Does Logitech Disable Keyboard Combos To Stifle Gamers?

Greg bought a Logitech keyboard, hoping to use it on first-person shooters. He discovered that a common shift+W+space bar combination, which apparently is often used by gamers, doesn’t work on its lower-end products.

He and gamers on a Logitech forum say Logitech designed the keyboards that way to encourage customers to spend more on its gaming-specific products.

He writes:

Logitech doesn’t want gamers to be able to use its less-expensive non-gaming keyboards for gaming, so they disable the ability to use the keys Shift, w, and Space together. This prevents one from making a running jump forward in an FPS. I just bought the keyboard today, and I’m unfortunately just hearing that they seem to be pretty arrogant about this situation.

If you’ve suffered this alleged shortcoming on a keyboard made by Logitech or another company, let us know.

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  1. SagarikaLumos says:

    That’s a strange and absurd way to upsell. Customers should go straight to a competitor for that.

    • MikeM_inMD says:

      Exactly, my first thought.

    • kobresia says:

      I’ll point out that Microsoft does *exactly* the same thing. Buy a “Workstation/Professional” edition of the software, it’ll be crippled to only run on a maximum of two processors. Any more processors than that, and you have to “upgrade” to the Server version, which costs hundreds of dollars more, even though everything is basically the same except for the cheaper product being gimped. Same deal with the various flavors of Windows Vista & 7. It doesn’t *cost* Microsoft any more money to produce less-crippled “Business”, “Premium”, or “Ultimate” editions. But if you don’t pay the money, a crippled OS is what you’re going to get, sorry.

      Last I heard, Intel was selling a line of processors in which components or instruction sets are gimped; customers can pay for “unlock” codes to “upgrade” an inexpensive processor into realizing more of its full potential. It’s cheaper and easier than purchasing and swapping-out a physical component to upgrade, but I’m sure it’s getting under some folks’ skin to know that they might have a higher-performance processor than they paid for, but it’s gimped to work in the price range it sold in. CPU manufacturers have been binning chips all along (crippling and selling better processors as cheaper ones, in order to fill demand for the cheaper ones), but the new, reversible approach to binning (and allowing it to be reversed) seems to be more upsetting, somehow.

      I use an operating system some people made at home, so I don’t care all that much about how Microsoft cripples functionality unless you buy a premium product from them. I’m a technician, so upgrading computers is no big deal to me, but there is a stigma associated with overclocking processors, even if they’re just fine at a higher speed and were simply binned lower. I would likely consider a low-spec processor that had been “unlocked” to be similarly stigmatized, I’d probably go with an original high-spec processor simply to not have doubt lingering over what sort of functionality an unlocked processor may have. But it is interesting how consumers react to such product marketing techniques.

      • RvLeshrac says:

        So I guess an ATV is just a feature-locked Ferrari, then?

        Seriously, when you’ve learned what the differences between those products you mentioned are, let us know. Until then, there’s not enough room in a single comment to explain why every point you just made was horribly, horribly wrong.

        • ReverendLoki says:

          Only as much as your comment is feature-locked intelligent discourse.

          Seriously, there is almost no technical reason to have as many versions of Vista or Windows 7 as MS released, other than to lock features in the lesser versions and sell them for a lower price to entice users to upgrade to it.

          And yes, Intel has dabbled with the idea of locking cores/features in certain chips, only to be unlocked after getting paid for it. It’s common knowledge that chips made as part of the high-end run that come out imperfect can be turned into lower end chips by burning off the broken core/feature/whatever. Sometimes, there aren’t enough failures from the high-end line to supplement the demand in the low-end line, and then it becomes feasible economically to just cripple a perfectly good high-end chip to sell as a low-end. What they are doing here is just making that crippling procedure reversible, for a price.

        • kobresia says:

          ReverendLoki’s comment about feature-locked intelligent discourse (haha, I like it!) aside, I generally do like to assist the ignorant in seeing the error of their misconceptions.

          So please explain to me, what exactly is it that limits Windows 7 Home Basic 64-bit to 8GB of physical memory, while Home Premium 64-bit supports 16GB, and Business and Ultimate (64-bit) each support 128GB?

          What limits Windows 7 Home Basic and Premium to a single physical processor, while Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate each support up to 2 processors?

          Why doesn’t Windows Movie Maker allow for editing HD video resolutions in the Home Basic bundle, where it isn’t gimped in the more expensive versions?

