Prior to the release of Overwatch, Blizzard had promised fans that it will take drastic action against cheaters by banning them from the game. While Blizzard has held true to its promise by indeed banning cheaters and hackers – including over 20,000 South Korean players just last week – one aspect that the studio is unable to influence despite its objections is console players using mouse and keyboard devices in order to gain an advantage over everyone else.
In a new Blizzard Forums post regarding the clarification of whether using a mouse and keyboard on consoles constitutes as cheating, Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan has firmly stated that despite players being allowed to use these devices, the team “objects to the use of mouse and keyboard on console”. While using a mouse and keyboard on consoles isn’t technically cheating, Kaplan is aware that usage of these devices can offer up unfair advantages and revealed that Blizzard have “contacted both first-party console manufacturers and expressed [the Overwatch team’s] concern about the use of mouse and keyboard and input conversion devices.”
In an attempt to provide constructive solution so that a level playing field for Overwatch players on consoles may be achieved, Kaplan states that Blizzard have “lobbied and will continue to lobby for first-party console manufacturers to either disallow mouse and keyboard and input conversion devices”, or to “openly and easily support mouse and keyboard for all players.”
As for whether Sony and Microsoft will respond to Blizzard’s request to this matter, it is unlikely that either company will yield despite Overwatch being massively popular for both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Given that the PlayStation 4 currently supports keyboard and mouse natively for many system functions, and developers are given the freedom of choice to extend keyboard and mouse control to games that could benefit from it, it is unlikely Sony will yield to Blizzard’s request.
As for Microsoft, the company has been pushing the various cross-platform functionalities between Xbox One and Windows 10 via its Play Anywhere system, meaning that it is also unlikely that keyboard and mouse devices will be banned on the Xbox.
It remains to be seen how the issue of keyboard and mouse devices on consoles will ultimately be resolved, but it is unlikely to impact on Overwatch‘s popularity. With a consistent slate of post-launch content such as Competitive play and special events like the recent Year of the Rooster event, the game has notched up a whopping 25 million registered players (and counting) as of last week. What this suggests is that while usage of keyboard and mouse devices on consoles may be an issue – and could be for some time yet – it is unlikely to be a deal breaker for a majority of Overwatch players.
Overwatch is now available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.