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Valve have released some interesting statistics about controller use

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Valve recently put up a blog post to talk about controller use on PC and some of their statistics are a little surprising.

While a lot of the time our trusty mouse and keyboard combination remains king, controllers (gamepads—whatever) are still widely used and they can provide a better experience in certain genres.

Going by Valve's data, since 2015 over 30 million people have registered a controller with over 15 million registering more than one. 

It doesn't surprise me at all the the Xbox 360 controller is the most widely used. It's actually a pretty comfortable controller to use, but more than that it works great on PC too. There were versions marketed specifically for the PC for years as well and since the Xbox 360 was pretty popular, it shouldn't be a shock people stuck with it. I'm actually surprised the Steam Controller seems to be used so little comparatively as it's been out for a few years now.

The Switch Pro is probably the biggest surprise, hitting nearly half a million already after only around a year and a half.

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41 comments
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scaine 26 September 2018 at 9:34 pm UTC
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Most of the games I use a controller for need a right thumb-stick and I never got used to the haptic touchpad thingy on my steam controller. Despite its comfort and cool-factor, I went back to my wired Xbox360 controller. It tends to work "out of the box" for more games too, whereas the SC usually needed a community set up to get it working.
tonR 26 September 2018 at 9:43 pm UTC
Well, it have significant flaw here. Some cheap non-brand (sometimes faked) controller are emulating/using/tricking as Xbox 360 drivers to work on Windows instead "others".

Also, just avoid reading steamcommunity comments. As usual.
Segata Sanshiro 26 September 2018 at 9:49 pm UTC
If you're not looking at the percentages, I'd say 1.5 million sales of the Steam Controller makes it quite a bit of a success in terms of raw sales. Judging from the stats, it has more units registered than Logitech and similar ones.

If they release a second iteration with some improvements, they could probably be up there with the PS3 or higher.

They should maybe lower the price too. Controllers are quite pricey and the stats in general seem to show that people are just using their existing controllers from their respective consoles on PC rather than buying something specific. If they could make a cheaper wired option then more people would probably be tempted to buy the Steam Controller specifically for PC gaming.
buckysrevenge 26 September 2018 at 9:54 pm UTC
I primarily use 2 steam controllers and have 2 Xbox 360's when we're playing more than 2 players. There are games where the right pad works fine (1st and 3rd person games like Doom and Tombraider), but it's harder to use in 2D games that require precision with a right analog stick. Could be I'm just not programming it correctly.
Ehvis 26 September 2018 at 10:21 pm UTC
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QuoteThe Switch Pro is probably the biggest surprise, hitting nearly half a million already after only around a year and a half.

What about the 200k SNES controllers?
jarhead_h 26 September 2018 at 10:30 pm UTC
I didn't graduate to the Glorious PC Gaming Master Race to use a thumb pad. Mouse and Keyboard..... except when I'm playing an emulated NES/SNES/GENESIS game. Those were just made for controllers. And thanks to SC controller my Steam controller seems to work for that.
Grifter 26 September 2018 at 10:35 pm UTC
NeptNutzI routinely would have the camera go haywire in Rocket League any time the side of my thumb touched the right touchpad

Default settings for Rocket League using steam controller is atrocious, but it doesn't take a whole lot of effort to make it nice; (disclaimer: in my opinion) Change the right touchpad from "joystick camera" to "joystick move", just this change will make it muuuch more natural to use, I also have an inner deadzone 3 blips from 0 and a maxed outer deadzone. Ff you're accidentally hitting the outer edge of the touchpad a lot you can create a deadzone area that follows the outer edge, I used to do this because I tripped it a lot too, it takes some majiggering with inner and outer deadzones to create this border but it does work. For me one day I stopped accidentally hitting it though, so now I only keep the inner deadzone. Combine this with adjusting the ingame setting "camera swivel speed" to find your sweet spot.

EDIT: I should mention that I also prioritize horizontal (100%) movement over vertical (50%), which helps keep the camera from going everywhere when you're looking for teammates.


Last edited by Grifter at 26 September 2018 at 10:43 pm UTC
joaojotta 26 September 2018 at 10:52 pm UTC
I’m a bit surprised about the little usage the Steam Controller has but then I think about the price, the non-convenience and somewhat bad critics it had and it’s actually OK.

I mean: it costs almost the same as a Xbox Controller, I don’t think you can buy it in that many stores, and it had pretty bad reviews when it came out.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s GREAT!! I just love it!
Dunc 26 September 2018 at 10:55 pm UTC
QuoteI'm actually surprised the Steam Controller seems to be used so little comparatively as it's been out for a few years now.
Well, 1.5 million's hardly a figure to be sniffed at, especially since anyone who also owns a console will have its controller to hand anyway and the SC has to be specially bought. “A bit more than generic PC gamepads” sounds about right to me.

I've mentioned it before, but the only thing I have trouble with using it in is driving games. It's nothing to do with the touchpads, though; it's mainly the shorter throw and weaker springs on the triggers making it harder to modulate throttle and braking. I know they're analog, but compared to the 360 controller they feel almost like on-off digital switches. With everything else though, it's absolutely fine.

I suspect there are actually even more people using 360 controllers than that. Mine wasn't registered in Steam until I saw this survey yesterday, and I've been using it for years.
TPhaster 26 September 2018 at 11:15 pm UTC
A few months ago I was looking for a controller that suits me best and finally decided to bought Xbox One. I'm very happy with it - price was reasonable, design and quality is very good. It works on Debian with no problems wired and with almost no problems wireless (but xpadneo driver fixes most of them).

I was considering Xbox 360 controller as a cheap and durable option, but it has one big flaw - really bad D-pad! Most people probably don't care, but if you need precision (like in Spelunky) analog stick is not enough. I also tried on Steam Controller for a few days, but found it very cumbersome.
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