn’t matter, and leaving it enabled is a great accessibility option for players that might have difficulty manipulating a gamepad. Instead, Ybarra suggests that developers implement their own measures as works for them, such as Gears of War 4 giving Xbox One players a menu option to opt in our out of crossplay with their PC counterparts.

While some might see this as avoiding making a decision until official support is implemented, the underlying philosophy seems pretty clear, following the general direction of the Xbox platform toward inclusion and universality.

Updated on 2.19.18: Headline altered for clarity.

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