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Valve put out a small and sweet update for Steam Deck OS (SteamOS) 3.4 Preview, which adds in support for the 8BitDo Ultimate Wireless controller dongle.

While it already worked in the Bluetooth mode, it didn't without a load of tinkering with the dedicated low-latency dongle. Nice to see Valve move quickly to support third-party pads like this. Must admit my own temptation to pick one up has increased. Seems like a nice controller, especially nice with the back paddles too.

Other additions in the update include rumble support to the built-in hid-steam controller driver and they fixed a USB crash when using certain controllers such as the Hori Fighting Stick α.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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21 comments
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1xok 3 Dec, 2022
On this occasion, do any of you have experience with the 8BitDo Pro 2 and the Steam Deck?
tamodolo 3 Dec, 2022
As no gamepad reviewer measures actual latency and just limit itself to report one's own perception of the product I must say that this misleading type of non cientific review deceaved me greatly. I bought a SN30 pro+ 2 years ago. While I used at the time (and now) the awesome DS4 as main gamepad for everything that can be used with, I wanted a gamepad that was more friendly to remember which mode was connected to. The impact in the high latency was imediate so I went measure it and found astounishing bad results...

For a good gamepad review you need to measure at least these behaviors:

- Input delay (it's the polling rate). This measures the time between inputs. It's very important this does not have jitter as it'll ruin experience. This can't be done on consoles but as every gamepad nowadays can be connected to PC, this must be measured. (and no reviewer do this)
- overhall input lag (the total one). This measures time from button press to action on screen. This is not absolute like input delay as it depends on the user setup. So a comparison with something known like a largely used gamepad like DS4 or XBOX Controller must be used as reference.

My results:

Input delay: SN30 pro+ have horrible input delay. Over bt it have a lot of dummy packages around 3 to 5 ms and an actual data pacage around 33ms (this makes this gamepad updates it's input around 30 Hz. This is very low). Over USB all data updates twice as fast with dummy packages around 1 to 2ms and a real data package around 15ms (the actual update rate was calculed to be around 66 Hz... my God...). The update pattern is 2 dummy package and 1 real data package. I reported this many times to 8bitdo for them to just let my support ticket expire every single time without answer and never fix it. Some values for reference: XBOX Controller have a polling rate of 125 Hz but skips one entry every second (I don't know why but this shouldn't really be a problem). The Switch joycons also updates at 125 Hz but no skips. DS4 is the best one with a polling rate of 250 Hz (this is really amazing)

Input lag: I measured input lag for SN30 pro+ on Nintendo Switch in compasison with the Joycons and the DS4 using mission control to enable it on the console.

DS4 operates downclocked on Switch to save bt bandwith (it's a deliberated choice from Mission Control devs) so the actual measured diference using a high speed camera between DS4 and Joycons are within measure error (5 ms +-) (any cell phone can shoot 120fps nowadays. Mine can shoot 240 fps and it was used to measure time).

SN30 pro+ was astounishing 50 ms higher than the two when over bt. This is really bad results as it falls under human perception levels of lag.

I cannot in any sense or for any use recomend any 8bitdo controller. The "best" gamepad they had at marketing and reviews level is just a very bad, crap level of a product.

You SHOULD NOT buy anything from 8bitdo.

I also strongly recomend staying away from any 3rd party gamepad that don't have at least this type of data made public. Stick to the ones that have like XBOX and DS4/Dualsense

Edit: I forgot to mention that some windows games just give up on this gamepad as long as 5 minutes after beying started. Easy example: Trails in the sky trilogy.


Last edited by tamodolo on 3 December 2022 at 12:11 pm UTC
HJ 3 Dec, 2022
Ultimate, my ass is ultimate! Here's cutdown version of Steam Input but built into controller. Respects the classics yet uses Xbox layout which sucks for retro retro games.
Chuckaluphagus 3 Dec, 2022
Quoting: 1xokOn this occasion, do any of you have experience with the 8BitDo Pro 2 and the Steam Deck?
Yes, I do. I have two of them, and have used them with my Steam Deck. They pair correctly via Bluetooth and seem to have quite low latency, or at least low enough that I don't notice any input lag. I quite like them as controllers, too.
slaapliedje 3 Dec, 2022
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Quoting: tamodoloAs no gamepad reviewer measures actual latency and just limit itself to report one's own perception of the product I must say that this misleading type of non cientific review deceaved me greatly. I bought a SN30 pro+ 2 years ago. While I used at the time (and now) the awesome DS4 as main gamepad for everything that can be used with, I wanted a gamepad that was more friendly to remember which mode was connected to. The impact in the high latency was imediate so I went measure it and found astounishing bad results...

