Your PC monitor might have a sneaky feature that makes you better at games

A PC gamer looking happy
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Do you have a terrible aim in games with a shooting mechanic? Be it guns, bows or blasters, if you have one of the best gaming monitors on the market then chances are it has a feature that could make hitting your targets much easier.

Fans of most first-person-shooter titles like Battlefield will know what a crosshair is – typically a small circle or x-shaped overlay representing where your shots will land. While many games have this, there are notable exceptions like Rust in which it's absent, which can make trying to down any long-distance base raiders a real pain.

While it's not exactly a secret, it's likely that some of you don't know that some gaming monitors, particularly mid-to-high range models like the Gigabyte Aorus FI27Q-X can come with a crosshair overlay built into the settings that can be activated on any game, providing a tactical advantage against opponents in titles who may not have their own hardware that supports such a feature. 

The overlay will usually place a crosshair in the dead center of your display, so there are a few caveats. If you like to play games in windowed mode (a standard practice for people using ultrawide displays) then you can't adjust where the monitor crosshair sits on your screen, and some games actually set the target location of your shots a little off-center to give players more screen space, so you'll find the overlay isn't actually targeting your opponent.

Some Asus models with GamePlus actually give you a selection of different crosshair overlays to choose from. Make sure you check the user manual of your monitor to check if your model comes with this feature, and if so how to enable it. Typically, you can find the feature in your monitor settings, but the name and location will vary across different brands.

Analysis: Do you really need this?

best M1-compatible Mac games

(Image credit: Epic Games)

There are mixed feelings on this feature of course, with some gamers considering this to be an unfair advantage, branding those who use them as cheaters. It's an understandable stance to take – after all, if the developers of games that lack any aim assist wanted you to use a crosshair, they would have built it into the game, right?

The thing is, a crosshair or any kind of visual assistance is a fantastic accessibility feature, and not every game needs to be viewed with the scrutiny of tournament competitions. People have also been manually creating their own crosshairs for years, so unless you also get mad at the existence of dry erase markers, tape and stickers then this is just a reality of shooting titles. I fondly remember using painter's tape when playing the original Gears of War because my aim was terrible and I just wanted to have fun. 

Outside of hardware, there are also applications you can download that will place a crosshair into any game such as HudSight. It's up to you if you choose to use this aid or not, but it exists for a reason. This isn't any kind of aimbot tech, and players still need to manually aim at their targets, so a visual aid to help new gamers learn the ropes or people with visual impairments to play previously inaccessible games shouldn't be sniffed at.

Monitor crosshairs are hardly a new feature by any stretch, but every few weeks a surprised gamer will discover this 'hack' and run to tell social media. This is your sign to check if your monitor model has a built-in crosshair and go and enjoy your favorite games without sticking anything onto your display.

Jess Weatherbed

Jess is a former TechRadar Computing writer, where she covered all aspects of Mac and PC hardware, including PC gaming and peripherals. She has been interviewed as an industry expert for the BBC, and while her educational background was in prosthetics and model-making, her true love is in tech and she has built numerous desktop computers over the last 10 years for gaming and content creation. Jess is now a journalist at The Verge.