Despite being nearly 13 years old, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 controller is by far the most popular controller for gamers on P PC gaming’s single largest platform, Steam. According to a report from Steam, 27.2 million players have registered an Xbox 360 controller since 2015, making it more popular than PlayStation 4 and Xbox One gamepads combined.
In 2015, Steam introduced Steam Input, allowing users to easily configure and edit the layout of just about any controller. This cleared the way for players to use whatever device they prefer for their computer games. Before that change, PC developers typically defaulted to supporting the Xbox 360 controller — because it was made by Microsoft, it connected deeply and reliably with the Windows operating system, and besides, many gamers already had one included with their Xbox 360 consoles.
PC gaming is becoming easier thanks to Steam Input integration, and gamers now have more controller options than ever. Steam Input supports more than 200 different controllers, including one made by Steam itself. The software helps ensure compatibility with most PC games without the need for developers to specifically add it themselves.
More than 30 million players have registered at least one controller to Steam, and more than 15 million have registered multiple devices. Nowadays, the Xbox 360 controller accounts for 45% of all controllers registered on Steam, with PlayStation 4 controllers taking 20% of the share, and Microsoft’s Xbox One — the successor to the original Xbox 360 — making up another 19%.
Though nearly two-thirds of Steam users have either an Xbox 360 or Xbox One controller registered, improved support for other devices will begin to chip away at its lead. Still, controllers connected to major consoles will remain popular due to their owner’s familiarity and the ease of adoption for PC.
However, as Steam continues to improve the implementation of new controllers, alternatives to the Xbox controllers have become increasingly popular. Steam introduced full support for Nintendo’s Switch Pro controller in May 2018, about a year after its release, and it is now one of the most popular devices with more than 450,000 players using it. The Steam controller has about 1.5 milion users, and has been used for a larger variety of games than any other, the report says.
Controllers from the most popular consoles will likely remain popular with PC gamers too, due to owner familiarity and the ease of adoption, but Steam Input data shows that there’s no shortage of gamers looking to customize their experience with their favorite device.