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Console gamepads are 36 times more popular on PC than Steam Controllers

Valve breaks down what controllers are used most on PC

Close up of the Steam Controller's trackpads

Valve began to implement controller support directly with Steam Input back in 2015. Mouse and keyboard controls might be preferred for a number of the biggest genres on PC, but you can’t beat a good gamepad for certain types of games. According to Valve’s data, over 30 million Steam users have made use of at least one controller in their gaming time.

It shouldn’t be surprising to see that Xbox controllers as the most popular pads on PC, since Microsoft’s push for XInput meant they’re supported natively in nearly everything. Xbox 360 pads are by far the most popular with 27.2 million registered, 45% of the total gamepads on Steam. Add 11.5 million Xbox One controllers, and Microsoft pads make up 64% of total controller usage.

PlayStation 4 pads are actually slightly more popular than those from Xbox One, with 12.2 million Sony pads out there. As Valve notes in its Controller Gaming blog, that’s weird – the PS4 controller is a fine one (high among our picks for the best PC controllers), but it’s a bit more of a hassle to get running on PC and games don’t typically offer proper UI for anything but Xbox controllers.

That’s borne out in a separate stat, which shows nearly 20% of Xbox One controller users have used that pad in the last month, compared with less than 10% of PS4 pad users. Repeated PS4 controller use is several percentage points behind nearly everything else, from Xbox and Switch pads to the Steam Controller.

Valve’s own input device is way behind in the numbers, with only 1.5 million registered – roughly equivalent to the total for dedicated PC pads as a whole. In fairness, that’s only a small number in relative terms, and Valve does brag that Steam Controllers are used with a much wider variety of games, including those that don’t officially support gamepad play.

It’s the niche stats that provide the most fun. 431,533 PS2 controllers are registered on Steam, outclassing even fightsticks at 313,712. SNES are letting 195,914 go even more old school. We’ve got 229,215 Rock Band instruments, and over 100,000 items categorized as “everything else” – including race wheels, DIY kits, N64 controllers, and dance pads.

Yes, dance pads. Valve wants to make sure you “don’t forget the 783 dancepads.” How could we?