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Overwatch 2 players who use 'unapproved peripherals' could receive permanent bans

Blizzard will also punish offending players by forcing them to compete against mouse-and-keyboard users.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

April 19, 2024

3 Min Read
Players battling it out in Overwatch 2
Image via Blizzard

Blizzard has laid out how it intends to combat the use of 'unapproved peripherals' in Overwatch 2 on consoles, and the company's multi-pronged solution includes permanent bans for some players.

Breaking down the issue in a blog post, Blizzard explained some players on console have been deploying devices that facilitate the use of mouse and keyboard in tandem with aim assist, the latter of which was originally envisioned as a gamepad-specific feature that could "bridge the difference in precision of aim between a mouse and controller."

"Unfortunately, some players on console have been using devices that allow them to use a mouse and keyboard while tricking the console into thinking that the inputs are coming from a controller," explained the studio.

"While some use different peripherals for accessibility purposes, some players take advantage of aim assist while using peripherals that were never intended to benefit from this feature. For our purposes, we call these devices 'unapproved peripherals.'"

Blizzard says the use of unapproved peripherals has become "highly apparent" in high-ranked play, typically across Grand Master and Champion tiers, but is rarer at lower levels such as Bronze and Platinum. As a result, it will be taking actions designed to curb their use at higher ranks and ensure fair play.

The company also acknowledged that some players with accessibility needs may be using unapproved peripherals as part of their controller setup, and said it has worked to "ensure that players with accessibility needs will be less likely to trigger our detection."

"If a player with accessibility needs is detected, we have tailored our actions so that these players will be able to continue playing Overwatch 2," it added.

Permanent bans will be handed out to "severe abusers"

Discussing its plan of attack, Blizzard said players who are caught using unapproved peripherals on consoles from Season 11 onwards will be actioned in two phases. The first time they're detected, they will be restricted from Competitive play on console for one week. Quick Play will remain accessible during that window, and if they stop using their unapproved peripheral they will be allowed to resume playing Competitive when their temporary ban expires.

If, however, they continue breaking the rules, they will remain barred from Competitive on console and will also be forced to play with other mouse-and-keyboard users in Quick Play for the entire season. "Additionally, these players will no longer have access to the aim-assist feature. They are welcome to continue playing Overwatch 2, but they will be playing against players who use a similar control setup to their own," added Blizzard.

Blizzard will also issue permanent account bans against players who it believes are the most "severe abusers" of unapproved peripherals, including those who have flouted the rules before Season 11. These actions will be targeted towards high-ranked players who have been reported by others and who our data clearly shows are using an unapproved peripheral," it added.

"A reminder that per our Blizzard In-Game Code of Conduct, automating any facet of the game or engaging in any activity that grants an unfair advantage is considered cheating. For console players using these unapproved peripherals who do not want their account banned, the only way to evade these bans is to cease using an unapproved peripheral right now. There will be no other warnings."

Blizzard has acknowledged that some players might use unapproved peripherals because they simply prefer that playstyle and is actively discussing whether it can bring official mouse-and-keyboard support to consoles in a way that won't create an imbalance. Until that moment arrives, however, console players who've found a workaround are treading on mighty thin ice.

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About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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