          Oh, oh, why does Windows 7 Starter limit you to a maximum of 250GB of usable storage space on your system?

          And lastly, how can you cling to your delusions that there’s some sort of actual architectural difference between the versions, when it’s been proven possible to break most of the limitations and enable fuller functionality (in violation of the license) on the crippled versions since Windows NT4?

          Try to come-up with a bonafide technical answer for any of these questions, and I know you’ll find there is none. These are strictly “license” limitations, meaning you get reduced functionality unless you pay for a license for a less-restricted version. The barriers are no more real than the number of concurrent connections permitted on a Windows Terminal Server via the licensing applet.

  2. teamplur says:

    Many low end keyboards do not support pressing more than 2 or 3 keys at the same time, from what I’ve seen. Seems to be a problem with certain keys sharing some circuitry on the board or something. I’ve mostly had this problem with really cheap generic boards when playing SNES emulators and using the KB as a controller. This was probably close to a decade ago. I don’t have that problem anymore.

    • Marlin says:

      Really? Then how do you press ctrl+alt+del ?

      Sorry, but I have never had a keyboard where I could not press more than one key at time.

      • RxDude says:

        The ctrl-alt-del keys are on separate circuits. Cheaper keyboards combine more keys on the same “channel”, thus have fewer usable multi-key combinations available.

        • Marlin says:

          Ahh that makes sense for a cheapy throw away keyboard but this keyboard cost $80.
          For $80 I would think you would get something better then what a $5 keyboard has.

          • Beeker26 says:

            You’d think, but there’s a reason I don’t buy Logitech products anymore. Cause they are retardedly expensive for the crap you get.

            • rndmnmbr says:

              Logitech used to be an excellent brand, until the inevitable sacrifice of quality for profits sake. Now they’re just poorly made trash.

              The keyboards are obvious crap, but what gets my goat are their mice. I’m on my sixth mouse in two years. The switch for the left-click button keeps wearing out, causing the mouse to double- and triple-click when I single click.

        • Marlin says:

          Ahh that makes sense for a cheapy throw away keyboard but this keyboard cost $80.
          For $80 I would think you would get something better then what a $5 keyboard has.

          • techknight says:

            Just because Logitech sets a high MSRP doesn’t mean that the keyboard itself is not cheaply-made.

          • Kitamura says:

            I dunno, keyboards seem to cost an arm and a leg, $80 is a fairly cheap (maybe mid-range) keyboard from what I’ve seen unless you’re going to for the absolute no frills keyboards that only has the keys you’d expect from a keyboard out of the 90s.

            Not sure which keyboard the OP has, but if you’ve seen how many extra “shortcut” keys they’re stuffing onto keyboards these days (web search, email, etc) it doesn’t seem surprising that even “mid-range” keyboards have this issue given how many extra buttons they have to accommodate.

            • adamstew says:

              Really? As the person responsible for computer purchases here at my company, I can get Microsoft brand (non generic) keyboards for $13. If I went generic, I can get them for $6. (these prices are from New Egg). Retail prices (best buy) for the microsoft keyboard is $17 and the generic is $15.

              $80 is, most assuredly, a high-end keyboard.

              • adamstew says:

                I guess I should also mention that these low end keyboards have some of the basic convenience keys (volume control, media controls, etc.)

                I can also get, what I consider, to be the “mid-range” of keyboards that come with comfort features (wrist wrests, ergonomic shapes, etc.) for about $35-$50 (Microsoft & Logitech brand).

                For $80, I consider that to be high-end and expect some combination of bluetooth, gaming features (macro keys, backlighting, etc.), ergonomic features, and superior construction.

                There are also what I consider “luxury” keyboards that cost more than $100. These have features like LCD screens, customizable layouts, are made by designers, and/or specialty keyboards (made for video editors, graphics editors, etc.)

                • rndmnmbr says:

                  for $70, I can purchase a brand-new USB Unicomp Customizer with mechanical keyswitches, which is the only feature genuinely worth paying more than ten bucks for. The keyboard business is a scam all by itself.

          • Merricat says:

            About the only way to ensure you could press every key on the keyboard at once and have the controller detect them all would be to place a diode ‘in front’ of every key. That is, in fact, extremely expensive.

