Recently Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan revealed that Blizzard is in discussion with Microsoft and Sony to bring mouse and keyboard support to consoles. Now, Xbox boss Phil Spencer has come forward to voice his opinion on the matter.
Clearly in some cases M&K is an advantage. I'm a fan of giving the tools to studios and they'll do what's best for their games.
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) February 7, 2017
I personally am not a fan of this statement from Phil Spencer. As the head of Xbox, I would like to think that balance and fairness in online multiplayer on the Xbox is something that is of concern to Phil Spencer. However, this statement seems like Xbox are attempting to shift responsibility for any advantages that come with playing mouse and keyboard on console. By placing the tools for this support in the hands of studios, and allowing them to “do what’s best for their games” Xbox can essentially shift responsibility away from themselves.
Should the game become unbalanced in favour of those using mouse and keyboard on console Xbox can simply state that, by allowing studios to do what is best for their game, the decision (and therefore the responsibility for the unbalance) lies with the studio. Not Xbox. As the head of Xbox it is Phil Spencer’s job to see that his family of consoles give their customer’s the best possible experience while gaming. To publicly come forward and attempt to lay the groundwork for a shift of responsibility should anything go wrong doesn’t sit well with me.
With this statement, Phil Spencer now has a win-win situation on his hands. Either mouse and keyboard support on console is a hit, and everyone loves it and Xbox can begin production of Xbox branded mouse and keyboards they know us gamers will buy. Or mouse and keyboard fails, and Phil Spencer simply places the responsibility with the studios and says that they were given the tools to “do what’s best for their games”.