Console gamers that are using keyboard and mouse instead of the usual console controllers to play Blizzard’s Overwatch has gaining a lot of flak lately both from the game developers themselves and other game players using standard controllers.
Jeff Kaplan, Overwatch game director, said on Battle.net forums that he objects to the use of mouse and keyboard on consoles. Kaplan stated that they contacted both first-party console manufacturers and expressed their concern about the issue. Kaplan was responding to a growing forum thread that discusses the advantages players of higher levels by having a keyboard and mouse setup against controller users.
Third party devices such as the Xim 4 adapter are purchased by these players to be able to use a keyboard and mouse setup as this is not officially supported on consoles. By using a mouse, a player has a much faster aiming and more precise targeting than a controller user can. While lower level players will not necessarily be affected by this, players who are in competitive ranks of the game started to notice the difference as reported by PC World.
Following the statement Kaplan made, many Overwatch players reached out to Blizzard Entertainment about what they think is a dismissive gesture of members of the Overwatch communities who have disabilities. This includes Steven Spohn who is the chief of operations officer of AbleGamers. The nonprofit organization is created to make charitable initiatives to assist and aid gamers.
After Kaplan’s post, Spohn weighed in on the matter. He stated on Twitter that by discouraging gamers to use mouse and keyboard setups, Blizzard is edging out the large numbers of gamers who require the setup to play Overwatch.
Spohn explains that in order for him to play Overwatch, he uses an alternative input device called TrackIR. This device allows Spohn to mash keyboard buttons by using his head movement. Spohn who is afflicted with spinal muscular atrophy stated that while he has a lot of love for Kaplan, the game director’s request to ban the ability to use alternative input device is dangerous for players with disabilities.
Spohn stated that this matter extends beyond just keyboards and mouse. By disabling input conversion technology, it would completely disable all assistive technology on the market today. This will include devices for eye tracking technology through a USB port or a mouth controller that are used by quadriplegics as reported by Polygon.