            Not all keyboards have the same ‘dead spot’ combos, but they all have them. This link http://www.dribin.org/dave/keyboard/one_html/ explains the issue in basic terms (it goes over how a four key keyboard would be hooked up).

          • bwcbwc says:

            Logitech’s low end keyboards go for $30-50, not $80. And you can go even lower. I scored my wireless keyboard/mouse combo for $25. Looks like somebody got pwned by a salesman. I can’t comment on the three-key combos other than the fact that combos using two control keys (like Ctrl-Shift-PgDn) have never failed on any of my keyboards.

      • edman007 says:

        Generally the control keys (ctl/alt/shift/etc) are on different circuits (really it is just many different wires, and each goes to many keys, and by looking at what wires are connected they can determine what keys are pressed), the more wires the more it costs and the more keys can be simultaneously detected. Cheap keyboards can generally only detect multiple control keys and one “normal” key, “w” and “space” cannot be detected at the same time on the cheaper keyboards which is where this problem comes from, where many high end keyboards (especially ones targeted at music editors) can have upwards of a dozen keys pressed at the same time and still detect it.

        • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

          What about the combos in Word to use subscript or superscript? This seems ridiculous if true – keyboard circuitry can’t be that expensive.

    • Grabraham says:

      if $80 is what is considered a low end keyboard what is a high end keyboard going for these days?

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      I wholeheartedly disagree…the $5 and $10 keyboards that I’ve been using and selling for the past ~10 years have never displayed such problems.

      The main problem with cheaper keyboards is whether or not you like the feel. Have never had, or heard any complaints of, any key combination issues.

      I absolutely recommend that people use the cheapest, generic keyboard they can find without reservation.

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      Not true. I use a stock Dell keyboard, and frequently use GiMP, which requires 3-or-4-key shortcuts for several of its functions. They all work just fine, as does any of a number of keyboard combinations I use in First-Person Shooters.

      Something is rotten in the state of Logitech.

    • The Marionette says:

      Tis true, and not sure where the nay sayers are getting their info from. Hell, look at some smart phones, they don’t support multitouch

    • Merricat says:

      Almost all keyboards have three key combos that don’t work.

      It’s amusing to see how many people:

      A. Don’t understand how a keyboard works but are willing to fake it.
      B. Refuse to budge from their ignorance simply to support a bizarre claim.

      For people claiming their keyboards don’t do this, read the following links. Yours do. They just don’t do it on this specific combo.

      https://www.microsoft.com/appliedsciences/content/projects/AntiGhostingExplained.aspx

      https://www.microsoft.com/appliedsciences/KeyboardGhostingDemo.mspx

      For people claiming conspiracy because this EXACT combo is one that doesn’t work on a specific keyboard, please attempt to use Occam’s Razor on the issue before yelping.

      Which is more likely, a company went out of it’s way to look for key combinations that gamers use and picked one to get axed by their design, with absolutely no hope that the purchaser (assuming they are a gamer) would

      1. Connect the fact that this wasn’t a “Gaming Keyboard” to the fact that the combo wouldn’t work.
      2. Be willing to do business with you again in order to buy the “Gaming Keyboard” version of whatever they had after they found out you purposefully disabled their current one.

      Or, a non-gamer (they do exist you know) was in charge of designing the key matrix and never considered the fact that a ‘normal’ person would have a reason to press SHIFT+S+Space and the company in question doesn’t happen to have a testing group dedicated specifically towards gamers to catch the mistake.

      Seriously folk, this is Mister Fantastic levels of stretching.

    • rav3 says:

      you are right ive had keyboards from microsoft, alaska, logitech and all lock on some combinations and just beep like crazy

    • teamplur says:

      Sorry, I meant combinations of CERTAIN 3 or more keys. If you press too many keys from the same “matrix” or whatever it’s called. Then it wont accept another key press. But if the keys are spread out like ctrl-alt-del, then it’s ok.

      • Geekybiker says:

        Even “gaming” keyboards have three key combos that still won’t work. The standard keyboard circuit was design with office use in mind and the fact that you’d likely be pressing left shift while hitting letters with your right hand of the other way around. Hitting 3 key combos in a tightly packed area is a pretty specific application issue. I seriously doubt that logitech is trying to screw anyone, its just legacy design. Anyhow, alot of gaming keyboards are more than just different aliasing. They may have more keys register period (5-6 isn’t unheard of) They also often have macros, etc as well.

