Microsoft is continually looking for ways to make developing for the Xbox platform a lot easier, and adding keyboard support is certainly a step in the right direction.
Last year, Xbox boss, Phil Spencer, said that it was only a matter of months before Xbox got keyboard and mouse support. The debate heated up again when Overwatch game director, Jeff Kaplan, voiced concerns about bringing peripheral support to consoles.
Speaking on the Battle.net forums back in February, Overwatch game director, Jeff Kaplan, said the development team didn’t like the use of such devices on console.
“The Overwatch team objects to the use of mouse and keyboard on console,” he said. “We have contacted both first-party console manufacturers and expressed our concern about the use of mouse and keyboard and input conversion devices,” he said.
“I encourage you to reach out to the hardware manufacturers and express your concerns,” Kaplan said, hinting that Blizzard has its hands tied without the support of the console manufacturers.
“But please do so in a productive and respectful way,” he said.
The Xbox One doesn’t currently support keyboard and mouse, but Spencer has numerous times hinted at future support.
At the Build Conference this week (via ArsTechnica), Microsoft confirmed that full keyboard support for Xbox platforms would be made available through UWP cross-platform development, which is currently still in preview mode in the Xbox Live Creators Program.
For those not in the know, the Xbox Live Creators Program is a way for developers to easily implement Xbox Live and Windows functionality and features into their games without having to create two seperate versions of the same game for each platform.
“I’ve actually spoken to two developers in the last week that have actually expressed interest in implementing keyboard support on the console,” Microsoft’s Senior Program Manager for Game Developers, Andrew Parsons, said at the conference. “They’ve got games they’ve published on Windows and they want to publish on console, but the game kind of needs chat, or kind of needs the ability to type in a bunch of text.”
As for mouse support, James Yarrow, an engineer at Microsoft, said it “probably won’t work”.
Parsons later clarified this with Digital Trends, saying some mice may be support, but that initially, most models won’t be compatible.