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Apex Legends makers probe ways to detect keyboard-mouse cheaters on console

‘We don’t condone it,’ managers say in brief acknowledgement

Apex Legends - Octane kicking Mirage Respawn Entertainment/Electronic Arts
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Apex Legends console players who use a keyboard and mouse have been put on notice. Respawn Entertainment developers say they have ways of detecting those control scheme advantages, and they’re not cool with it.

Speaking in the latest update on the Apex Legends subreddit, Respawn’s community manager said “The short answer is: we don’t condone it.” Tests are underway, internally for now, on figuring out who is mixing methods; keyboard-and-mouse use not only provides faster and more accurate weapon aiming, that aiming can also pick up an assist in console play, if it’s believed they’re using a gamepad.

Microsoft in November extended keyboard-and-mouse support to Xbox One, with dedicated peripherals by third-party makers arriving a month or so later. Even so, games have had to build in KB/M support; it started with titles like Warface, Warframe, Wargroove and War Thunder and filtered on to others. Apex Legends launched by surprise in February.

All of this is complicated by the XIM Adapter, widely available from major retailers, which is meant to aid users who need alternative control schemes but also fools the Xbox One into thinking a keyboard and mouse setup is a gamepad. That’s how KB/M users can get the aim assist. It’s been a big problem (predating formal keyboard-and-mouse support on the console) for games such as Overwatch and Fortnite.

In last week’s check-in, Respawn community reps said that it would soon implement matchmaking that forced cheaters and spammers to play in matches with one another, with the goal of quarantining their behavior away from legitimate players. Obviously, Apex Legends could simply put keyboard-and-mouse console users in matchmaking with PC players, but that still doesn’t answer the XIM adapter question.

Respawn isn’t saying anything beyond Friday’s brief announcement. “We’ll revisit this and talk about progress with detection and how we’ll address players that are using it in the near future,” the community manager said. Since launching in February, Apex Legends managers have touted the mass banning of cheaters and other malefactors; by May, they said a total of 770,000 players had been sanctioned in some form.

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