Blizzard takes aim at Overwatch 2 console cheaters

The most extreme XIM users face permanent bans.

Blizzard Entertainment

Like many other multiplayer games, Overwatch 2 isn't immune from cheaters. And it's not only an issue on PC, where cheaters use tools like aimbots. Some folks use XIM devices so they can play with a keyboard and mouse (KBM) on consoles. This is against Blizzard's rules, as KBM players typically have an aim advantage over those who use a controller, even though the console versions of the game have features like aim assist. While it's taken some time to get the ball rolling, the developer is finally doing something about the XIM problem.

XIM devices trick consoles into believing that KBM users are playing with a controller. However, in a blog post, Blizzard says it has been able to detect KBM players on consoles over the last few Overwatch 2 seasons. It has found that the cheating problem is more prevalent among higher ranked players. The developers say that use of so-called unapproved peripherals is "very rare" in lower ranks.

During the current season (which started this week), Blizzard will dish out permanent bans to the most extreme users of unapproved peripherals. It will rely on reports from other players and its own data to pinpoint those who are breaking the rules.

Starting in Season 11, which should get underway in June, the developers will tackle the issue at a broader level. The first time a console player is detected using an unapproved device on consoles, they'll be banned from Competitive modes for a week. If they keep using KBM or other unapproved peripherals in casual modes, they'll get a season-long Competitive suspension, only have the option of playing with other KBM users in Quick Play and lose access to aim assist features. It's all in the name of fairness.

There are accessibility concerns here, though, as some folks simply can't play games with a standard controller. Blizzard says that it has done its "utmost to ensure that players with accessibility needs will be less likely to trigger our detection." The developers say they will tailor their enforcement actions so that folks with accessibility needs can still land a sick Earthshatter or keep healing their teammates.

With all that said, Blizzard is looking into adding official KBM support on consoles so folks can play the game that way without negatively impacting controller players. As things stand, console and PC players are separated into separate pools for Competitive play. So to make things fair, Blizzard would need to shuffle console players who want to use a keyboard and mouse into games with other KBM players and no aim assist.

The XIM problem isn't exactly new. The Overwatch 2 developers' colleagues at Activision last year started banning Call of Duty players who spoof input devices (or just messing with them, as usual). Ubisoft and Epic have also targeted XIM users in Rainbow Six: Siege and Fortnite, respectively.

Blizzard is doing more on other fronts to try to keep Overwatch 2 fair and more enjoyable for the majority of players. It's punishing those who leave in the middle of matches more severely and taking a stronger stance on toxicity in voice and text chat.

Meanwhile, there's been a kerfuffle this week related to Overwatch 2 players being banned for using profanity. Those who use slurs or threaten others should obviously face appropriate consequences, but apparently booting out players from a game that has profanity filters for some slightly spicy trash talk is some kind of BS.