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The Fortnite Feature Ninja Thinks Is Hacking

Ninja didn't used to be known for making a lot of controversial comments. He's had some dust-ups here and there, sure, but he's otherwise operated a family friendly stream absent of serious issues. That's changed recently, with the Fortnite star now offering up some saltier takes about his favorite title. His latest complaint is a rather strange one, too, as it pertains to a feature that's been present in Fortnite for a very long time.

If you play Fortnite on PC, the odds are pretty good that you use a keyboard and mouse. This is the preferred way to play for many, as a keyboard offers more input options and a mouse provides more accurate aiming. That isn't the only control scheme available in Fortnite, however. Those with controllers can also rig those up and play Epic's shooter the same way they might on a console, complete with the game's preconfigured gamepad settings.

Those gamepad settings are apparently a source of discontent for Ninja now, who's been playing Fortnite with a controller in recent days. Ninja is now convinced that the "auto-aim" granted to gamepad users is akin to someone using an aimbot. Long story short, Ninja thinks anyone using a controller is cheating.

"Just played with a controller on PC for the second time in two days," Ninja tweeted on Friday. "I have competed in several games at a competitive level on both controller and mouse and keyboard."

The streamer added, "You cannot tell me that with 100% strength aim assist and linear settings that using a controller isn't aimbot."

To better understand Ninja's beef, you first have to understand what aim assist is and why it's used.

There's little debate among those who play competitive shooters that a keyboard and mouse setup offers more responsiveness and better accuracy. Players have complete control over mouse sensitivity. Those using a mouse on a large surface can quickly put their reticle exactly where they want it.

Those using controllers don't have that luxury, however. An analog stick just can't emulate the precision of a mouse due to its limited range of motion. Something has to be done to make a controller feel just as good as a mouse, and to help put controller users on a more level playing field with those on a keyboard and mouse setup. The end result is usually aim assist, which aids those using gamepads by making it a little bit easier to aim at targets.

As was stated earlier, Fortnite on PC has supported the use of controllers for quite some time, and aim assist has always been a thing in the game. This isn't some new phenomenon, so it's unclear as to why Ninja is suddenly harping on it now. Fortnite isn't the only game that implements aim assist for controllers, either. Games like Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Destiny 2, and many others make use of that same trick for those playing with gamepads. Not everyone has the dexterity to use keyboard and mouse. Offering alternatives opens those games up to more people.

Are there players who don't like aim assist? Absolutely. In the Halo community, for example, some are essentially echoing Ninja's sentiments about aim assist being unfair. They'd prefer to see the feature disappear, but this would come with some unfortunate consequences. Controller users would be at an extreme disadvantage. Some would probably stop playing entirely. Online multiplayer titles that rely on a healthy base of players would suffer.

Unfortunately, complaints like Ninja's are only going to become more commonplace as cross-platform play expands. All sorts of games now allow for mixed multiplayer matches across a number of platforms, many of which support controllers. On console, aim assist is pretty much required for any kind of shooter.

As for Fortnite, though, that game has done cross-play for a while now. It's entirely possible Ninja — while racking up win after win on PC — has played against those on console without even realizing it. That makes the timing of his newfound issue with aim assist especially puzzling. If the feature offers such a huge advantage, why aren't more console players wiping the floor with the competition? And why aren't more PC players plugging in controllers in response?

Perhaps aim assist isn't the game-breaking problem Ninja would have you believe, based on his play. Ninja is a former professional gamer, after all, who can probably hold his own whether he's using joysticks or a keyboard and mouse combo. It's possible the guy's just good enough to play well regardless of what he's using. So maybe he can chill out on calling gamepad users hackers. In the long run, that doesn't help anyone.