There’s no doubting the advantage keyboard and mouse players have over controller players in first-person shooters, and this generally tends to push more hardcore and competitive players to the PC equivalent of a big-name release.
Overwatch certainly fits in that category, with the PC version being both the lead platform and most popular version of the game (not to mention used in pro gaming tournaments).
It’s still an immensely popular game on console, however, with strong Xbox One and PS4 fanbases keeping the lobbies full almost a year after release.
All platforms face issues with hackers and cheating devices, but console players face the issue of potentially playing against keyboard and mouse users, such is the effectiveness and ease of purchasing converters and officially licensed products.
The HORI-manufactured Tactical Assault Commander Pro Keypad and Mouse for PS4 will set you back more than $300, and while the number of players using such a device would be small, Blizzard still has concerns.
Speaking on the Battle.net forums, Overwatch game director, Jeff Kaplan, said the development team didn’t like the use of such devices on console.
“The Overwatch team objects to the use of mouse and keyboard on console,” he said.
Interestingly, using such a device isn’t a bannable defense — not that it should be — despite the improved accuracy it causes for the player. It’s clear that such a device would offer a substantial boost to precision aiming, certainly better than what’s capable with a controller.
That would unbalance the competitive nature of the game according to Kaplan, and he’s expressed his disapproval.
“We have contacted both first-party console manufacturers and expressed our concern about the use of mouse and keyboard and input conversion devices,” he said.
Ideally, Blizzard would like to see console manufacturers either diasallow mouse and keyboard all together — as well as input conversion devices — or, alternatively, openly and easily support mouse and keyboard for all players.
The PS4’s Keypad and Mouse are official PlayStation products, so the chances of Sony flat-out making it disallowed are very slim.
“I encourage you to reach out to the hardware manufacturers and express your concerns,” Kaplan said, hinting that Blizzard has its hands tied without the support of the console manufacturers. “But please do so in a productive and respectful way.”
The Xbox One doesn’t currently support keyboard and mouse, but company boss, Phil Spencer, hinted recently that it could yet come in the future.
@ryan89778 It won’t be there at launch but this is support we’d like to add as it comes to the Xbox platform.
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) January 30, 2017