Call of Duty developer exposes console advantage


Former Treyarch/Activision developer exposes code that gives console players a huge advantage in all Call of Duty games with aim assist and lag.

Ever wondered how it’s possible for someone using a controller on a 9-year-old console to outplay someone using a keyboard and mouse on a high-end PC? According to former Call of Duty developer it’s not skill, it’s code.


The console version of the Call of Duty has always outsold its PC counterpart. It is one of the few first-person shooter games that is primarily played on consoles, which seems odd for a game that requires rapid reaction times and pinpoint accuracy.

The reason consoles use controllers rather than keyboards and mice is that they are primarily used by casual gamers. Consoles are built for couch co-op and comfort. Although they will never match the accuracy and reaction time of a keyboard and mouse, a controller has certain advantages in sports and racing games due to the pressure sensitive D-pad.

In the age of cross-platform [crossplay] gaming, some developers have found a way to “even the playing field” between console and PC, however this effectively means that console players are giving an unfair advantage with aim and lag and are, in a sense, cheating.

Our games editor, Erina, spoke to a former Treyarch developer who claimed that console gamers have a distinct advantage over their PC counterparts when it comes to competitive gameplay.

“We wanted to do something to make console gamers feel like they could compete with a high-end PC player, because Call of Duty would be unplayable in crossplay if we didn’t incorporate some form of programming that levelled the playing field,” Josh, the developer revealed.

Josh went on to say the following: “As a result, the franchise is so successful on consoles because it makes even the most novice of gamers feel like a veteran. Without this code, not even a seasoned Call of Duty veteran could pull off a 360 No Scope, much less a quickscope. Unfortunately, we’d be losing a significant chunk of our business if it weren’t for it.”

“When participating in a crossplay lobby, a PC player can plainly see the code at work; it will always appear that the console player is pre-firing around corners when the truth is that console latency correction makes it appear that the other player has already peaked the corner. For console gamers, we’ve improved our lag compensation code so that it not only looks to see if a player was there when a shot was fired but also anticipates where the player would be after several server ticks later on. This increases the size of the enemy’s hitbox.”

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“Additionally, the code features a powerful aim assistant that simulates mouse accuracy and it cannot be turned off in the game’s settings. Thumbstick sensitivity helps make it more noticeable. When the crosshair swings quickly over the target, the aim assist zeroes in on that particular player and gives them a shot.”

“Of course the code isn’t perfect,” the former Treyarch developer admitted. “It can be easily exploited. For instance, people who use peripherals to allow the use of keyboard and mouse while spoofing a controller will essentially have aimbot with this aim assist feature. Also, the aim assist system locks onto people despite the fact that they’re hidden in smoke cover or if the console player is blinded by a flashbang.”

“Despite the advantage, I still feel it [the code] is fair and needed,” he added. “But I understand it might suck knowing that the code is doing all the hard work for you.”

Call of Duty: Vanguard, which releases globally September 10th, uses the same code. Josh recommends disabling crossplay for a truly fair experience but warns that lobby waiting times may be high because majority of gamers play on console.

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