On the official Overwatch forums last week, a player under the username of “Lepistole” started a thread about the use of mouse and keyboard, and other input devices, on the console version of the game. In their experience talking with people at the top of the ranked ladder, the highest tiers of competitive console Overwatch were dominated by players using purchasable mouse and keyboards, rather than the standard controller.
Lepistole believed this to be unfair, since the aiming precision offered by a mouse results in an inherent advantage over players using controllers. They wanted to know what Blizzard’s official stance was: is using a mouse and keyboard in a console shooter cheating, or is it just the way the game is meant to be played?
Shortly thereafter, the thread got a response from none other than Jeff Kaplan himself. “The Overwatch team objects to the use of mouse and keyboard on console,” he said, seeming to take a stance early on. But the rest of the message was somewhat muddled, encouraging console manufacturers to either disallow input devices, or to make mouse and keyboard use easy for all to implement, theoretically leveling the playing field.
Fairness aside, limiting the use of input devices threatens the ability of some to even play the game. Steven Spohn, COO of AbleGamers, the world’s largest charity for gamers, went to Twitter to discuss the difficulties a ban like this would cause.
While I have a lot of love for Jeff Kaplan, requesting manufacturers BAN the ability to use alternative input devices is dangerous for us
— Steven Spohn (Spawn) (@stevenspohn) February 6, 2017
By banning the use of mice and keyboards in Overwatch, argued Spohn, Blizzard would be inadvertently banning the use of assistive devices. As of now, Blizzard has yet to release a statement responding to these concerns. Overwatch has always presented itself as a game for everyone to enjoy, though, with a diverse cast of characters and roles. It would go against that core message if Blizzard took steps to isolate part of their player base.