LTPD: Mouse & Keyboard vs. Controller: RESULTS

The people have spoken, and the results are quite even!

(Original post is below the results.)

Over 150 of you voted this time, and the results prove that the Kotaku community is quite equal in it's input selections. 27% of you always use a mouse & keyboard, 25% of you always use a controller, and 23% of you admitted to using both equally. 15% only uses a mouse and keyboard for games that require it, like RTS or MMORPG games, and 10% only use a controller for platformers, brawlers, and other games that seem to "play better" using that type of input.

Put those stats together and you can see how close this one was:

  • 37% of Kotaku readers prefer to use a mouse and keyboard if possible.
  • 40% of Kotaku readers prefer use a controller if possible.
  • 23% of Kotaku readers use both about the same.
  • 48% of Kotaku readers are willing to use both as needed/preferred.

I'm especially proud of everyone who peacefully contributed to this conversation, as this debate has sparked many a flame war on gaming forums across the web. Here are a few quick thoughts from both sides.

Jon speaks to the common frustration of using a controller for FPS games.

I'd use a controller for everything except shooters. I've tried playing Battlefield on the PS4 and Xbox 360 and it would just frustrate me trying to line up shots. Most of the time it involved me just spraying in a general area to get a kill. With a mouse and keyboard I can get head shots with ease.

As an alternate point, I wrote the following since no one else brought it up!

I know that I will get destroyed if I play a PC FPS competitively, because I know that the controller isn't nearly as fast or accurate as a mouse. That said, one of my biggest reasons for playing FPS games with a controller is the fact that I'm pulling a trigger to shoot things rather than clicking a mouse. There is absolutely nothing satisfying for me when I shoot things by clicking a mouse button, which is something I do thousands of times a day at my job. On a controller, the act of physically pulling a trigger, combined with vibration effects, makes headshots oh so satisfying!

Deadlyfatalis chooses his input based on the game, also has weird friends.

I use whatever I think works best at the time.

I wouldn't even dare to think to play Dota using a controller, and using a KB+M to play a fighting game doesn't make any sense (Although, I have met a person who plays fighting games on PC using one of those mini piano keyboards, and that was pretty crazy).

DisturbedShadow has a tough time using a mouse and keyboard due to a disability.

I have a disability so I use a controller whenever I can as I sometimes have difficulty managing a mouse and keyboard.

As a side note, I'm sure there are others in this community with the same troubles, and it's good to hear that you can still enjoy games with a controller!

Rathorial prefers mouse and keyboard, and explains that there are absolutely solutions for the ergonomic issues a mouse and keyboard can present.

I tend to default to mouse and keyboard for most experiences, and then use a gamepad for circumstances where WASD movement shows its limitations. In any kind of shooter, the rotational and diagonal movement is based on your reticle, avoiding the limitations of WASD...but if the traversal is independent of the camera then an analog stick/d-pad is needed.

I agree with the most of the listed reasons above, but I feel that wrists wrests, and ergonomic gaming mice with side buttons shown above mitigate the comfort issues and access to quick button presses (just lacking in combo-ing buttons). Also, I always recommend lapdesks for chilling on the couch at a TV (which I do quite often), even if it's not quite as comfortable as a gamepad.

Tenshigami uses a controller even when a keyboard is required using binding software.

Since I grew up as a console gamer, I feel much more at home navigating with a controller, so much so that if a PC game does not support a controller natively I do my best to remedy that myself with programs like Joy2Key.

Unless the mouse is used as an actual mouse cursor in the game, Joy2Key works really well.

When all is said and done, there are as many people who prefer one input to another as there are people who use both. Not every LTPD will end with such even results, and I appreciate the great discussions without a flame to be found! If you have any suggestions for future LTPD topics, feel free to tweet them to me @thesmi1ey!

Original Post

I was saving this one for a future Let the People Decide, but screw it! Let's dive right into the topic that turns lifelong gaming friends into mortal enemies!

I love a good discussion, and I love polls, so I've decided to create Let the People Decide™; a weekly TAY article that presents a topic and a poll on Monday, then summarizes the poll results and discussions on Friday. You can read the previous LTPD entry here.

I feel like I need start off by clarifying that LTPD isn't designed to find out which item is "better," but rather to start a discussion around which item is preferred. It's also a great way to get an idea for how diverse (or one-sided) the TAY/Kotaku community is!

*deep breath*

OK then, let's do this!

As with the previous LTPD, I like to list out various reasons for going with both of the main poll options. This isn't meant to sway anyone's opinion, but rather to summarize a few key points to get some discussion started in the comments. In addition, while some people may say that this is essentially a "console vs. PC" discussion, that certainly isn't the case considering how many PC games now provide support for controllers.

Review some of the reasons below, vote in the poll, then add to the discussion!

Reasons for Mouse & Keyboard

  • More accurate and precise than a controller.
  • You have more control over your mouse fidelity (tracking, weight, sensitivity, etc) via software and hardware features.
  • Most PC games allow for fully customizing keyboard and mouse button bindings, while this often isn't the case for controllers.
  • Game menus and UIs are easier to navigate and use.
  • Almost all MMORPGs need to be played with a mouse and keyboard.
  • Better for FPS (first-person shooter) and RTS (real-time strategy) games.

Reasons for Controllers

  • You can easily play games from your couch, without the need for a desk or tray.
  • Controllers are more ergonomic (less stress on your wrists).
  • All buttons are within close proximity and are easier to access.
  • "I spend all day working on a mouse and keyboard, so I don't want to spend my evening playing games on a mouse and keyboard."
  • More comfortable and "relaxing" to use. (Sitting back on a couch with a controller in your lap vs. hunching over a mouse and keyboard at a desk.)
  • Better for platforming and brawling games.

Let the people decide!

You can follow Matt "smi1ey" Dunn on Twitter @thesmi1ey, and learn more about him here.