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Microsoft is finally bringing keyboard and mouse support to Xbox Cloud Gaming titles

Of course Fortnite is one of the first games in the mix.

Photo by Axville on Unsplash

It's taken much longer than expected but Microsoft is finally bringing keyboard and mouse (KBM) support to certain Xbox Cloud Gaming titles. We first heard that the company planned to do so in March 2022 and it was suggested that the option might be available by that June, but evidently that did not happen. It's only now that Microsoft is starting to let testers on the Alpha Skip-Ahead ring check out KBM functions on web browsers (Edge and Chrome) and the Xbox PC app. The feature should be available more broadly soon.

To try out the KBM support, you'll need to be a Game Pass Ultimate subscriber (unless you want to check it out on Fortnite, which is totally free to play via Xbox Cloud Gaming). You'll also need to enroll in the PC Gaming Preview program. If you're testing out KBM support on a web browser, there's one more step — you'll have to switch on Preview features on your browser. To do that, click on your profile picture at xbox.com/play, select Settings and then turn on “Preview features.”

Some supported games might still show controller elements on screen at first. You might be prompted to press A to start the game or some such. However, the game should switch to the KBM user interface as soon as you move the cursor or press a button. On browsers, KBM will only work when you're playing in full screen mode and you've clicked on the game stream for it to recognize your mouse input. You can exit KBM use by pressing F9 or hold the ESC button to leave full-screen mode.

The first Xbox Cloud Gaming titles to gain KBM support are Fortnite (browsers only), Ark Survival Evolved, Sea of Thieves, Grounded, Halo Infinite, Atomic Heart, Sniper Elite 5, Deep Rock Galactic, High on Life, Zombie Army 4 Dead War, Gears Tactics, Pentiment, Doom 64 and Age of Empires 2. There is a known issue for Atomic Heart at the minute. Microsoft notes that there's some difficulty switching between a controller and KBM while streaming that game.

This is a welcome update, especially for those who want to play first-person shooters with a KBM setup but don't have a PC with enough oomph to run current games natively. It's a good step forward for accessibility too. Xbox's cloud gaming tech is pretty solid, but here's hoping it can keep up with Fortnite players who can build elaborate structures in nanoseconds.