There has long been a stigma in PC gaming about using a controller when mouse and keyboard is an option. The Xbox Elite Controller and Sony's Dualsense Edge showed that controllers could be serious gaming hardware, and Xbox is about to bring another upgrade to its gamepads.
Xbox insiders on the Alpha and Alpha-skip programmes are now able to map keyboard controls to the Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 or Xbox Adaptive Controller. This is likely to be a testing ground before the features reach the masses at a later date,
But why is an update like this such a big deal? Well considering the extra buttons on the Elite controller (found at the rear of the pad), and the accessibility focus of the Adaptive Controller, this update will allow them to play their favourite titles in a whole new way, or perhaps even for the first time.
It has been explained that the buttons on the controllers will be able to represent either a single key such as "S" or a combination of a single key and modifier for example "Ctrl + S", you could not have "Ctrl + S + A", for instance, mapped onto one button.
A lack of inputs compared to one of the best gaming keyboards has often been many gamers' concern with using a controller but this new update, coupled with the additional mappable buttons on the rear of the Xbox Elite Controller, could fix these concerns. There are of course some games such as shooters and real-time strategy titles (Think Age of Empires) that many will argue can never be played as effectively with a controller as a keyboard and mouse.
Xbox has stated that support for this functionality will fall to developers, so some titles will feature it fully, partially or not at all. Hopefully, with accessibility at the forefront of many people's minds, this will become common practice. Of course in some competitive titles where more than fun is at stake, there will need to be some limit on input customisation, no one wants an "I-win" button.
While Steam supports most of the best controllers, one of the most common ways to play PC games, Xbox Game Pass, doesn't support PlayStation pads. Some gamers may find a specific pad best for accessibility (and financial) needs so hopefully, this signals that restriction will change sometime soon.