Gaming with a drawing tablet

My hobby concerning drawing tablets is centered largely around creatives - people who are drawing, sketching, etc. Despite using tablets for well over a decade, only in 2022 did I discover people were using drawing tablets for games. And some of these games are quite popular.


osu! is a popular rhythm game and many of its players use drawing tablets instead of a mouse. (!)

Example of someone playing osu! with a tablet <- this video is relatively well known in the osu! community.

They have about 1.7M monthly active users who play osu!

You can get the live stats from here:

How osu! players use drawing tablets

While creatives tend to use their drawing tablets in standard ways, osu! players do a number of quite surprising things:

Active area size

  • Players use tablets of various sizes: Small, Medium, and Large. Small is the most popular based on the videos I've seen.

  • Players often customize the active area to be surprisingly small - much smaller than even the default active area. In the video above, notice how the player moved the pen only in a tiny region of that tablet.


  • Players often do not use manufacturer drivers, but instead they use OpenTabletDriver because:

    • OTD has less lag than manufacturer drivers

    • OTD is highly customizable through it's plug-in system

    • OTD works across many tablet models

    • OTD works on Windows, Mac, and Linux

Drag vs hover

  • Drag players play with the pen touching the surface of the tablet.

  • Hover players don't let the pen touch the tablet surface.


There are various clicking styles used by osu! players.

  • click by tapping the pen on the tablet

  • click by using the keyboard

  • click by alternating between the pen tapping and keyboard presses

Tablet expertise

Some osu! players - at least the ones I communicate with regularly - are remarkably knowledgeable about drawing tablets.

They know a tremendous amount about the hardware, drivers, etc. Some conduct original research and testing of tablets. Some write code for OpenTabletDriver.

I would consider them absolute experts - far beyond any drawing tablet reviewer out there and myself.

They are also incredibly sensitive to microscopic behaviors, latencies, etc. in drawing tablets - far more than someone who has typically has used tablets only for creative tasks.

Advanced customization

Players do advanced customization of osu! through OpenTabletDriver plug-ins. Some examples:

  • Circular/Elliptical tablet areas

  • Rotated tablet areas

  • Live active area randomization

Picking a drawing tablet for osu!

More here: Buying a drawing tablet for osu!

FPS games

Players using drawing tablets for FPS games is less common than for Rhythm games, but this is the preferred input device for some people.

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