The newest Microsoft Flight Simulator is one of the most demanding games ever made — and yet you can now play it on a shitty PC (or an original Xbox One) with the power of Microsoft’s cloud. There’s just one big hole: you can’t play currently play Xbox with a mouse and keyboard because Xbox Cloud Gaming only supports gamepads (and touch) for now. But according to Microsoft Flight Simulator boss Jorg Neumann, that’s about to change: mouse and keyboard control is coming.
Neumann spilled the beans in a Flight Simulator video Q&A (via Windows Central), where he says it will be platform-level support, meaning, theoretically, any Xbox cloud game could offer mouse and keyboard control. Here’s my transcript of the most relevant part:
This is a platform level support, so it has nothing to do with us, obviously mouse/keyboard works for our sim. So the platform team is working on this, and no I can’t give a date because it’s the platform team. I don’t know their dates, but it’s coming, and we are also talking about making touch work.
While he’s not sure when it’s coming, Neumann suggests we might see it as soon as this summer:
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.
He also suggests that Flight Simulator might support touch and even gyro control so you can tilt to fly when you’re playing on, say, a phone. “The gyro is actually very good — you can get yourself more into the experience of flying a plane,” he says.
Xbox PR didn’t deny to The Verge that mouse and keyboard’s on the way. Here’s some info via spokesperson Adam Pannel:
At launch, “Microsoft Flight Simulator” supports standard controller inputs for cloud gaming. The team is experimenting with touch/gyro and is excited to embrace M&K once it’s available on the platform but we have no specific announcements or timing to share at this time.
Me, I’m excited by the idea of playing Halo Infinite on the go with mouse and keyboard control like I do at my home PC and possibly via the Steam Deck as well. At review time, Xbox Cloud Gaming didn’t work at all on the Steam Deck because web browsers didn’t properly detect its gamepad, but I was able to trick Google Stadia into working since that cloud service does support mouse and keyboard — and the Steam Deck can easily emulate a keyboard and mouse. It’s also got a gyro, for that matter.
With Microsoft’s Activision buy and focus on building out Xbox as a service, it’s going to be interesting to see how much Microsoft invests in cloud gaming, particularly if it’s true that Google has deemphasized its rival.
Update, 8:39PM ET: Added info from Xbox PR.