In March of this year, Microsoft Flight Simulator Chief Jorg Neumann revealed during a developer Q&A that keyboard and mouse support could be coming to Xbox Cloud Gaming this summer.
“The next step for us is mouse [and] keyboard… This is platform level support so it has nothing to do with us. Obviously mouse and keyboard work for our sim. So the platform team is working on this. I know I can’t give a date because it’s the platform team. I don’t know their dates, but it’s coming.”
Now, Microsoft officially announced on Tuesday that keyboard and mouse support will be coming to Xbox Cloud Gaming (xCloud) users on PC in the near future.
Morgan Brown, a software engineer with Microsoft’s Xbox game streaming team, revealed at XFest 2022 aimed at developers that their team is working on adding keyboard/mouse input support on Xbox Cloud Gaming for PC game streaming users.
He encouraged game developers to support the additional input method for Xbox games streamed to PC. While Xbox consoles already support mouse and keyboard, it’s up to developers to enable it in their games.
“Not everyone knows, Xbox has been supporting keyboard and mouse for a few years now, and we’re working on adding it to streaming for PC users, but you can add it to your game right now and your console keyboard and mouse users will appreciate it. It will light up during streaming when we’re done adding,” said Brown.
Currently, Xbox Cloud Gaming allows you to stream a selection of games to your PC. However, you need to buy a compatible controller like Xbox Series X or the PS4 DualShock 4 before you can play any of the Xbox games on PC.
Once the keyboard/mouse feature is implemented, Xbox Cloud Gaming users on PC will be able to play cloud-streamed games using mouse and keyboard, or at least for those Xbox games that support it.
This will be especially useful when Microsoft expands its xCloud game library sometime later this year.
In addition, Microsoft is also offering developers more ways to improve streaming latency in their games, such as improvements to the ‘Direct Capture’ tool, which reduces latency from up to 74 ms to just 12 ms.
Direct recording only supports a maximum resolution of 1440p or 4K for the new Xbox TV app, but since xCloud is currently hitting 1080p, this shouldn’t be an issue.
“This is something that we expect to change over time, based on different devices, network conditions, and improvements in the streaming stack,” explains Brown. The tools will soon be made available to developers so they can test their games and learn how to support Direct Capture.