A feature request years on the board, Xbox is finally meeting players remap keyboard shortcuts to controller buttons in a miraculous addition.
Via Xbox Wire, the new Xbox controller feature has finally arrived in the most recent Insider Preview Alpha Build. Only available to Alpha users, the software update lets you map any combination of keyboard keys onto a single controller button.
While there are some combination exceptions, users with either Xbox Elite Controller 2 or Xbox Adaptive Controllers will now be able to map shortcuts at will. Unfortunately, this level of customisation does not apply to standard Xbox controllers, although we hope it does in the future.
Customisation can be completed via the Xbox Accessories App. In the app, players will be able to use the “Configure” menu to assign buttons to keyboard combos. Under this menu, you can assign “Keys” to your buttons.
For Xbox games with keyboard support, such as Age of Empires, this is a genuinely game-changing feature for controller users and differently-asked gamers. At the time of writing, keyboard support is game specific, but a much larger number of games are including support in console releases.
Still in an early release, Xbox’s keyboard remapping tools are great accessibility tools for gamers. As a disabled gamer myself that can’t play on keyboard and mouse, this is brilliant to see.
If you want to give the new accessibility tool a shot, you’ll have to make sure you’re an Xbox Insider. To do this, you’ll have to download the Xbox Insider Hub on PC or console and apply to become an Insider.
Becoming an Insider is a very fast process, and you’ll be able to test new software features before anyone else. Of course, as Microsoft will warn you, this does mean you’ll be engaging in a buggier experience than the launch software, so please be careful what you try out.