The Xbox One X

We all knew that mouse and keyboard support was coming to Xbox One X, but now we've got a few more details about what that will actually look like for Microsoft's upcoming uber console, specifically in the department of multiplayer gaming. If some people are using a mouse and keyboard while others only have a controller, doesn't one side have an unfair advantage?

Over the weekend, Microsoft's Mike Ybarra took some time during PAX West (via Windows Central) to discuss mouse and keyboard support. The issue he was quick to bring up was multiplayer gaming, which he said Microsoft is encouraging developers to pay extra-special attention to.

And so, when we bring keyboard and mouse, we'll coach developers and say 'look, you've got to think about your multiplayer pools; if you have a competitive game, people are probably going to want the choice to say I'll play with other keyboard and mouse people or I'll play only with controller people, or that I'll play with any of those.'

This all comes from an argument about as old as gaming itself: Whether or not mouse and keyboard is superior to controller. The simple answer is yes. Look, I definitely prefer a controller these days, but those hunks of plastic simply can't provide the speed or degree of accuracy offered by a mouse. They just can't.

If that wasn't a fact, then this wouldn't even be an issue worth discussing. But since Microsoft is worried about it, it at least shows some forward thinking in regards to keeping the playing field nice and even. No matter what camp you fall in, Microsoft wants you to be able to play the game the way you're most comfortable. If you don't want to worry about those mouse and keyboard folks, Ybarra is saying he'd like it if Sledgehammer made it so controller-only play was available in Call of Duty: WWII. Similarly, if you only want to play with the mouse and keyboard crowd, then he's hoping Bungie will create ways for Destiny 2 players to do exactly that. If you could not care less, then maybe the next Gears of War will offer mixed rooms, too.

While this is certainly what we would call inclusive, it's not without its flaws. The market for online multiplayer games is becoming increasingly crowded, with a new shooter, MOBA, hybrid or something completely different popping up on a weekly basis to battle for each player's attention. That being the case, anything that can keep a community united (such as the free map updates in Titanfall 2) is only going to help said community last longer. Offering three different pools for players based on the way they want to control the game is only going to splinter a game's player base. Worse, if said game offers for-pay content like map packs, you're talking even more fragmentation.

It was good on Microsoft to take this into consideration, but we'll just have to wait and see what the developers, and the players, actually want.

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