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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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Tags: Hardware, Steam
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Patola 26 September 2018 at 11:26 pm UTC
I use the glorious pc master race steam controller for much more than games, from 3d modelling in FreeCAD to casual browsing, thanks to sc-controller for which I have about 100 different configurations. I had registered it in Steam once, but since I now only use it via sc-controller even in Steam, Steam does not know I am using it - I wonder if it had impact on my stats.

As for the "improvements", I consider it an almost perfect biometric device. I couldn't disagree more from people complaining here. The only thing it lacks is a separate mouse wheel. I'm not ok at using an entire touchpad for that.

Last edited by Patola on 27 September 2018 at 12:15 am UTC
sarmad 26 September 2018 at 11:47 pm UTC
It's been many years since the Steam Controller has released and on Linux it still doesn't work out-of-the-box, at least on Ubuntu it doesn't. You always have to tweak system configuration files to get the controller to work. In addition to that, Steam Controller doesn't hot plug into the game, you always have to restart the game to get it to recognize the controller and if you leave the controller idle for a while that it powers off you'll have to restart the game as well, though I'm not sure if other controllers work any better.
Patola 26 September 2018 at 11:56 pm UTC
PatolaI couldn't disagree more from people complaining here.
But what about that sweet, sweet rumble?

There's an action in Batman: Arkham Knight that takes two controller sticks to de-encrypt door locks. Aside from some visual candy, the only way you know you are close to the target is when the rumble kicks up. I can cite many examples, but that is one of the BEST game mechanics I have ever encountered!

(Lock picking on Dying Light had something similar, iirc. Hmm! Must be a WB thing.)

I don't understand your question. Are you asking me if I agree that steam controller's rumble is bad, or are you asking me if I don't miss the rumble when using sc-controller? I don't know if that answers the question, but I usually turn off the rumble altogether because it annoys me a lot, and I don't have much experience with rumble on other gamepads to compare. However, I didn't know these mechanics in Batman, but since I have the game, at one time I will try it.
Salvatos 27 September 2018 at 12:03 am UTC
I was given a Steam Controller from a friend and I'm pretty glad I didn't have to pay for it. It feels just too big in general, with several buttons out of natural reach, and the touchpad surface chafes. PS3 and PS4 controllers would be my controllers of choice, but the last time I tried to use a DUALSHOCK4 on Linux/Steam it made games unplayable because of extreme lag. Looking at those charts, maybe I should try a GameCube controller, since that's the only one I still own ^^
tmtvl 27 September 2018 at 1:12 am UTC
I've got 3 controllers I switch between depending on the game:
A) My Steam controller, which is my absolute favourite as the haptic touchpad is so much more accurate than a normal analog stick. Being able to use a modifier to repurpose the left touchpad to a number dial is massively handy as well.
B) My PS3 controller which works very well with xboxdrv for certain games (Dark Souls) that have don't pick up SC and have problems with my third controller.
C) My Gioteck VX2, basically a knock-off PS1 dualshock controller with turbo feature, which I pretty much only use in RetroArch.

I don't think I could use an Xbox controller as my hands are pretty symmetrical, one of those asymmetric controllers seems like it would be alien to use.
AbsyntheSyne 27 September 2018 at 1:27 am UTC
All this text and you didn't even mention the 195k of people using the SNES controller
TheSyldat 27 September 2018 at 1:33 am UTC
Steam Controller user over here as well. And in terms of "rumble" I vastly prefer the barebones sensation of those haptic motorts that Valve decided to use . Heck some games have made some very clever use of those haptic motors and showed how nuanced they can be when used properly. Sooo for me I stick to using the Steam Controller most of the time and every now and then there is that one game that I can't see myself playing with it and I'll go back to good old PS4 controller . PS 3 was okay when it was best thing around but with the PS4 one being around there is little reason to keep using the PS3 controller lately.
ElectricPrism 27 September 2018 at 2:55 am UTC
I had 4x Xbox 360 controllers.

I have 4 Xbox One S controllers
4 DualShock 4 Controllers
and 2 Steam Controllers

Steam Controllers are good in very specific niche use-cases like when you want your controller to "just work" with no configuration.
The battery is excellent.
The range is good.
I am salty about not having a 2nd thumbstick for my FPS games.

The DualShock 4 controllers have terrible bluetooth range, I don't know why.
Also the battery on them isn't very good, it discharges too easily and modding them for a larger battery causes other problems.

The Xbox One controller feels great and works great but requires a Mini USB cable to work good.
The battery is fine but It's AA and not rechargeable.
The thumbsticks are more loose than the Xbox 360 IMO.
The old version triggers were absolute trash.
I think they are on v3 now.
It doens't work on Bluetooth IIRC at all yet but there is a bounty.

The Xbox 360 Controllers I used to have were battery powered.
They were the most reliable out of all controllers and had excellent range and good battery life -- though AA.
The most anoying thing was they were not Bluetooth and had a big ackward dongle you had to plug in in addition to your other USB devices -- this lead to me buying newer controllers and encountering the problems listed above.
It was a good run, but I was done.

Anyways, hope that info helps some people in the community who are unsure about the situation.

Maybe the new DS4v2+ newest version with the vertical line light is better. Personally I like the beauty and light weight of the symetry.

Steam Controller's best feature is the 6 triggers by far.

The ABXY buttons are fucking small -- very annoying.
The D-Pad imprint is annoying -- I wish it was unimprinted in the left circle touchpad. Also I wish there was another version that had 2 joysticks or that the touchpads were physically detachable to replace with joysticks as needed.

Last edited by ElectricPrism on 27 September 2018 at 2:57 am UTC
Botonoski 27 September 2018 at 3:57 am UTC
I rewired my Duke controller to work on PC years ago and have been using that for basically everything. When I think about it the Duke controller might've been a contributor to why I moved to Linux. The unofficial drivers needed to get the Duke controller working on Windows never really got updated to work officially on anything above XP which became a problem when I upgraded to Vista. I got an Ubuntu 8 LiveCD at a local computer store and the controller just worked with no setup and I was a little shocked.

Maybe I'll pick up that Duke controller remake that Hyperkin has released for the Xbox One, maybe I'll just chop off my hands and get smaller ones so that I can use a 360 controller comfortably.
no_information_here 27 September 2018 at 4:06 am UTC
I have a couple old PS2 controllers I used to like using for platformers. Steam kept losing the settings and games kept wanting a 360 pad. Has the new controller system fixed that? I would love to use them again.

I also have a 360 controller. Decent and solid.

I love my Steam Controller. I have ranted before, but here is my pro-con list:

+ I love the right thumbpad for 1st person games.
+ The underside triggers are awesome.
+ The customization is excellent.
+ The gyro can be really good for fine tuning aim.

- The left thumb pad is worse than useless. Give me a D-pad dammit.
- The haptic was intolerable. I was ecstatic when they gave me a universal off switch.
- The button positions and springs are a little imbalanced, but I got used to them.

Overall, it is still brilliant, but could be even better. I stopped using my 360 controller, but might plug in the PS2 for the D-pad and see if it works again.
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