Microsoft is working to bring mouse and keyboard integration to Xbox Cloud Gaming, with platform-level support currently in development for the service. The move will provide a new choice of devices for experiencing Xbox titles via cloud streaming, accompanying the existing touch controls prevalent among mobile users. It would also improve accessibility on platforms like Windows and macOS, where mice and keyboards are common accessories.
Xbox Cloud Gaming, formerly known as Xbox Project xCloud, has continued to grow since its 2019 trials, since launching with a native Android app, as well as a web app available for iOS and desktop computers. Microsoft also introduced Xbox console support in late 2021, later enabling Xbox Series X exclusives | S like Microsoft Flight Simulator moving to aging Xbox One consoles. Microsoft is now looking to add mouse and keyboard support to certain titles, according to recent comments from Microsoft Flight Simulator lead Jorg Neumann.
“The next step for us is the mouse [and] keyboard,” Neumann said in a recent community Q&A. “This is platform level support so it has nothing to do with us. Obviously mouse and keyboard are working for our sim. The platform team so working on that. I know I can’t give a date because it’s the platform team. I don’t know their dates, but it’s coming.” While Microsoft Flight Simulator currently supports mouse and keyboard on PC and Xbox consoles, the experience requires an Xbox gamepad when streaming through the cloud.
Mouse and keyboard support would provide a new option for cloud gaming, alongside existing alternatives aimed at phones. Microsoft has a growing list of touch-enabled titles, retuning custom on-screen touch inputs when streaming Xbox, mimicking native mobile games. The company has also experimented with gyroscope inputs, allowing users to control certain games by moving their phone. While Neumann hasn’t committed to a timeline, this is Microsoft’s first acknowledgment of its intention to support mouse and keyboard through the service.
Mouse and keyboard support would improve ease of access via the web, alleviating the need for a controller or any excess hardware on a PC. It’s also easy to look at Microsoft’s growing portfolio of PCs, including Windows exclusives like Age of Empires IV, with mouse and keyboard support dropping a key to bring those titles to the cloud.
Neumann also said that Microsoft Flight Simulator will get touch controls in the coming months, expressing interest in adding gyroscope support to mobiles. While the Flight Simulator lead stressed that timelines remain uncertain, the team hopes to debut in the future in the first half of 2022.