    • kaleberg says:

      One way to save money when you make a keyboard is to run a grid of wires to the keys, so there is one wire for each row and one for each column. This works great for single and double key presses, but not for all three key press combinations. More expensive keyboards will have a wire running separately to each key.

  3. georgi55 says:

    I hope this is not intentional and just a flaw that can be fixed. If ctrl+alt+del works, so should shift+w+space.

    Logitech please don’t turn evil, you make great products and your support has been great when my remote failed, don’t make me hate you!

    • coren says:

      It’s a matter of what is paired on the same circuit – ctrl, alt, and del tend to not be paired – for obvious reasons I think – whereas you might pair letters with space as that’s a much less frequently used combination

  4. Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

    Looks like Logitech took the link to that forum post down. Guess they too must read this website…the power of the Consumerist.com

  5. georgi55 says:
  6. NashuaConsumerist says:

    Return and buy a cheap $10 keyboard. I’ve never had a problem with any of the cheap-o brand keyboards I’ve had when using a 3 key combo. Then again, I’ve also never needed and edge in a game badly enough that I’ve purchased an expensive keyboard. It seems like the solution is exchange it for another keyboard from another manufacturer.

  7. ubermex says:

    Imagine if it wasn’t gaming. If they did this with some business software instead of games, there’d be a congressional investigation. You can do crap like this to gamers because they’re a group that’s easy to dump on right now.

    • Doubts42 says:

      calling BS on that one.
      gamers represent a large chunk of $$$. And what authority would congress have in what keys can be pressed in keyboard combos?

      • ubermex says:

        Congress will look into just about anything if enough people get mad. The legality behind it would be that they have the authority to look into trade practices that may be anti-competitive.

        Suppose it only effected software by companies that logitek wasn’t partnered with.

        If you think that congress can’t just hold hearings about whatever they feel like, you actually don’t know anything about congress.

        • Billy says:

          But this has absolutely nothing to do with anti-competitive practices, I assure you. Discussions about Congressional hearings is absolute hyperbolic nonsense. The solution isn’t a Congressional hearing: the solution is to buy a competitor’s keyboard.

    • dangermike says:

      That’s working on a very faulty assumption that this is somehow an intentional flip to gamers. I can remember a day when games came with “keyjammer” utilities to help you set up a functional key config (the last one I remember using it in was starcon2, which often had 2 people sharing a keyboard for the multiplayer mode, but I’m sure a lot of DOS shooters as late as the days of the original pentiums had them).

      There was (and still is) a technological limitation to how many keys can concurrently be sensed. I don’t remember the technical explanation, but I do remember frequently banning the space bar and shift keys because they would frequently cause these sort of interferences. The num pad and inverted t arrow pad was also a major source of headaches.

      Probably what’s happening with the logictech keyboards is that the cheaper models are based off 20-30 year old circuit layouts. Newer layouts, which might be less likely to jam or at least manage to jam in combinations less likely to be encountered in specific applications, tend to cost considerably more to produce. It just so happens that the old layouts are perfectly suitable for the vast majortiy of users (and the jamming problems are easily mitigated in games by avoiding key combos that involve holding shift or space)

      Extra bonus old school gamer tip: Don’t use WASD. Besides being uncomfortable, you’re limiting yourself on available keys. My old config was d for forward, s and f for strafing, and x for backward. this put my hand in a neutral position rather than having to extend a finger up a row to move forward, cuts down on jam combos, and opens up 1,q,a,&z for additional functions. I was always a bit disappointed as WASD became the “standard” control scheme. Despite now have the momentum of tradition behind it, it was never a particularly well considered layout scheme.

  8. Babrook says:

    Shift + W + Space would be, in most games at least, sprinting (Shift) forward (W) and jumping (space).

    If I couldn’t do that in a game, I’d be pretty pissed.

    • HeroOfHyla says:

      Neither of my current keyboards can handle shift+w+a+r (move slowly forward and to the left while reloading in Left4Dead). I’ve been casually looking around at other keyboards, and it seems my best option right now is probably a Microsoft Sidewinder X4. According to the website it can handle 26 simultaneous inputs. Unfortunately, it apparently isn’t being sold in stores anywhere, so I’d have to buy it from amazon or something. If I can’t get one of those, a Saitek Cyborg v7 is my next choice.

