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January 2, 2007

Xbox360- Plug Your Mouse And Keyboard Into Your 360!

Filed under: Xbox360 — Ramajay @ 7:56 am

xcm-xfps.JPGPC Gamers have long lamented that the imprecise gamepad controls makes First Person Shooters a great chore to play on consoles. Developers have recognised that the little thumbsticks aren’t the best at lining up a shot and usually program ‘soft lock’ zones where your targeting cursor ‘sticks’ to the target once you move it close to the edges of the target. This helps you keep aim on an enemy as you move around. Some games simply have an Auto Target Lock feature where you can cycle between targets and all your bullets will go toward the target you have locked up.

Still, despite these nods to usability of the traditional game controller, nothing can beat the precision of a mouse for aiming. Well, nothing that is until the Wii Motion Sensing Remotes came along. That is definitely the most precise method of aiming: point and shoot. Nothing like that exists on any other console though, so we fall back to the tried and true PC mouse.

Attempts have been made in the past to connect a mouse and keyboard to the Xbox, but the hardware wasn’t good enough to adjust sensitivity etc. and actually made some games more difficult or controls sluggish. Now, however, we apparently have a viable option!

The XCM XFPS 360! (Clearly have no concept at all about marketing and branding 😉 ) . This YouTube video shows how easy it is to setup the keyboard to mimic gamecontroller button presses. Early reviews suggest that this piece of hardware works well, and maintains the range of motion and sensitivity of the mouse in First Person Shooters on the Xbox360.  They also boast that you can plug in the PS2 Racing Wheel and use it on the Xbox360 as well, but we haven’t seen any reviews of this functionality yet. The best Racing Wheel created thus far has been the Logitech Driving Force Pro, now eclipsed by the Logitech G25. These wheels feature 900 degrees of lock. Similar to a real car you have full range of motion, about 2 turns of the wheel from full left lock to full right lock (Go sit in your car and turn the wheel all the way to the left, then all the way to the right and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Most gaming wheels don’t do that, they don’t even rotate a full circle) and as you might expect this makes control a heck of a lot better. I’ll be trying to get my hands on this device soon to see how it works out and I’ll be certain to post the results to this blog.

Not everyone is pleased by the introduction of the XCM, though. The complaint is that the XCM XFPS will give those who use it an unfair advantage in online gaming. To this I have the following responses:

  1. Only a current PC Gamer will be familiar enough with a mouse and keyboard where this device will make much of a difference. Anyone who is accustomed to, or only uses, a console gamepad will have a long learning curve to adjust to the sensitivity etc. and may actually do worse than with a game controller. This device, therefore, will not automatically make anyone a fantastic player.
  2. This device is not a ‘cheat’. All arguments to the contrary fail when one considers a racing wheel. You can buy racing wheels for your PC, PS2, Xbox, XBox360. It gives you better control over your car in racing games. Are people that purchase Racing Wheels ‘cheating’ ? No, of course they aren’t. Then you can explore this further by examining the different types of racing wheels out there, and their quality. Someone with the aforementioned Logitech Driving Force has a far better experience and control than someone using a lesser wheel, or a game controller. Individuals claiming the device is a ‘cheat’ should therefore be similarly incensed at the sale of Racing Wheels, but of course they aren’t. For that matter, are people that purchase a High Definition Television ‘cheating’, since their visual fidelity is going to be much, much higher than someone who is trying to snipe a distant target on a Standard Television. The use of High Definition gives you a huge advantage in First Person Shooters for long range shots where pixels matter (are you shooting the rock, or the top of the person’s head?) . I could go on with other real-world examples such as the Track-IR but I think this proves my point.
  3. The environment needed to properly use a keyboard and mouse with your Xbox360 is not the common console gaming environment. The vast majority of individuals have their Xbox360 in their living room, and sit on the sofa or floor to play. It is near impossible to use a keyboard and mouse setup properly while sitting on the sofa. Therefore this device will actually appeal to a minority of Xbox360 users: Those who somehow have their 360 setup close to a desk. I’m one of those people, with the 360 sitting on my computer desk connected via the VGA Adapter to my 24″ monitor so that I can experience all my games in High Definition.

 Personally I believe, the 360 should have shipped with this functionality out the box. Of course, we don’t know if in some future update Microsoft will disable the XCM XFPS if they deem it some sort of advantage. Hopefully they won’t do that. I really want to try that G25 with Forza Motorsports  😉 .

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7 Comments

  1. An update to this story is it didn’t work as advertised. Mouse sensitivity was all over the place and it was sometimes more difficult to control the game with the mouse attached to this unit than with the controller.

    Comment by Ramajay — May 30, 2007 @ 7:01 am

  2. well i just want to b able to plug in a keyboard so i can type fast on mesager on my 360. Does any keyboard work on this thing? And also why so expensive i will just by the texting keypad….

    Comment by Ryan — May 2, 2008 @ 11:08 am

    • Yes, you can. If it is a USB keyboard, it should work. My USB keyboard works for me!

      Comment by Wade — May 18, 2010 @ 5:48 pm

  3. Can you not chage the mouse sensitivity on it?

    Comment by Ryan — May 2, 2008 @ 11:09 am

  4. just wanna ask if u have tried using the logitech wheel on the xfps?

    Comment by Denny — September 22, 2008 @ 2:42 am

  5. I bought this device when it first became available in the market. Do not bother. You cannot bypass the technological limitations Microsoft and Game vendors have put in place (which could be easily removed if they so wanted). Gamepads’s sticks send to the console/game two prices of information 1. direction and 2. rate of movement. Mice sends 1. direction and 2. Amount of movement as a finite number of pixels each time you move the mouse. Thus the reason for the advantage. The mouse gives you more precise movement/aim. This device is nothing more than a translator from the better technology to the lesser technology (when it comes to FPS). It will never be same. Until both Microsoft enables mouse support (they already support USB keyboards for typing) and game developers include it as a valid control device (PS3 hardware is designed to do that but only UT3 uses it, all other game companies have chosen not to implement it) we are out of luck. Close minded old timers are putting pressure, holding the rest of us back. Nothing new.

    Comment by BroncoPHT — February 6, 2009 @ 1:06 pm

  6. my computer desk is of a metal and wood construction, this seems to be very sturdy and it can hold 20 inch montier -:”

    Comment by Mirror Tiles · — November 13, 2010 @ 5:15 pm


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