The advances in controller building have been revolutionary.
Regardless of the answer to the main question, one thing is for sure: building on console in Fortnite has never been better for console players. While there are still some who stick to old button layouts like Combat Pro, the new default for players is Builder Pro. Builder pro, which assigned each building piece its own dedicated button (triggers and bumpers) was the first major improvement. With the addition of dedicated building sensitivity, instant building placement, and custom keybinding, we are left with our question: is building on console now as capable as PC?
The answer to this question is complicated. Essentially, almost. Console builders like Deyy can easily keep up with, and best, most scrim level PC builders in most aspects. However, there are a few maneuvers that are simply far more difficult on console because of the inherent lack of precise control that a thumb-stick gives in relation to a mouse. An old maneuver illustrates this point well: the double wall, double floor, double ramp push. This is one of the most difficult push methods that top tier players sometimes use. The difficulty comes because it is simply much more difficult to precisely move your thumb back and forth fast enough to place this many materials to accomplish this push. With that said, Innocents is an example of a controller player who can accomplish this push. Nickmercs is an example of a high tier controller player that cannot do this push.
Building sensitivity becomes vital to a complicated building maneuver for the controller player. The player needs a slower sens to aim accurately, and a much faster sense to build quickly. Many controller players use in excess of 2.6 building sensitivity. With that said, mathematically, the controller player only has about a 2-inch radius of surface area to work with where a mouse player can use multiple feet of space with a large mousepad. This means the controller player has to be much more accurate with their movements, down to the millimeter, to accomplish the same building mechanics.
Finally, where controller players really fall behind is Editing. I have not mentioned editing in this blog because I consider it a different skill than building, but if you are to take editing into consideration, the console player is at a massive disadvantage. While custom keybind features have been added for controller players, which allows them to instantly edit rather than needing to hold down the build button as is default on Builder Pro, there are still massive drawbacks to editing with a controller. The main problem is it is simple not realistic to quickly move the thumb-stick as quickly and precisely as a mouse. A mouse uses an enormous area when compared to a thumb-stick, allowing for much easier and faster precision. Imagine if the mouse player could only use a mouse pad a few inches across. They would have to use a much higher sensitivity to make large motions possible. This is equivalent to the controller player. Aim assist is a mechanic built to give the controller player a more level playing field when it comes to aiming your gun, but it does not work well with editing. Editing aim assist is not used by pros because when you shoot your gun, the game knows you are trying to hit the player near the redicle. However, with editing, the game has no way of knowing which square the player intends to hit, so it will often pull the player to the wrong square. Confirm edit on release is becoming more and more popular with controller players because freeing up a keybind and saving time by not having to click a button to confirm their edit can speed up editing times. With that said, there are players who have overcome this drawback and can edit phenomenally well. It’s truly magnificent to watch a controller player like Innocents edit quickly in a box fight. It defies logic how precise he is with his joystick. None, however, can edit as quickly as a pro the likes of Clix, Bugha, or MrSavage.
The only real “editing aim assist” that could possibly help the controller player is to use machine learning to learn what edit the player is likely to be attempting. In this way, the game could predict what squares the player intended to hit and allow for some leeway with a mis-clicked, or missed, square. For example, a common edit is the triangle edit on the top right corner. If the player hits the top two squares and narrowly misses the right middle square, the game could correctly predict the intended edit and fill in the square for the player. This, of course, would be hugely controversial and send the Fortnite community into a downward spiral, especially on Twitter and reddit, as the aim assist fiasco had already done. But hey, maybe this feature could be enabled for mouse players too, and then they wouldn’t feel like the red-headed step child.
The final conclusion is: some console players can build and edit as well or better than many of their PC counterparts, but when compared to the most elite PC builders like Benjifishy, no console players are quite on his level.