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Consoles

Microsoft and Razer team up for Xbox One keyboard and mouse, report says

Yes, please, now.

Ian Knighton/CNET

Microsoft spoke to developers earlier this year about keyboard and mouse support for its Xbox One family of consoles, and details have recently emerged about what that support may look like -- heavily highlighting products by gaming "lifestyle" company Razer. That means Chroma everywhere. Light it up!

The presentation fell into the hands of Windows Central, detailing what the programming interface (API) for the support looks like and potential concerns -- particularly the potential to change gameplay balance between keyboard-and-mouse and controller users in multiplayer games and ways to counter it. The recommended solution is matchmaking only between similar controls and monitoring it throughout the game.

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Windows Central

The API -- which is the much same as the mouse API on Windows 10 -- only supports USB and dongle-wireless mice, not those which connect by Bluetooth or use custom drivers. A Bluetooth mouse makes no sense in this case, anyway. 

Both Microsoft and Razer declined to comment.

Microsoft initially announced its plans to bring a keyboard and mouse to the Xbox in 2015, and clearly we haven't seen it yet. But Microsoft didn't begin merging Windows 10 into the Xbox One until 2016, which was probably a necessary strategic first step in that direction. 

The company recently ate its words about bringing VR and mixed reality to the Xbox One, despite promising another generation in the console family in 2020. But I wouldn't be surprised if that console doubled as a PC, which could be one reason for the sudden reappearance of the keyboard and mouse support. And if that's true, it would support VR and MR by default.

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Given how much Xbox sales lag Sony's PlayStation, Microsoft wouldn't have much to lose with this approach and a lot to gain: You'd be able to play all PC games in addition to Xbox games, as well as stream them from cloud services on a single device. (Though Microsoft might prioritize its Xbox Game Pass service or Xbox Play Anywhere options and block other services.) It might also explain Microsoft's deemphasizing exclusives at this year's E3.

Plus, it would give a reason to buy an Xbox for those of us who suck at playing via controllers. But while there are keyboard and mouse sets designed for couch operation, they're still kind of awkward.

Razer as a launch partner makes sense as well. It has a loyal fan base who are pretty likely to follow it into the Xbox fold. Especially if there's an Xbox One Razer edition with the illuminated triple-headed snake and a custom chassis. And it would look awesome with the Razer Nommo speakers.

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