Incoming Xbox controller update could change the way you game

Time to ditch the mouse and keyboard?

An Xbox Elite controller
(Image credit: Getty)

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. 

Best gaming keyboards 2022: Colourful keyboard and hand on mouse

(Image credit: Axville

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.

Andy Sansom
Staff Writer

Andy is T3's Tech Staff Writer, covering all things technology, including his biggest passions such as gaming, AI, phones, and basically anything cool and expensive he can get his hands on. If he had to save one possession from a fire it would be his PlayStation 5. He previously worked for Tom’s Guide - where he got paid to play with ChatGPT every day. When it comes to streaming, Andy will have his headphones glued in whilst watching something that will make him laugh. He studied Creative Writing at university, but also enjoys supporting his favourite football team (Liverpool), watching F1, teaching himself guitar, and spending time with his dog.