  9. Marlin says:

    Easy fix, return keyboard and buy a microsoft keyboard.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      No, return and buy the cheapest generic keyboard they have. Never had a problem such as this with any $5 or $10 keyboard.

    • tcolberg says:

      I have a MSFT Comfort Curve keyboard (MSRP $20 approx) and it doesn’t have enough simultaneous keystrokes for me to play some games the way I’d like. It’s not a manufacturer-specific issue, it’s a cost issue.

  10. deathbecomesme says:

    Let me guess..hes trying to get to a tough to get to spot in MW2 or COD BO so he can camp. Get outa here you campter! Im going to sick my noob tube on you

  11. JoeDawson says:

    I use an apple keyboard on my PC (hackintosh ftw!) and it is just fine for gaming MUAHAHAHA!

  12. redspeed says:

    Ive run into this issue as well but Im not sure Logitech is doing it on purpose- I had a cheap OEM Dell PS2 keyboard that I could press three keys at once on no problem. When I bought an $80 Saitek keyboard it wouldnt let me press certain combinations of keys together at once.

    On a side note Im actually very happy with Logitech right now. I bought a $60 set of speakers from them and after 9 months the subwoofer started making a buzzing noise after turning them off. I called for tech support and since they dont offer that speaker set anymore, they actually sending me a $350 set of speakers. Im pretty shocked and happy right now.

    • Etoiles says:

      Crazy — my husband and I both have Saitek keyboards on our gaming rigs and they work amazingly.

      (His was the one that convinced me to buy one, I had Logitech for 10 years before that.)

  13. Cyclone says:

    I actually learned something today. Maybe this is why gaming keyboards cost more than normal keyboards. Makes sense knowing that the internal circuitry is completely different.

    Logitech has excellent customer service, I wonder what the mod on the forum PM’d the OP.

    • ubermex says:

      Except that the 5$ keyboard you buy at goodwill can press 3 keys at once. They only work differently if you MAKE them work differently. When I buy a gaming keyboard, I’m not buying the ability to press 3 letters at once, I expect that. I’m buying the ability to press 7 letters at once.

      • Merricat says:

        No one said this keyboard can’t press three keys at once, they just said you can’t press THOSE three keys at once.

        It’s a design flaw. If all the keys you are pressing are on the same circuit, it’s possible to close enough connections that the controller can’t tell which keys on that circuit are being pressed or not. That bargain bin keyboard has the same issue, just not with those exact keys (possibly, I dare you to try).

  14. Dre' says:

    My two Logitech “Black Internet Keyboards”, circa 2002, don’t have this problem, so that really makes it appear like a planned failure. Looks like I’ll be completely avoiding Logitech products from now on. I’ve already stopped using their mice because Razers are better & I found a really good deal on them a while back.

  15. Macgyver says:

    From one of the admins of the forum.
    And I quote:
    “I’ve just talked to our product folks about this. This is actually a design limitation of the keyboard matrix design (for none gaming keyboards), and it is not something that has been purposely disabled in the firmware. Non-gaming keyboards form other manufactures may also exhibit the same behavior when certain multiple keys are pressed at the same time.”

    It’s just a design limitation, that’s all.
    I don’t know what this guy is complaining about, when someone already told him what’s wrong.

    • Scurvythepirate says:

      Well I would be pretty pissed too if I bought a keyboard and it didn’t work the way 99.99% of every other keyboard I have used has. It should be listed somewhere on the outside of the box stating it. How what he supposed to know about this before purchasing? I game pretty heavily on all platforms and if I have never heard of a keyboard that did this.

    • tmac40 says:

      You don’t know what he’s complaining about? Its the fact that his $80 keyboard can’t do simple things that the one that came with my 5 year old Gateway PC can. They are obviously doing this on purpose. I have yet to find a 3 key combination that won’t work on my keyboard. I will no longer advise anyone to buy logitech keyboards.

    • grucifer says:

      The issue is, it appears they are doing this purposively so that people HAVE to buy their $120 gaming keyboards instead of a cheaper $80 keyboard.

      I have a $60 Saitek keyboard and can use L-Shift+W+Space no problem, so definitely sounds like a shady business model from Logitech.

      • Dre' says:

        I have a $15 *Logitech* keyboard from 2002 that can do this with no problems. They are reducing functionality on purpose.

    • LanMan04 says:

      They can make Control-Alt-Delete work…

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      Yes, they told him what they wanted him to hear. That’s not always the same thing as the truth.

