Traditionally, gamepads are for consoles, while keyboards and mice are associated with PC gaming. Today, these boundaries are blurred on the PC, where using a gamepad is normal and even expected. But what about using a keyboard and mouse on a gaming console? It’s both simple and a little complicated, but let’s explain.
Why use a mouse and keyboard with a game console?
The main reason to use a mouse and/or keyboard with your console is because certain game genres handle them better. Good examples include first-person shooters such as Call of Duty or Battlefield. Because the computer mouse provides precise aiming, it is a devastating FPS (First Person Shooter) gaming tool.
Real-time strategy games are also ideal candidates for mouse-based games. Having a pointer to select or drag units and issue commands is much more practical than using a gamepad.
MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing games) benefit greatly from a keyboard, as the player often needs to use dozens of key combinations to play effectively.
Which consoles support keyboard and mouse?
Keyboard and mouse support on consoles is not new. For example, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and PlayStation 1 had official mice! In modern terms, there is only a short list of consoles that are relevant to this question:
- Nintendo Switch (keyboard only)
- PlayStation 4
- PlayStation 5
- Xbox One
- Xbox Series X/S
All of these consoles support USB keyboards and mice, except for the Switch, which only supports keyboards. Additionally, Bluetooth keyboard and mouse support exists on PS4 and PS5. However, based on Reddit user threads sharing their experiences, not every keyboard and mouse works. So before you spend money, it’s a good idea to check if a particular Bluetooth mouse or keyboard is compatible.
As for the Xbox One and Xbox Series consoles, neither support Bluetooth, so you’ll have to stick with wired options. Finally, the Switch doesn’t support Bluetooth at all.
How to use a keyboard and mouse with the console
Using a keyboard and mouse with a console is almost as easy as using a computer. All you have to do is plug your peripherals into a free USB port and the console will detect them. They can then be used with any utility.
For Bluetooth peripherals, you connect them the same way you connect a Bluetooth headset or other Bluetooth device. Since only the PS4 and PS5 support Bluetooth peripherals, we’ll walk through their steps. The screenshots in question are for the PlayStation 5.
- For PS4 and PS5, go to the page Settings.
- Then go to Devices (PS4) or Accessories (PS5).
- Select Bluetooth devices (PS4) or Bluetooth Accessories (PS5).
- Put the keyboard and mouse into pairing mode and select them when they appear on the PS4 screen.
Unfortunately, the mouse we tested over Bluetooth gave us this message on the PS5.
Your mileage may vary, but if it’s a mouse or keyboard you already have, it doesn’t hurt to give it a try!
Which games support keyboard and mouse on the console?
The list of supported games when it comes to mouse and keyboard is relatively short. Each console mentioned above has a limited selection of games that will work with a keyboard and mouse. However, there are more than can be listed here, especially if we are considering multiple consoles. As such, we’ll highlight some of the more notable titles that would most benefit from keyboard and mouse support.
If you’re an Xbox One owner, these titles natively support mouse and keyboard:
These games work especially well with a mouse and keyboard on Xbox One. Also remember that Xbox Series X and S consoles are backwards compatible with Xbox One games. So this list applies there as well, as well as the next-gen remastered versions of the above games.
If you have a PlayStation 4, these are great games with mouse and keyboard support:
The options on PS4 with built-in support are much more limited than on Xbox One. However, we expect more games to be added to the list over time.
Since the Switch only supports USB keyboards, you won’t be able to play first-person shooters with a mouse on the Switch anytime soon. Unfortunately, we have not been able to get reliable information about Switch games that work with a standard wired USB keyboard. So, if you don’t struggle with typing, getting a Switch keyboard doesn’t seem worth it.
What else can you use a mouse and keyboard on a console for?
Connecting a keyboard to a console is not just about playing games with it. Typing with a gamepad has always been a chore. Having a keyboard makes typing easier. These days, thanks to the integration between consoles and social networks, you often have to enter a message for the content you share from the console.
For consoles with built-in browsers, a mouse and keyboard also make the experience similar to using a traditional computer to browse the web. Again, it’s not a PC replacement, but it’s a good way to give your console an HTPC (home theater personal computer) feel.
Using the keyboard and mouse in unsupported games
Since so few games support mouse and keyboard on consoles, you might think it’s not worth trying. However, there are ways to use the keyboard and mouse in games that don’t support them.
You need a special console adapter for mouse and keyboard. These devices trick the console into thinking you have a gamepad connected. The adapter then converts mouse and keyboard commands into gamepad commands. It’s not exactly like using a mouse, but it’s a lot closer than using a gamepad. So you can play almost any first-person shooter game with a mouse. It won’t be particularly useful for games that use a mouse cursor designed for a gamepad, but it can work well for first-person and third-person shooters.
While not relevant to singleplayer, using these adapters is widely considered a form of cheating. This can provide a competitive advantage in some games. Because the console thinks it has a controller attached, these adapters are usually not detected by anti-fraud systems. Use these adapters at your own risk!