Overwatch 2 is cracking down on 'unapproved peripherals' for console to 'level the playing field for all players'

Mei and Snowball in Overwatch
(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

A recent Director's Take on Overwatch 2 revealed that Blizzard is about to begin the hunt for console players using a mouse and keyboard. If you're found with any "unapproved peripherals" like these, you'll likely be punished in the worst way possible: being stuck with PC players. 

"Our goal is for Overwatch 2 to be a great experience no matter what platform you play on," senior game producer Adam Massey and lead gameplay engineer Daniel Razza explain. "The game feels best when matches are close and competitive, and everyone plays on a level playing field." And to achieve this the team has decided to go after those who plug in a mouse and keyboard to their console. 

The biggest problem lies in players who not only use a mouse and keyboard to play Overwatch 2 on a console but also use an unapproved device to trick the console into thinking that the inputs are coming from a controller. This means that the player gets the best of both worlds: better accuracy and speed from a keyboard and mouse and aim assist from a controller. 

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(Image credit: Blizzard)

Console and PC players can play against each other in Quick Play, so it's not unusual for one to encounter another. In casual games, the difference between a keyboard and mouse and a controller doesn't really matter; there are pros and cons to both. Keyboard and mouse are more accurate, less sluggish, and have a higher skill ceiling but don't have the aim assist the controllers have. But playing with all the advantages in the console competitive queue is excessive and incredibly unfair. 

"Based on our data from the past few seasons, usage of unapproved peripherals is highly apparent in high-ranked play, typically at Grand Master or Champion rank being the highest, while usage of unapproved peripherals between Bronze and Platinum ranks was very rare. For this reason, the actions we take will be primarily targeted to help ensure fair play at higher ranks," Massey and Razza continue. 

Blizzard has devised a way to detect unapproved peripherals to ensure that console players won't be able to enjoy the benefits of aim control while using a keyboard and mouse. Over the next few weeks, Blizzard has pledged to dish out permanent bans against the worst offenders, many of whom will likely be high-ranked players who have been reported by others.

Starting in the next season, Season 11, Blizzard will then begin rolling out actions against others with these peripherals. The first time you're caught with something restricted, you will be banned from competitive on a console for a week, but you will still be able to play Quick Play and can return to competitive if you stop using said peripherals. But if you carry on using them, then you will get banned from competitive for an entire season and will only have access to Quick Play lobbies with other mouse and keyboard players. But this time, you won't have aim assist to hide behind.

However, Blizzard acknowledges that some players use a mouse and keyboard alongside aim assist for accessibility reasons.: Massey and Razza say Blizzard has "done our utmost to ensure that players with accessibility needs will be less likely to trigger our detection," and that if those players are targeted by the system, "we have tailored our actions so that these players will be able to continue playing Overwatch 2." How exactly that will work isn't specified, but hopefully the next sweep of bans and restrictions won't end up causing headaches for players with accessibility needs. 

News Writer

Elie is a news writer with an unhealthy love of horror games—even though their greatest fear is being chased. When they're not screaming or hiding, there's a good chance you'll find them testing their metal in metroidvanias or just admiring their Pokemon TCG collection. Elie has previously worked at TechRadar Gaming as a staff writer and studied at JOMEC in International Journalism and Documentaries – spending their free time filming short docs about Smash Bros. or any indie game that crossed their path.