Microsoft SideWinder X4 keyboard gets 26-key anti-ghosting

Microsoft have outed their latest keyboard, and while the SideWinder X4 may not look all that distinctive compared to the rank and file of gaming 'boards, it has a few tricks that could potentially improve your kill rate.  The company have enlisted the help of their Applied Sciences Group to instil the X4 with "the industry's most advanced anti-ghosting technology", which allows it to individually recognize up to 26 button presses at once.

That's handy if you're mashing keys like nobody's business, trying to avoid being shot in the head (or trying to get the latest draft of your novel complete before your publisher sends round the heavies).  There are also recordable macros and switchable user profiles, together with adjustable key backlighting.

The Microsoft SideWinder X4 keyboard will arrive on shelves come March 2010, priced at $59.95.  Amazon will apparently start taking preorders later this week, and we imagine it won't be the only keyboard with the anti-ghosting tech that we see from Microsoft in the near future.

Press Release:

Ghost Buster: Microsoft's SideWinder X4 Keyboard Debuts Advanced Anti-Ghosting Technology

Newest innovation from the Applied Sciences Group gives gamers control of up to 26 keys at once.

REDMOND, Wash. — Feb. 1, 2010 — What gamers request most is better control in-game, and today Microsoft Hardware launches the SideWinder X4 Keyboard, a keyboard designed to give gamers more control over their gaming experience with the industry's most advanced anti-ghosting technology. Developed by the Applied Sciences Group, this new technology ensures gamers' most complex key combinations will be recognized by the computer to keep the game in action. The new keyboard also offers other advanced gaming features such as macro recording, mode and profile switching, and adjustable backlighting.

I Ain't Afraid of No Ghost

The Applied Sciences Group, an interdisciplinary research and development team that works across the Microsoft Entertainment & Devices Division doing applied research for Microsoft Hardware, Microsoft Surface and Xbox 360, developed the anti-ghosting technology with gamers in mind. The advanced technology takes anti-ghosting to the next level by allowing gamers to press up to 26 keys at once. Because each key is scanned independently by the keyboard hardware, each key press is correctly detected regardless of how many other keys are being pressed at the same time. The SideWinder X4 Keyboard excels where other keyboards fail, letting users execute key combinations and taking full advantage of their skill and speed.

"We're always looking for new and novel ways to enhance people's interactions with their PCs," said Steven Bathiche, research manager of the Applied Sciences Group at Microsoft. "We know that ghosting can be a problem for gamers, so we wanted to develop a way to eliminate this issue and improve the overall gaming experience, and we've succeeded with the new anti-ghosting technology in the SideWinder X4 Keyboard."

Precise Gaming Keyboard With Advanced Features

The SideWinder X4 Keyboard also offers more of the features gamers need to stay at the top of their game. Macro recording lets them string together multiple moves into one press of a button, and the new automatic macro repetition feature lets them repeat the macro over and over as needed with one key. Mode and profile switching also provides easy ways to customize the keyboard for different games and users while adjustable backlighting lets gamers select the lighting level that meets their needs.

Pricing and Availability

The SideWinder X4 Keyboard will be available in March 2010 for the estimated retail price of $59.95 (U.S)1 and will be available for pre-sale on later this week. The SideWinder X4 Keyboard is backed by a worldwide three-year limited hardware warranty, and more information about this and other Microsoft Hardware products can be found at

About Microsoft Hardware

For more than 26 years, the Hardware Group has employed innovative engineering, cutting-edge industrial design and extensive usability testing to create products of exceptional quality and durability that enhance the software experience and strengthen the connection between consumers and their PC. Microsoft Hardware leads the industry in ergonomic engineering, industrial design and hardware/software compatibility, offering consumers an easier, more convenient and more enjoyable computing experience. More information about the Hardware Group is available at

About the Microsoft Applied Sciences Group

The Applied Sciences Group (ASG) is an applied research and development team dedicated to creating the next generation of computer interaction technologies. The interdisciplinary group focuses on the synergy between optics, electronics and software to create novel human computer interfaces. The ASG is part of the Entertainment & Devices Division at Microsoft and mainly supports projects for Microsoft Hardware, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Surface. It also works closely with Microsoft Research.