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Xbox head talks PC gaming, mouse and keyboard on Xbox One

by Eric Frederiksen | March 31, 2016March 31, 2016 11:20 am PST

After years of talking about it, Microsoft finally seems to be making a real push into PC gaming. It hasn’t been without its bumps, but they seem to be making good on their word. Mixing PC and console gaming is tricky, though, and rife with pitfalls that could backfire on the company. Xbox boss Phil Spencer talked about some of these at Microsoft’s Build conference this week.

For example, he said straight up that not all Microsoft games will hit both platforms because not all games are well-suited to both platforms.

“Our intent is for when the genres and creative makes sense in both spaces, we’ll put our games in both spaces. I don’t want to make it some kind of artificial mandate because then I think we end up with a ‘Frankengame’ that really wasn’t meant for a certain platform. And because some suit said, ‘Hey, everything’s gotta run on both platforms,’ you end up with something people don’t want.

Some games are best a couple feet back, and other games best “10 feet away from the screen with a controller in [your] hand…”

He also said that he’d “never force somebody in our games whose playing with a controller or a mouse and keyboard to play with somebody with a different control scheme. Mouse and keyboard rotation speed is faster than a controller. We know that – you’ll lose.” He also says, though, that he wants to let developers make that decision for themselves depending on what makes sense with their games.

As part of this, Spencer confirmed that mouse and keyboard controls will eventually work on Xbox One, something that’s been talked about previously, but in less committal terms. When this happens, it’s likely it’ll be on a game-by-game basis. It’s another potential pitfall, too. Keyboard and mouse players and controller players just can’t play together. Adding in this separate control scheme would mean fragmenting your playerbase in multiplayer games. On top of the way paid DLC and too many modes can already do that, separate player lists for different controls could make it painfully difficult to find a game.

Regardless, it’s an intriguing path for the system, and yet more proof that Microsoft is hungry to give fans what they want.

Eric Frederiksen

Eric Frederiksen has been a gamer since someone made the mistake of letting him play their Nintendo many years ago, pushing him to beg for his own,...