Should Keyboard and Mouse Players Be Allowed to Play Against Pad Players in Shooters?

Should Keyboard and Mouse Players Be Allowed to Play Against Pad Players in Shooters?

For the longest time, PC versions of shooters and console versions of shooters haven’t been able to play against each other. The usual reason is business. Usually different people are getting different amounts of money to run different servers for every version of the game. Otherwise, there shouldn’t really be any reason that say, a Playstation version of Call of Duty couldn’t play against an Xbox version of Call of Duty , aside from the fact that Sony and Microsoft don’t want them playing against each other.

But what if they could? What if, in this world of cloud computing and game streaming, players with a PC version of a shooter and a console version of a shooter could play against each other? Should they?

Most people would be quick to say “yes.” After all having more players on your servers is always a good thing. Well, it’s always a good thing for players at least. I’m sure the server load may be a bit harsh on the publisher.

However, let’s step back a bit and think about whether or not cross platform play is actually a good thing. Could it be possible that Keyboard and Mouse players, or KBAM players have an unfair advantage?

This issue has been argued several times in the past, especially when tournaments are concerned. KBAM players have a lot of flexibility in their gameplay, including turning up and down their mouse sensitivity on the fly, having access to several other buttons and quick functions that a pad player doesn’t have access too, and generally being able to input commands in a more responsive manner. When they need to headshot someone, they just point and click. If they need to turn around fast, they can move their mouse fast. If they need to turn slow, they can move their mouse slow. Dual analog stick controls, however, always move as a constant speed, and so their accuracy is diminished.

Many players say that these complaints are just rubbish, saying that pad players have access to more buttons in quicker order and so everything balances out, but I’m not so sure it does. Let’s perform a thought experiment shall we? Instead of a shooter, let’s say that two gamers were playing Starcraft 2 against each other. One player is using a keyboard and mouse while another is using a gamepad and an improvised interface, similar to Starcraft on N64? Who do you think would win?

In this thought experiment it seems natural to think that the pad player would lose because you just can’t do what you can do on KBAM with a pad. You lose hot keys and mouse sensitivity and there’s no way that you can micromanage your units fast enough with a slow and inaccurate analog stick. The KBAM player’s actions per minute will just squash the pad player.

Well any argument that we see here can be transferred over to shooters. Granted, shooters may not necessarily rely on actions per minute as much as RTS games do, but they still require accuracy, access to many buttons and functions, and control over your movements, and in this aspect KBAM users are simply ahead of the game.

Should Keyboard and Mouse Players Be Allowed to Play Against Pad Players in Shooters?

So KBAM users will have an unfair advantage over pad players… but does it matter? Let’s do another thought experiment and examine fighting games. In fighting games, it’s not odd at all for players to drop tons of money on arcade accurate arcade sticks in order to reduce their finger travel time to their buttons. Some players get custom made “hit boxes” that replace directional inputs with high quality high response buttons as well. Many of these players have an “unfair” advantage against people who are playing with a stock pad as well, but this doesn’t prevent some pad players from winning tournaments.

Is it the same for KBAM and Pad in the shooter genre? Are players on even ground? Should players with different control schemes be forced to play on separate servers? Let us know what you think?

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