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Rainbow Six Siege 'can't do anything' about mouse and keyboard on console

Rainbow Six Siege Void Edge Iana Hero Art
Rainbow Six Siege Void Edge Iana Hero Art (Image credit: Ubisoft)

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege witnesses unparalleled success as it nears half a decade on the market, securing a player base over 55 million strong through robust tactical gameplay. Ubisoft continues to deliver regular free updates via tri-monthly seasons, balancing its complex multiplayer sandbox, and tacking pressing community issues.

Rainbow Six Siege overcame constant hurdles in 2019, combating cheaters, boosting, exploits, DDoS attacks, and general toxicity — even receiving our "Best Ongoing Game" award. But for console users, the growing prevalence of mouse and keyboard users has consistently impacted gameplay.

While Ubisoft doesn't formally support mouse and keyboard for Rainbow Six Siege, the rise of third-party adapters has enabled an unauthorized controller alternative on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. These devices facilitate full mouse and keyboard support for any console game, emulating controller inputs, and undetectable by the games.

That causes headaches for developers like Ubisoft, attempting to maintain balanced gameplay across a highly competitive shooter. The dexterity and pinpoint precision granted by mouse and keyboard overshadow any controller, perceived as cheating in many multiplayer experiences.

Watch Now: Logic Bomb Podcast Ep.14: The Unsung Hero of Rainbow Six Siege

Razer Turret for Xbox One

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Speaking on Logic Bomb Podcast, Ubisoft senior community developer, Craig "ItsEpi" Robinson, recently discussed the challenges surrounding mouse and keyboard on console. Robinson, now departing the Rainbow Six Siege team, touched on the situation with a heartfelt message to players.

"The console community has that impression, I think largely in part because we can't do anything about mouse and keyboard on console," stated Robinson. "And I know how frustrating that is, and I empathize with how much that is frustrating to play against. […] It's one of those things where if we could get rid of it, we would. We don't support mouse and keyboard on console. But the tools we have available to us just limit our ability to get rid of it."

"With that in mind, I understand why our console community feels neglected at times, and it hurts. It does, it sucks. For lack of a better word, it sucks that they feel that way, and it sucks that we're not able to address such a pressing issue for them."

The statement reflects the current influence of mouse and keyboard on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, not just with Rainbow Six Siege, but competitive shooters across console. While titles like Fortnite previously attempted to crack down on products like the XIM adapter, a quick firmware update circumvented those measures days later. While some feel the responsibility sits with platform holders, Microsoft has previously discussed "helpful scenarios" across the platform such as accessibility. It's an issue with no clear-cut solution but for competitive shooters, continues to negatively impact the space.

Matt Brown
Matt Brown

Matt Brown is Windows Central's Senior Games Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.

9 Comments
  • I can't see how it's that difficult... Keyboard only has four directions and they're digital... Shouldn't be too hard to recognise that against an analogue stick... Pretty sure you could use an algorithm and some machine learning to detect the subtle differences in then right stick vs mouse too... Then there's also the fact that triggers are analogue vs the buttons on a mouse... Put these together and it should be fairly easy to determine whether someone is using a KB/M vs a controller...
  • They are not using M/KB pluged directly. There is an adapter in between the console and the M/KB. For the console and therefore the software running behind it's a gamepad that's plugged
  • Exactly. Ubisoft can definitely do something about it but simply decided/decides not to. Aside from the obvious differences between MKb (emulated through a controller input or not) and controller inputs (e.g. more than 4 different left stick walking directions, different left stick walking speeds and different left and right trigger pressure outputs), Ubisoft should have (i) been much more vocal about the cheating/forbidden and banable aspect from the get go (regardless of their ability to detect it) and (ii) banned self confessed YouTubers that use these emulaters and spread the word. I have been advocating for these measures since the start of the issues, I reported countless of players that confessed using it (YouTube or gamertags) and it's utterly laughable that Ubisoft did NOTHING and decided to apply the silent treatment instead. The frustration led me to quit console gaming altogether. Now, for the last two weeks in R6 on PC, I'm facing more cheaters than I've ever seen before across all games combined and I'm not exaggerating. I'd like to know whether IP- banning will be a thing in the future. Anyhow, for me, if nothing gets done about this, the next generation of consoles is not a place for online first person shooters.
  • Easy on the client side - maybe. Are you ready to completely give up your privacy permanently to allow me to track every moment of your game, record tons of input data and check if it is a keyboard, even at the cost of performance penalty? Doing it over the network is out of question as it will overload the connection - you'll be sending data instead of playing. Considering how it works on the inside, it is no surprise they can't do anything.
  • You're sending movement data anyway... That's how the game works... Like I said already, keyboard doesn't have analogue for movement so there's one easy way to detect... If there's such a huge advantage to using mouse over controller then clearly there's going to be an easily detectable difference there too.
  • I have a cronus pro adapter, that works great with all kinds
    of joysticks, trackballs, spinners, keyboards, and mice. There's no way to detect it, because it emulates the native
    controller.
  • They talked about a way (at my game design school) to detect it using line trace speed. Because it's impossible for a controller to reach the pinpoint accuracy that a mouse can achieve. You measure them over time and you can tell the differences then it just auto boots the player because it can register the start point to the end of the mouse. You track it on mostly fast reaction kills. There was a teacher who did the math and it made perfect sense. This all depends on how good of a programmer you have and what engine you're using.
  • Humans will always cheat. And will only say sorry when found out. You only have to look to the world of sport to see prevelant cheating across all sports and all countries. I used to play alot of sport. And if I ever came up against someone who cheats, I'd just walk away. Look at football. Players are diving all over the place, and pundits and fans say it's all part of the game. Even though it's against the rules. Humans. Go figure.
  • Why not just support keyboard + mouse officially and limit mouse turn rate to match a controller turn rate?