Blizzard's Ban On Keyboard & Mouse Use Is Unfair To Overwatch Players With Disabilities

Feb 07, 2017 06:20 AM EST | Ed Saludes


A warning issued this week by Blizzard director Jeff Kaplan regarding "Overwatch" players' use of mouse and keyboard on a console has been criticized by many on social media. Kaplan attributed the developer's decision to incidents of cheating by hackers. Blizzard threatened to ban those players who use input conversion devices.

This issue arose when a poster on "Overwatch" forums highlighted the majority of high-level players who use mouse and keyboard on a console. The poster wanted to get Blizzard's stance on the matter, asked the company if it is a form of cheating to use such accessories, and queried what Blizzard is doing to protect console players who use a controller.

Kaplan responded to the question by explaining why Blizzard is against the use of mouse and keyboard on a console. He shared the company's move to contact first-party console makers including Sony and Microsoft to express its concern about the issue. According to Kaplan, "We have lobbied and will continue to lobby for first-party console manufacturers to either disallow mouse and keyboard and input conversion devices OR openly and easily support mouse and keyboard for ALL players."

Blizzard's very controversial position did not sit well with many "Overwatch" gamers. The website Mashable criticized Blizzard for shutting out gamers with disabilities - a demographic that is very important.

One disabled gamer, Steven Spohn, blasted the company on Twitter. He believes that Kaplan's request for manufacturers to ban the ability to use alternative input devices is dangerous for them. According to Spohn, "Disabling input conversion devices would knock out many assistive technologies". But he added that he is aware of the advantage offered by the use of a mouse in place of a joystick.

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