Xbox Controllers Dominate Steam: The Go-To Choice for PC Gamers

Xbox Controllers Dominate Steam: The Go-To Choice for PC Gamers

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In the ever-evolving world of PC gaming, one constant remains: the popularity of Xbox controllers on Steam. Recent data from Valve, the company behind the Steam platform, reveals that Xbox controllers continue to reign supreme among PC gamers. This article delves into the reasons behind this trend and explores the current state of controller usage on Steam.

The Rise of Controller Usage on Steam

Steam, the largest digital distribution platform for PC games, has seen a significant increase in controller usage over the years. In 2018, only 5% of Steam users regularly used controllers. Fast forward to today, and that number has tripled, with 15% of Steam users now incorporating controllers into their daily gaming sessions.

Xbox Controllers: The Clear Winner

According to Valve's statistics, a staggering 59% of controller sessions on Steam involve Xbox controllers. This dominance is particularly noteworthy when compared to other popular options:

  • Xbox controllers: 59%
  • PlayStation controllers: 26%
  • Steam Deck controllers: 10%

Why Do PC Gamers Prefer Xbox Controllers?

Several factors contribute to the ongoing popularity of Xbox controllers among PC gamers:

  • Native Windows support: Microsoft's ownership of both Xbox and Windows ensures seamless integration.
  • Familiar layout: Many PC games are designed with Xbox controller layouts in mind.
  • Durability and ergonomics: Xbox controllers are known for their comfortable design and long-lasting build quality.
  • Wide availability: Xbox controllers are easily accessible and often competitively priced.

Steam's Commitment to Controller Support

Valve has been actively improving controller support on Steam, which may be contributing to the overall increase in controller usage. Recent updates include:

  • A redesigned Big Picture mode
  • A new controller configurator
  • Enhanced gyroscope support
  • Virtual menus added to the desktop version of Steam
  • Improved support for PlayStation controllers (including DualSense Edge)
  • Better support for Xbox controllers (including back buttons on Xbox Elite models)

The Rise of Steam Input

Valve's proprietary Steam Input platform, which allows for universal controller support, is gaining traction. Currently, 42% of controller sessions on Steam utilize Steam Input, showcasing its growing popularity among users.

The Future of Controllers on Steam

As controller usage continues to grow on Steam, we're seeing new innovations in the market. For example, Japanese controller manufacturer HORI has announced a new gamepad developed in collaboration with Valve. This controller features Steam-specific buttons, additional programmable buttons, and both wired and Bluetooth connectivity options.


The dominance of Xbox controllers on Steam highlights the ongoing convergence of console and PC gaming experiences. As more PC gamers embrace controllers and platforms like Steam continue to improve their support, we can expect to see even greater integration between these two gaming worlds. Whether you're a die-hard keyboard and mouse user or a controller enthusiast, Steam's evolving ecosystem ensures that all gamers can enjoy their preferred input method.