Of Mice and Pixels: Mouse and Keyboard Support on Consoles

We all have strong opinions about which control scheme we prefer for games. Some of us are staunch defenders of mouse and keyboard, heralding it as the superior, most accurate way to play. Some of us prefer the ease of use of a controller, where accuracy isn’t as important as general ease of use (I fall into the latter category for most games). And then there’s a small handful that thinks touchscreen controls are great (you’re wrong and you should feel bad, but who am I to stop you?) In the past, these control schemes have all been separate experiences, confined to a singular platform. Now, however, we’re starting to see keyboard and mouse support come to consoles. The PlayStation 4 has supported them for some time but didn’t make a big deal out of it. Microsoft recently made a big splash by finally announcing support would be coming to the Xbox One. They made such a big deal about it they partnered with Razer to make the first keyboard and mouse designed from the ground up for consoles, which is probably just going to be an upgraded and redesigned Razer Turret (please?).

I’m a huge fan of The Sims (like, huge) and was super excited to play the Sims 4 on Xbox One. I’m aware that the Sims’ history on consoles is kind of terrible (read: abysmal), but I had convinced myself that after so many failed attempts to get the sims to make the jump to consoles, EA would finally have gotten it right with the Sims 4. And they did. Kinda. Instead of making a game from the ground up that had a ton of limitations compared to the PC version, they went with a straight port, which was great. The only problem was that they had to concoct a weird control scheme that can only be described as “downright fucking terrible” (pardon my french). I gave it an honest shot. Really, I did. I tried and I tried, but I just couldn’t get past the control scheme. It now sits on my shelf collecting dust, never to be played again. Or at least, that was the plan until Maxis announced mouse and keyboard support is in the works for the Sims 4 on consoles, which means it might finally be playable.

Unfortunately, that support has not yet arrived and likely won’t for some time, so it’s too early to say whether it will work as I’m hoping it will. That being said, I’m excited by all the new possibilities this will bring to consoles. Certain genres have never fared well with a controller, and it’s exciting that we may finally be able to play some of those games on more than just a PC, which would help broaden the reach of those games considerably. I don’t know about you, but I would LOVE to play RollerCoaster Tycoon on my Xbox (not the new ones. I’m not psychotic. I meant the good ones before the series went completely off the rails. Pun intended). And there are many Xbox one games that would benefit from the addition of mouse and keyboard, some of which created clunky controls just to work on the console (like the aforementioned Sims 4). While it’s too early to tell how successful this new method of interacting with the Xbox will be, it’s pretty evident that the console has a bright, bright future ahead of it.

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