Keyboard vs. Controller: The Great Debate

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Sara Pinto

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The gaming world is becoming more advanced every year, but the question remains: what’s the best gaming style? The keyboard with the aid of the mouse? Or is it the controller that fits with easiness in our hands and makes it practical? In this slogging thread, we discussed this issue taking into account all the advantages and disadvantages of each one.

This Slogging thread by Sara Pinto, Limarc Ambalina, Marc Magrini, Adrian Morales, Mónica Freitas, Blake Cram and Jack Boreham occurred in slogging’s official #gaming channel, and has been edited for readability.

Hey gamers, what’s your opinion on keyboard vs. controller?

I used to be hardcore controller fam, never touched a keyboard except for counterstrike in the early days.

But these days, I’ve been loving Valorant and have gotten back on the mouse and keyboard gaming scene. While I love both styles of gaming, I’m assuming this question is more about like if it is truly unfair for certain players on certain games and I believe yes it is.

For example, in Fortnite, building is such an important mechanic in which mouse and keyboard 100%, undeniably have a huge advantage. You can’t build as fast on controller, so controller players have that disadvantage.

To help even it out, controller players on Fortnite get aim assist. Since we can’t aim as accurately with our thumb compared to a player with a mouse in hand. IMO, this is why most of the top players in Fortnite play on mouse and keyboard. GREAT controller players are few.

I’m interested to hear Jack Boreham Blake Cram and opinion on this debate 😄

If a game has official keyboard support, I always prefer to use it when playing on PC. It’s something I’ve gotten used to, as – these days – the only games without good support for them are fighting games. Usually, I’ve only ever enjoyed using a controller more when playing console exclusives that take advantage of special features like touch screens or motion controls. This isn’t universal, of course – platformers tend to play much better with controllers, while first person shooters are almost always best on keyboard + mouse. Other games play perfectly fine one way or the other; the Yakuza series always opens on PC with “Real Yakuza use a gamepad”, but I didn’t find my experience different one way or the other. It’s up to the game and personal preference, as always, but I’d encourage players to experiment if they haven’t already.

Keyboards will always have one advantage over controllers, though. Everyone who owns a computer also owns a keyboard, but they don’t always own an extra controller. If nothing else, keyboards are the definitive budget option.

Ahhh, the classic debate, keyboard and mouse vs. controller. As a gamer that started gaming on consoles and switched to PC later on, I have grown to appreciate both input forms. I like the keyboard and mouse for the inherent precision. There is no other way to play competitive games like Valorant, CSGO, or Call of Duty. KBAM is simply the best option, no questions asked.

However, if I’m playing a third-person game or any casual game where I’m not glued to the screen and sweating bullets trying to get a game-winning kill, then I’ll use a controller. Maybe it’s because I was brought up on the PS2 and Xbox using a controller, but I simply don’t feel comfortable playing third-person games like The Witcher 3 or even Gears of War with a keyboard and mouse. Heck, I even play Final Fantasy XIV, a full-on MMO, with a controller and have a great time. Maybe a little slow on the spells but still a great time. 😂

Also, and this is a contentious point, I love the force feedback vibration that controllers have. I know many of my old-school gaming friends who were playing games well before the rumble pak came out for N64 hate controller vibration, but I love it and find it so immersive. The PS5 DualSense is incredible for its clever use of haptic feedback motors. It’s a small thing that goes a long way for me in terms of immersion.

Overall I do appreciate both platforms and will always say that the best option is whatever is most comfortable and accessible to you as a gamer.

Sara Pinto Keyboard! I’m biased as I’m used to the keyboard, but it helps when it is a fast game — no looking around for the keys.

I’ve always been a console gamer, aside from a very brief stint playing Counter Strike at a friends house growing up. I get that keyboard is far superior for precision shooters, but I can’t grow out of my bias for controllers. I also love the ease of use that a console offers and have never felt the need to build a PC. Sometimes I can barely manage a phone and a work computer let alone an expensive gaming PC that I have to maintain and upgrade.

I agree with in that controller features nowadays are pushing narrative gaming forward in ways that are more exciting to me than the precision of a keyboard. I gravitate toward narrative experiences, so anything that makes that more immersive, I’m into. The DualSense 5 haptic feedback and HD rumble are insane features that I think are just barely being tapped into their full potential.

Sara PintoController all the way!! I’ve never actually used a keyboard and mouse to play games.
I think it’s overated 😁

Limarc Ambalina I’ve recently been playing It Takes Two with my boyfriend, and we have to play with different gaming styles. In my childhood, I always played with a controller, so it was my first choice. (Also, I remember playing GTA a few times with the keyboard, and I sucked). He was surprised that I chose to play with the controller, but I kept my decision. But after a few times playing, we’ve come to the conclusion that in some aspects it’s way harder to play with it. So, I had to ask what the experts thought about this subject haha. But in terms of preference, which one would you choose?

So, a keyboard fan all the way, I see! It looks like keyboards have the advantage overall. Do you think keyboards gamers tend to lose a lot by not using the controller? Since there are exclusive games for consoles

I’m the same. growing up I’ve always played PS2, so using the controller gives me a sense of nostalgia. But I’m getting the idea that you have more advantages with mouse and keyboard. If you are playing competitively, keyboard and mouse is the go-to. Personally, since I’m not used to playing a lot, when the controller vibrates I tend to get nervous. Usually, it means something is wrong, my hands start to sweat instantly 😂 but I see what you mean!

Mónica Freitas Would you say it’s more effective? I honestly think I get more confused with the keyboard, even though you only use a few keys, I tend to click the wrong ones

Blake Cram Haha, I’m the same! I see that the sentimentality is strong around the controller users. So do you think that maybe with the growing innovations, controllers stand a chance against the keyboard and mouse?

Jack Boreham Haha, that’s a different opinion for sure from what I’ve seen. Don’t you think that in some games, the keyboard has the advantage?

Sara PintoInstinctively I already know where the keys are, so it’s easier. I can’t say the same for the controller, but that’s because I’m not that used to playing with it.

Sara Pinto I wouldn’t consider console exclusives in this discussion, seeing as how most don’t even allow keyboards to connect in the first place. Unless you’re talking about emulation, but computers will often lose that battle either way. Like I mentioned, certain games are simply designed to take advantage of a console’s hardware.
Besides, when the question of keyboard vs controller comes up, it’s almost always in the context of console games with PC ports. There will always be games that were designed for consoles first, but if the company cared enough to make a PC port – and a good one, at that – using a keyboard and mouse won’t change much in the grand scheme of things.

Sara Pinto only if you are a professional 😁

And I’m not 😂

Mónica Freitas I see what you mean, I wish I felt like that with a keyboard. I guess I need some training haha

Jack Boreham We’re on the same boat here then haha

Sara Pinto same with the controller. We’ll get there! 💪

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