Microsoft’s hardware group today released two peripherals aimed at PC gamers — a SideWinder-brand mouse and keyboard.
The keyboard has a new key that Microsoft’s calling “cruise control,” which sounds perfect for a lazy afternoon at the office.
When I inquired, a spokeswoman said it’s “a brand-new feature that lets gamers continue an action without having to hold down the key or keys assigned to the action.”
In other words, you can do things like assign the key to control a character’s running, so you press it and the player keeps running until you press it again. That way, you won’t have to hold down the “run” key all the time.
Microsoft’s press materials said you can use the cruise control key for up to four actions, “such as jumping, crouching or switching weapons.”
At first I thought this was an amazing response to the Wii Fit.
But that’s just the beginning. Imagine the possibilities beyond gaming. Office workers everywhere would surely pay $79.95 for a keyboard with cruise control.
Marketers could use the key to automatically churn out press releases (run, jump, crouch, fire …) and students could use it for essays. Teachers could hit the button to randomly grade papers, lawyers could use it for standard-issue briefs and reporters could use it to fill space in their blogs.
This could be bigger than the snooze button.
Here’s a picture. The “cruise control” button is on the upper left, above F2, and has a logo that looks like a person running: