Microsoft have been going back and forth with announcements of official keyboard and mouse support for Xbox for quite a while and now the company says that while they won't go as far as to disable any sort of support for the feature, they'd prefer to let devs handle their own games the way they see fit.
Ybarra stressed that the APIs for enabling or disabling the feature are already in place, so it's not like they company weren't playing with it. At the moment though, you'll need adapters to work around the issue and it can only get messier, so this actually may be a wise move by Microsoft.
Developers have the choice to use APIs that detect and not allow these. It’s up to them, but the capability is there. https://t.co/jE97R6oj0c— Mike Ybarra (@XboxQwik) February 18, 2018
Now, let's face it - this is nothing but a console vs. PC debate waiting to happen, and since these have ruined many a thread, video and post, seemingly with no end in sight, let's stick to dry facts . Namely, consoles rely on gamepads and, even though these may shine in some titles, they're absolute rubbish in first person shooters.
Anyone who's ever been subjected to the clunky and awkward experience of "gamepadding" his way around an FPS title knows what we're talking about here. Trying to take on the most mediocre of PC FPS players with a gamepad wouldn't just be difficult - it's next to impossible.
We could but there are helpful scenarios with these devices (accessibility for one). Our general approach is to empower the developer to manage their game how they want.— Mike Ybarra (@XboxQwik) February 18, 2018
Indeed, this feature and this feature alone is enough to dismiss any notion of remotely fair cross-platform play and that's the core of the problem. If Microsoft add keyboards and mice, so as to level the playing field with PC players, they will have created yet another unfair playing field, this time around on their own, Xbox turf. If they decide otherwise, or ban the feature altogether, they'll be vilified - so in this case, Microsoft really seems to have made the right choice.
There were bound to be troubles with building a bridge between Windows and Xbox for Microsoft's Play Anywhere scheme. It may be convenient for an isolated player to switch between devices, but when you factor in that there will be several million players cross-platforming and cross-inputing on the service, it becomes hard to ignore the appearance of the current solution as little more than a band-aid.