Valve has been tracking its Steam members on how users interact with the platform and the company has revealed interesting statistics on the usage, amount of external devices and the make of the controllers registered through Steam.
– Since 2015, over 30 million players have registered at least one controller and over 15 million of those players have registered more than one.
– Between accounts with multiple controllers and controllers that have been registered to multiple accounts, a total of 60 million device-account pairs have been connected to Steam.
– Xbox controllers are essentially the default controller for PC games
– Nearly 40 million Xbox 360 and Xbox One controllers have been connected to Steam, representing 64% of all controllers.
– Microsoft made a concerted effort to drive adoption of XInput, the underlying protocol, and that work resulted in widespread support by game developers. Because built-in support is overwhelmingly XInput support, an Xbox controller can be used on most of the game titles.
– PlayStation 4 is an extremely popular console with a great controller.
– With only 12 million compared to the Xbox controller, despite the high ownership data point, the built-in support is uncommon, so players turn to software that translates their PlayStation 4 controller input into Xbox controller input. This has a few drawbacks. For example, a game may prompt you to ‘press Y to jump’, when, in reality, you should be pressing the triangle button.
– The Switch Pro controller is the most popular for a new device
– The Switch Pro controller arrived in 2017 and players immediately began attaching them to their PCs. In May 2018, a Steam update enabled the full feature set of the device, added matching artwork in the UI, and improved the overall experience. The result was an acceleration in Switch Pro controller registrations and a rise to the 7th most popular controller type on Steam.
Steam is able to support over 200 controller models, and a full Steam Input integration has the additional benefit of creating a uniform experience across devices. In future, Steam Client updates will easily register new controllers without any effort from the developer.