Despite the release of numerous Xbox/Playstation releases from popular franchises such as NBA2K, Call of Duty, and more over the past year, the breakout game of 2018 is without a doubt, Fortnite. Receiving a boost from Drake and other celebrities, Fortnite, which burst on the scene in late 2018, is now played by millions of players worldwide- and it’s popularity shows no signs of slowing down.
In addition to celebrity endorsements, Fortnite also owes its popularity to the fact that it can be played on both gaming consoles as well as PCs. And now, Xbox is contemplating possibly capitalizing on this duality with reported plans to press forward with an idea that has been bantered around the fringes of the gaming industry for years- keyboard and mouse support for Xbox gaming consoles. As Xbox sales continue to lag behind that of PlayStation, merging keyboards and mice with consoles would theoretically allow Xbox to host a far larger amount of popular games now regulated to PCs such as Age of Empires.
While details are scant, TechCrunch and other major tech and gaming publications have reported that earlier in the year Microsoft spoke to developers about its plans for keyboard and mouse support on Xbox One. Leaked documents on Windows Central recently received detail how Microsoft was at least planning to bring mouse support to the April update of the Xbox dev kit. Razer, who presented alongside Microsoft, debuted the sofa-friendly Razer Turret keyboard and mouse peripheral- already available on the market for $160.
Yet the Razer Turret is tailored more towards PC users, who are widely known in the gaming community as perceiving themselves as more elite than their console counterparts. Some gamers also believe that new hybrid hardware will disenfranchise players who rely solely on a console or PC. According to one Reddit user, the console is a fair playing field and merging technologies literally violate a core concept of console gameplay. He states: “Frankly, I want to see full cross platform, but they need to have gamepad locked lobbies for anyone who wants to play with gamepad and without mouse aim. Or no gamepad players will stick around for too long.” Another user echoes the same sentiments by pointing out that “some PC guys because they think more options is always better, and while you should be able to play with a mouse (on PC unquestionably), for console they need to protect the integrity of gamepad players preference, it the option to use a controller in a fair setting.”
While some gamers (mostly PC) are enthusiastic about the potential for increased versatility, many remain skeptical. Many gamers argue that a keyboard/mouse/console hybrid would appeal to only a limited audience and believe that consoles should stay focused on evolving into VR platforms before anything else.