      • coopjust says:

        Yeah, but it’s a fact in this case. Keyboard matrixes are typically 2KRO.

        From what I understand the original matrix in the illuminated did not suffer from this problem, then the problem occurred, then it was fixed but there are a LOT of boards with matrixes that don’t support SHIFT+W+SPACE properly.

        Anyhow it’s not a gaming keyboard and it’s not advertised as having NKRO so I don’t see what gamers are getting so upset about.

  16. liamarbetman says:

    I think he has to be pressing some other keys by mistake too. From my experience a cheap-o keyboard can detect up to 5 simultaneous key presses. And that seems to be the norm. But that’s why I got a razer keyboard. I was coming up against that 5 key limit far too often. But, detecting unlimited simultaneous key presses It’s not needed for normal typing so I think it’s not unreasonable for that feature to be missing from everyday keyboards.

    However, if they did actually reduce the limit from 5 to 3 then that’s a pretty low move.

    But, get a gaming keyboard if it’s really a problem. They generally have a variety of other benefits too.

  17. sirwired says:

    This is not a bizarre conspiracy to force people to buy gaming keyboards… it’s a common shortcoming in some keyboard controller chips. IIRC, being able to handle more simultaneous keypresses requires a more complicated board design. This is not new; it’s been an issue for many years.

  18. blinky says:

    Greg got his money back. I suggest he leave a comment on the product at Amazon and then see his psychiatrist about his apparent resultant PTS problem.

  19. larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

    Yes, it’s true, Logitech has high-level meetings with all the marketing and technical executives and figure out ways to make gamers have a bad day. These weekly meetings result in design policies that must be adhered to or the designers will be thrown from the ramparts of the black-hued Logitech castle.

  20. brwski says:

    Ask the folks over at geekhack.org (a dedicated-to-keyboards forum) if you want a full explanation. They may also be able to verify if this is a problem with Logitech boards, low-end or otherwise.

  21. chaesar says:

    what does shift+W+space bar do? message your mom to bring more pizza rolls?

  22. hittheskids says:

    I have spent the last couple of years at my job doing a lot of work with keyboard controller firmware, so I’m somewhat familiar with both the hardware and firmware/software aspects of keyboard design. Think of a keyboard as a matrix of rows in columns. If the three keys you want to press are all on three corners of the same rectangle on the matrix, then there could be issues if it’s not handled properly in the controller firmware. So the way I see it, there are two possibilities. The Shift, W, and Space keys purely coincidentally form one of these rectangles on the matrix or Logitech intentionally designed their matrix to put these three keys on a rectangle. I have no specific evidence that Logitech did this intentionally, but that’s quite the coincidence if that’s really all it is.

  23. joe says:

    i bought their most expensive keyboard at the time ($100 G15) and it also had rollover problems. in battlefield games, i couldn’t crouch, move forward, and check to see who was alive all at the same time.

    there’s no way they designed this failure into their most expensive product. logitech keyboards are just that bad.

    soon after my purchase of the G15 (actually the 3rd one because the first 2 broke quickly) i upgraded to a REAL gaming keyboard, with NKRO and cherry switches.

    logitech is junk!

    • joe says:

      by the way ALL keyboards that use a USB connector are limited to 6 simultaneous keypresses. if you need more (quite possible, with some games) the keyboard has to have a PS2 connector.

  24. Jason Litka says:

    You guys really need to pay attention or at least hit Google before posting crap like this. Anyone who has been around for very long would know that this is a common issue with cheaper keyboards. It’s not malicious but is is the exact reason why expensive “Gaming” keyboards exist.

    http://www.dribin.org/dave/keyboard/one_html/

  25. Iron Weasel says:

    It’s far more likely that it’s a limitation of the keyboard circuity itself rather than Logitech “disabling” the ability to recognize multiple simultaneous inputs. A lot of lower end keyboards have the same limitation wherein they can only recognze 2 – 4 simultaneous inputs. “Gaming” keyboards usually have some sort of anti-ghosting capability and they can accept more inputs at the same time. My Ideazon (Steelseries) Zboard, for example, can recognize 10+ simultaneous inputs – but the keyboard was also $70 when I bought it 3 years ago.