For a good gamepad review you need to measure at least these behaviors:

- Input delay (it's the polling rate). This measures the time between inputs. It's very important this does not have jitter as it'll ruin experience. This can't be done on consoles but as every gamepad nowadays can be connected to PC, this must be measured. (and no reviewer do this)
- overhall input lag (the total one). This measures time from button press to action on screen. This is not absolute like input delay as it depends on the user setup. So a comparison with something known like a largely used gamepad like DS4 or XBOX Controller must be used as reference.

My results:

Input delay: SN30 pro+ have horrible input delay. Over bt it have a lot of dummy packages around 3 to 5 ms and an actual data pacage around 33ms (this makes this gamepad updates it's input around 30 Hz. This is very low). Over USB all data updates twice as fast with dummy packages around 1 to 2ms and a real data package around 15ms (the actual update rate was calculed to be around 66 Hz... my God...). The update pattern is 2 dummy package and 1 real data package. I reported this many times to 8bitdo for them to just let my support ticket expire every single time without answer and never fix it. Some values for reference: XBOX Controller have a polling rate of 125 Hz but skips one entry every second (I don't know why but this shouldn't really be a problem). The Switch joycons also updates at 125 Hz but no skips. DS4 is the best one with a polling rate of 250 Hz (this is really amazing)

Input lag: I measured input lag for SN30 pro+ on Nintendo Switch in compasison with the Joycons and the DS4 using mission control to enable it on the console.

DS4 operates downclocked on Switch to save bt bandwith (it's a deliberated choice from Mission Control devs) so the actual measured diference using a high speed camera between DS4 and Joycons are within measure error (5 ms +-) (any cell phone can shoot 120fps nowadays. Mine can shoot 240 fps and it was used to measure time).

SN30 pro+ was astounishing 50 ms higher than the two when over bt. This is really bad results as it falls under human perception levels of lag.

I cannot in any sense or for any use recomend any 8bitdo controller. The "best" gamepad they had at marketing and reviews level is just a very bad, crap level of a product.

You SHOULD NOT buy anything from 8bitdo.

I also strongly recomend staying away from any 3rd party gamepad that don't have at least this type of data made public. Stick to the ones that have like XBOX and DS4/Dualsense

Edit: I forgot to mention that some windows games just give up on this gamepad as long as 5 minutes after beying started. Easy example: Trails in the sky trilogy.
It has been a while since I looked, and so my memory is fuzzy, but there is someone who does all of the latency testing with the MiSTer FPGA project, and I am pretty sure 8bitdo overall do pretty great on that front. But that project has the SNAC stuff that lets you use original controls.

I have a few 8bitdo controllers and have never really had issues with them.
denyasis 3 Dec, 2022
I have 8bitdo controller for the switch. Really nice controller. I've been wondering about using it with a PC running steam. It's really nice they keep adding support!
emphy 3 Dec, 2022
Gentle reminder that fwupd supports 8bitdo's controllers. Not sure how it would be handled on the steam deck and other systems, but in ubuntu that means you can update their firmware with a simple click, directly from the software centre.

Updating firmware is very much recommended for older 8bitdo controllers, since that solves most problems with disconnecting and unusually high lag over bt.


Last edited by emphy on 3 December 2022 at 5:26 pm UTC
ScottBKing 3 Dec, 2022
I would love to be able to fully map the Pro 2, back buttons included, in the Steam Configurator. I don't know what the process is to get an official controller definition is, but are there any tools to help in the meantime?
tuubi 3 Dec, 2022
Quoting: emphyGentle reminder that fwupd supports 8bitdo's controllers. Not sure how it would be handled on the steam deck and other systems, but in ubuntu that means you can update their firmware with a simple click, directly from the software centre.
That is true, but sadly 8BitDo hasn't uploaded any new firmware files to the LVFS for a couple of years now. I've contacted them to ask about this, and they simply sent me the latest firmware file for my gamepad so I can update manually. Complete silence about fwupd/LVFS.

That said, I was very happy with the Pro+, and I'm even happier with the Pro 2. The back buttons in the Pro 2 don't do anything, but I think they can only be programmed to double as some of the face buttons even on Windows, so meh. Also the gyro is only active in Switch mode for some reason, and then you lose analogue triggers...

Anyway, better build quality and ergonomics than any controller I've used before.
CZiNTrPT 3 Dec, 2022
Honestly, since discovering flickstick via steamdeck I can't imagine buying a controller without gyro anymore. Feels downright archaic.

Just today I finally started playing Doom with it and suddenly that game is fun(-ish. I'm not that big on FPS and even less on horror)
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