We've seen higher-end gaming keyboards from both Logitech and Razer that claim to have solved the ghosting problem. Some more affordable keyboards even boast "selective anti-ghosting" on the WASD keys that many PC gamers use. Microsoft's new SideWinder X4 gaming keyboard may be the first to offer all-key anti-ghosting at an affordable price.
Ghosting, if you're unfamiliar, is the tendency for standard keyboards to lose track of key presses when you're already holding down another key. For gamers that perform lots of keyboard finger gymnastics, ghosting can be a problem. Previous solutions from Razer and Logitech have allowed between five and ten simultaneous key presses. The technology behind Microsoft's new SideWinder X4 allows you to press up to 26 keys at the same time.
Of course there's a limit to the number of keys you need to press at once in most gaming scenarios. And any experienced gamer likely uses macros to simplify most multi-key commands. Microsoft's Stevie Bathiche suggests, though, that the freedom to press so many keys at one time may free up alternative usage models. As Bathiche comes from Microsoft's Applied Sciences Group, the division behind Microsoft Surface, you can imagine he might have an opinion about finding different ways to interact with technology.
If the thrill of typing every letter of the alphabet at once isn't enough to sway you, the SideWinder X4's 2-millisecond response time may. Common keyboards response times range from 8 to 10 milliseconds, so between the anti-ghosting tech and the improved response, both gamers and touch-typists may find Microsoft's new keyboard appealing. The $59.99 price tag, less than Logitech's and Razer's anti-ghosting keyboards, won't hurt either when the SideWinder X4 goes on sale in March.