Update: Xbox is tipped to launch new hardware this year and it could be a Cloud Gaming streaming stick.
Xbox Cloud Gaming, the selection of streamable games available to Game Pass subscribers, is about to get a whole lot better for PC gamers. Currently, Xbox Cloud Gaming titles only support gamepad and touch controls, but mouse and keyboard support is coming, it's been revealed.
During a community Q&A video spotted by our sister site Windows Central, Microsoft Flight Simulator Head Jorg Neumann announced that players wouldn’t have to make do with a gamepad when streaming the game for too much longer.
While the game supports mouse and keyboard when played on a PC, you need a pretty powerful one to run it, so those streaming from the cloud have had to make do with a more console-like experience. In fact, it’s more console-like than Xbox Series X, where you can already use a mouse and keyboard if you like.
Crucially, this is platform-level, meaning that any game on Xbox Cloud Gaming could add in support for mouse and keyboard, though obviously it makes more sense for PC-native titles that were already built for it.
“This is a platform level support, so it has nothing to do with us, obviously mouse/keyboard works for our sim,” Neumann explained. “So the platform team is working on this, and no I can’t give a date because it’s the platform team.”
Despite seemingly closing off discussion of a release date, he did offer a more specific window later on. “I would say it’s in the next months, it’s not weeks, and it might be... I’m hoping it will be done by June or so, but I can’t ever tell. Everybody wants it, I want it, and so... it’s coming.”
While the event was all about Flight Simulator, the wider implications of mouse and keyboard support for Xbox Cloud Gaming are exciting. Not only would it mean you could play Halo Infinite on your tablet with PC-style controls, but it could open the door for more traditional PC games anywhere and on anything with a screen. Without the gamepad-only barrier in place, maybe we could see Age of Empires IV coming to the cloud, opening up a whole new audience for the game?
Of course, Xbox Cloud Gaming’s main strength is the flexibility of controls, and while you can connect a gamepad, you can also use touch controls on mobile and tablet too. And that’s something Flight Simulator may also embrace soon. “The gyro is actually very good — you can get yourself more into the experience of flying a plane,” Neumann said.