Microsoft is in development to transform the traditional gaming experience by adding native support for keyboard and mouse to its Xbox One. The new support will give game developers a choice between the original Xbox platform and the newly emerged Windows 10 support that comes through Universal Windows Platform (UWP) APIs.
"You'll see our first games supporting keyboard and mouse soon. I can't announce what that is, but soon. And based on developer interest, they'll choose to do keyboard and mouse, or not," said Xbox and Windows Platform Corp. Vice President Mike Ybarra during a panel discussion at PAX West earlier this week.
The native support for computer peripherals such as a keyboard and mouse on the Xbox One range has quite been anticipated for long time. Microsoft has the advantage of enabling developers with a keyboard and mouse gameplay due to its unified Windows strategy. This is where Sony lags today, despite offering a premium experience on PlayStation 4 models. However, persuading developer community for the new experience, especially the ones who are building game titles for both the Xbox One and PlayStation platforms, is still a challenge.
"When we bring keyboard and mouse, we'll coach developers and say 'look, you've got to think about your multiplayer pools. If you have a competitive game, people are probably going to want the choice to say I'll play with other keyboard and mouse people or I'll play only with controller people, or that I'll play with any of those," Ybarra mentioned.
Initial developments started to attract more gamers
Microsoft has already started experimenting the new development by enabling multiple input support for the online playlists on Gears of War 4. Likewise, the recent Minecraft's Better Together update even added minimal keyboard and mouse compatibility.
The primary reason behind bringing the new support is to enhance the sales of Xbox One family in the market where Sony is so far leading the race. According to a recent report by market researcher IHS Markit, Sony dominated the game console hardware, software and service market in 2016 with a total of 57 percent share. This growth was nearly double the share of Microsoft.
Sony's PlayStation 4 gained in the market with an installed base of 53 million consoles, whereas the Xbox One reached the mark of 27.6 million in 2016.