    There’s a reason the “gaming” mice and keyboards are more expensive than a regular keyboard. Sure, some have gimmicks light LED’s in the keyboard, or the LCD display like the Logitech G15, but you usually end up with a far more usable product. You wouldn’t go buy a Honda then complain that Honda “disabled” a couple cylinders because you can’t dive it like you would a Acura NSX?

    If you’re into gaming, spend some cash and buy a good keyboard and mouse….my last setup ran me just over $110 for my mouse and keyboard, but they’ve performed flawlessly for over 3 years and every feature still works fine.

    • Thanatos says:

      One problem though he bought a high quality $80 keyboard http://www.logitech.com/en-us/keyboards/keyboard/devices/4740 not some bargain bin $5 one, actually my experience is if he would’ve bought the bargain bin one it probably would have no problem doing the key combo in question.

      • Merricat says:

        Almost every keyboard out there, other than one that is explicitly marketed at being designed to avoid this specific issue, has this issue. They just don’t have it with this specific combo of keys. It’s a flaw of the basic design used that certain key presses will ‘close’ enough connections in the circuit they are in that the logic used to tell what key is being pressed fails.

        To avoid the issue, ‘high end’ keyboard designers attempt to ensure that common combinations expected to be used with their keyboard are all on separate circuits as well as include additional wiring and components to help mitigate the issue.

  26. Rational says:

    Well that’s certainly a design limitation that will discourage alot of buyers, and it’s good getting that information out there so we all can make informed purchases.

    That being said, if you read the thread on the Logitech forum, it does seem like the forum admin is handling this professionally.

  27. Broncoskip says:

    Das keyboard :)

  28. knyghtryda says:

    The only keyboard I’ve had this kind of an issue with is actually my laptop keyboard, and it prevents me from playing any kind of racing game without an external keyboard. Its nothing to do with the manufacturers being nefarious and everything to do with them being cheap on their keyboard controller chips. I’ve used plenty of older (and much cheaper) keyboards that do not exhibit this kind of behavior, so its really the luck of the draw.

  29. TheGreySpectre says:

    Pretty much all cheap keyboards have limitations in what buttons you can hit at once. I had issues with viewsonic, microsoft, dell and generic keyboards, but all on different key combinations. The ability to do large key combination is not specific to their gaming keyboards either, you just need to get a nicer keyboard. It is cheaper to have simpler circuitry in the keyboard that only supports a couple keypresses at once, that is why it is a cheap keyboard. Logitech does not hate gamers.

  30. scurvycapn says:

    Wow, reading some of these comments really makes me wish people that had no clue about technology would just keep their mouths shut instead of spouting off incorrect information.

    As has been said, there are cheapo keyboards that have no problem with multiple keypresses. It has nothing to do with X or more keys = no dice. It depends on what keys are pressed and which circuits they are on.

    Before I bought a MIDI keyboard, I would use my PC keyboard in some music applications to play notes. Some chords were impossible, as certain key combinations would not work. Perhaps you could press Z, C, N, and A together, but pressing Z, C, N, and E would fail.

    I have a Logitech Gaming keyboard I bought five years ago ($150) and have never experienced an issue with this keyboard. I have no idea if Logitech is trying to upsell gamers, but you’d hope they would take the time to ensure some keyboard combinations such as Shift + W + Space would work properfly as they are pretty much de facto in computer gaming. There really is no excuse for an $80 keyboard to be built in such a way that simple thee key combinations should cause problems in this day and age.

    • UltimateOutsider says:

      Yes. This was a pretty cringe-worthy comment thread today. It’s not a matter of how many keys, but where they are on the specific circuit layout of the keyboard. It was a sloppy design in this case, and the idea that it was some kind of conspiracy is ludicrous. If Logitech had designed it this way intentionally to guide people to their high-end products, they would have made it very clear in their packaging and branding.

      Also, it’s not just gamers that use arcane key combos. Developers and graphic artists use dozens of them every day. Logitech just dropped the ball this time, quite unintentionally.

  31. AI says:

    Many many keyboards throughout the years only allow you to press so many keys at a time. I remember having trouble playing Doom on an old Compaq keyboard because I couldn’t press shift to run, up arrow to go forward, and left or right arrow to turn at the same time.

    This is not a Logitech conspiracy, it’s standard. It’s done to save money on the internal wiring of the keyboard and every company does it on all but their high end products.

  32. ogremustcrush says:

    Heck, my Microsoft gaming keyboard (Sidewinder X6) has this problem. It’s occasionally a problem in games, but I bought it more for the key design and feel than gaming cache, so whatever.

