Microsoft has worked hard to make the Xbox One more than just a video game console. By emphasizing the Xbox One as a true multimedia machine integrating gaming, video streaming, web browsing and more, its only natural that the Xbox One would support a traditional input method like a keyboard and mouse. The idea of using a keyboard and mouse with a home console may seem bizarre to some, but it actually makes a lot of sense. Inputting text would be a lot easier, as would navigating the UI and menus.
Additionally, Microsoft is actively exploring crossplay which would allow Xbox One users to play online mulitplayer games with PC users. Players using a keyboard and mouse are generally seen as having an unfair advantage over those using a traditional controller. Therefore, it only makes sense that Microsoft would allow players to use a keyboard and mouse with their Xbox One. Despite the fact that the Xbox One is essentially a Windows machine, keyboard and mouse support has been slow-going. That being said, it is available via a few different methods.
Connecting a Keyboard and Mouse
Both wireless and wired USB devices are compatible with the Xbox One. Xbox One owners can start using a USB keyboard and mouse by simply plugging them into a free USB port on the console. The Xbox One will automatically recognize the devices and can be used straight away. Unfortunately, using third-party Bluetooth keyboards and mice is not possible with the Xbox One.
A USB keyboard (wired or wireless) can be used to enter text and navigate various menus. The table below outlines the keyboard inputs and their corresponding controller functions.
|Function||Controller input||Keyboard key|
|Move to next element||N/A||Tab|
|Move to previous element||N/A||Shift+Tab|
|Open the guide||Xbox button||Windows button|
|Open menu||Menu button||Win+M|
|Change view||View button||Win+V|
|Up||Left stick up , D-pad up||Up arrow|
|Down||Left stick down, D-pad down||Down arrow|
|Left||Left stick left, D-pad left||Left arrow|
|Right||Left stick right, D-pad right||Right arrow|
Limitations of Using a Keyboard and Mouse
While Microsoft seems more receptive about letting Xbox One owners use a keyboard and mouse, compatibility really depends on the developer. Text input can be achieved via the keyboard in most games and apps; however, the same cannot be said about the mouse.
Curiously, some apps that lend themselves to mouse navigation have the feature disabled, like the Edge web browser. This forces owners to use the Xbox One controller to control the on-screen pointer, which is awkward and cumbersome. With a new Chromium-based Edge web browser on the horizon, hopefully Microsoft will fix this problem.
On apps that do have mouse support, users can configure their mouse by navigating to “Settings -> Kinect and devices.” Here, users can change the mouse pointer speed and swap the primary and secondary buttons.
Earlier this year Razer, the company known primarily for PC gaming peripherals, announced they had partnered with Microsoft to create a wireless mouse and keyboard setup for the Xbox One, dubbed the Turret. The keyboard and mouse combo will feature a dedicated Xbox key that allows users to access the Xbox One dashboard. In addition, the Razer Turret will feature Xbox dynamic lighting and a mousepad that slides out from underneath the keyboard.
The Razer Turret is an impressive device and the first truly wireless keyboard and mouse designed specifically for gaming on the Xbox One. Unfortunately, the Razer Turret will set you back quite a bit. At the time of this writing, the unit is retailing for $250.
Games that Support Keyboard and Mouse
While Sony’s Playstation 4 also supports a keyboard and mouse, the number of games that officially support them is bare bones. The Xbox One, on the other hand, has a much healthier list of twenty-two games that officially support keyboard and mouse controls. Currently, the list of games that support a keyboard and mouse are as follows:
- Bomber Crew
- Children of Morta
- Deep Rock Galactic
- Gears of War 5
- Gears Tactics
- Minion Masters
- Sea of Thieves
- The Sims 4
- Strange Brigade
- Surviving Mars
- War Thunder
- Warhammer: Vermintide 2
- X-Morph: Defense
Microsoft is pledging that this list will continue to grow, so gamers can expect more titles in the future. In addition, expect to see keyboard and mouse support for more Triple A titles.
Play Any Game with a Keyboard and Mouse
As was mentioned before, keyboard and mouse support is only available if the developer allows it – at least officially. Fortunately, there are ways to get around this. Third-party products like the XIM Apex Controller Adapter allow you to use a keyboard and mouse with any game by essentially tricking the Xbox One into thinking they are a controller. However, the XIM Apex comes with a steep price tag at $125. There are some cheaper options available; however, the XIM Apex consistently gets the best consumer reviews.