Xbox Cloud Gaming, Microsoft’s cloud streaming service that comes bundled with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, will soon introduce support for keyboard and mouse, rather than requiring players to use select gamepads or touch controls on their mobile phones.
Speaking during a developer Q&A, Microsoft Flight Simulator head Jorg Nuemann revealed keyboard and mouse support will be coming to Xbox Cloud Gaming soon, possibly within the next few months (thanks, Windows Central).
“The next step for us is mouse-keyboard,” Neumann said when asked what other peripherals players will be able to use with the game through Xbox Cloud Gaming. “This is a platform-level support, so it has nothing to do with us, obviously mouse-keyboard works for our sim.
“So the platform team is working on this, and no I can’t give a date because it’s the platform team, I don’t know their dates. But it’s coming, and we are also talking about making touch work.
“I would say it’s in the next months, it’s not weeks. I’m hoping it will be done by June or so, but I can’t ever tell. Everybody wants it, I want it, and so it’s coming.”
Speaking to The Verge, a spokesperson for Microsoft confirmed mouse and keyboard support is on the way to the cloud streaming platform.
“At launch, Microsoft Flight Simulator supports standard controller inputs for cloud gaming,” the spokesperson said. “The team is experimenting with touch/gyro and is excited to embrace M&K once it’s available on the platform but we have no specific announcements or timing to share at this time.”
Currently, Xbox Cloud Gaming allows you to stream a selection of games to your PC, phone, tablet, or Xbox console. However, to play those games on PC, you need to connect a compatible controller - such as that of the Xbox Series X, or the PS4 DualShock 4 - while players using mobile phones can play with touch controls instead.
Analysis: a massive improvement
Mouse and keyboard support would be a massive addition to Xbox Cloud Gaming. As it currently stands, players streaming games to their PC can’t actually use their computer’s main peripheral with the service, having to source a compatible controller before they can play any of its games.
That’s a big turn-off for many PC players who are experienced with their keyboard and mouse but may run away in fear at the mere sight of an analog stick. The greater dexterity and motor control of a mouse can be a godsend in competitive multiplayer shooters like Halo Infinite or co-op FPS games such as Back 4 Blood.
While Xbox Game Pass already includes an impressive selection of games, mouse and keyboard support may also see an expansion of those available through its streaming wing. Many games currently aren’t included on the platform’s cloud service because they’re incompatible with controllers, such as Total War: Warhammer 3, Age of Empires IV, and other real-time strategy games.
More peripheral options is particularly good news for those with older PC rigs, and any player who hasn't been able to upgrade their hardware due to the global chip shortage. Cloud gaming gives players with even the most humble PCs access to the graphically impressive blockbuster games. With keyboard and mouse support, they might finally be able to play them.
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Callum is TechRadar Gaming’s News Writer. You’ll find him whipping up stories about all the latest happenings in the gaming world, as well as penning the odd feature and review. Before coming to TechRadar, he wrote freelance for various sites, including Clash, The Telegraph, and Gamesindustry.biz, and worked as a Staff Writer at Wargamer. Strategy games and RPGs are his bread and butter, but he’ll eat anything that spins a captivating narrative. He also loves tabletop games, and will happily chew your ear off about TTRPGs and board games.