  33. Ravant says:

    When I made my own MAME arcade machine, I took a keyboard controller card and “mapped out the matrix.” On that keyboard, you have two rows of pins. One row is the x, one the y on the grid. Pin 3/Pin 6, for example, was “a” on that controller. Every keyboard has “shadow” spots. If 4 inputs lie in a 2×2 space on the grid, one or more of the inputs will fail to register.

    So no, this isn’t on purpose, just lazy, crappy design on logitech’s part. Even if it is a cheap keyboard.

  34. Akuma X says:

    As I have the same keyboard I just tested this out and indeed it doesn’t register shift+w+spacebar. I found a rather handy work-around though, by changing the jump option to v. I can now shift+w+v to run in jump, or in the case of American McGee’s Alice, walk and jump again. The best keyboard I have ever owned is back in business.

  35. Technologirl says:

    So when I press Shift+W+Spacebar with my $10 Logitech keyboard, I get a capital W and a Space.

    If it’s going to do something other than that, wouldn’t it be less than useful to non-gamers?

  36. tooki says:

    Oh my god. This isn’t intentional, as many people have already adequately explained. It’s also something that has occasionally afflicted expensive keyboards. (For example, the pricey Matias Tactile Pro, which had apparently severe ghosting problems in everyday use, never mind games! They had to redesign the board to make it work right.)

    To all the conspiracy theorists who refuse to listen to logic, and who see one perceived counterexample (like Ctrl+Alt+Delete) as a valid counterargument: take Hanlon’s Razor to heart: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”
    ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanlon's_razor )

  37. GoodBytes says:

    This problem is common. It was made on purpose not to disable this on purpose.. but rather what usually happens, is that a different key will appear being typed than the key(s) you wanted to do. Stupider the circuit, the cheaper they are to make and engineer. If you look at gaming keyboard they support sometimes up to 6 key press simultaneously. Compare the printed circuit board and you can clearly see that the gaming one is far more complex.

    Learn more about keyboards:
    http://www.overclock.net/keyboards/491752-mechanical-keyboard-guide.html

  38. Plasmafox says:

    The problem is cheap, poorly designed components- that only allow a couple of signals at a time to go through based on which branch of the traces the key is in. A common, but not entirely accurate, test for this is to hold down both Shift keys and type, “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” Alot of cheap logitechs(even the budget version of its former flagship, the G15) will spatter out something completely mangled sans spaces like THQCBRXOERLDOG. Whereas this cheap old compaq I’m using doesn’t miss one letter.

  39. Link_Shinigami says:

    Simply put, last I checked, the PS/2 limitations for keyboards was 3 signals at a time. My understanding is that thy didn’t update this with USB and the USB keyboards share the same limitations. So his argument of it doesn’t work is moot to me because he most likely pressed some other key at the same time.

    There’s a reason macro keys were made and I think he should honestly do more research/provide more proof of his research before he complains/blames them. I’ve used cheap keyboards (I used a ps/2 keyboard up until… Well until I got a USB one 2 years ago. This keyboard came from my Pentium 3 back in 2000, it was not a gaming keyboard) and they all supported the max 3 key limitation. I really think he’s pressing extra keys and is blaming a company for an old limitation imposed on systems.

    AKA he should suck it up

    • Merricat says:

      Standard USB protocol is six simultaneous key presses. plus modifier keys.

      However his argument is mooted either way as has been explained in several comments now.

  40. Piemonkey says:

    My cheap Logitech keyboard doesn’t have that problem.

  41. Kingeryck says:

    I’ve had a Logitech keyboard with customizable keys for a few years. The software that enables those keys has gone through 2 full versions, and in every version it takes installing and reinstalling the software many times to get the screen to appear that allows you to actually set up those keys. The forums are filled with people with this problem and no one from the company ever responds with a fix.

  42. dee1313 says:

    Why is this here? The consumer didn’t say he’s tried to contact the company, and seems to be making assumptions based on what he’s heard. Be reasonable. Try to contact the company first. This is an unreasonable use of The Consumerist.

  43. bloodfyr says:

    I’ve got one of the cheaper, lower-end Logitech keyboards in existence and the key combination works fine for me.

    It might be (I had this issue initially) that the game detects Space and Shift-Space as two distinct keys.