Valve says over 30 million Steam users prefer to play with controllers

What do you use on Steam?

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Valve has shared some eye-opening information about folks' gaming habits when hanging out on Steam, and the results might surprise you. The company grabbed a stream of data from various users over the last few years to analyze how people interact with their games, like which players use keyboard and mouse combos to game, and which use controllers.

As it turns out, an overwhelming amount of players – 30 million in fact – use controllers on Steam. Interestingly enough, 783 players are using dance pad controllers, likely for fun speed runs and dance-centric games like Crypt of the Necromancer. Most of the aforementioned controllers are Xbox One and PlayStation-branded, because duh, that's the best way to play anyway.

Out of that data, 15 million have registered more than one controller, and there's a total of 60 million pairs of devices connected to Steam. The rest of the menagerie of controllers includes Steam controllers, Switch Pro controllers, and fightsticks. That's a lot of variety, but we see where most folks' preferences lie, of course.

With the Xbox One getting keyboard and mouse support soon, it's interesting to see this synergy between console controller support and PCs happening. It's proof that in the world of gaming, where there's so many options for just about everyone, you can have your cake and eat it, too. Now, hand us that mouse and keyboard combo on Xbox One.

Senior Editor

Fueled by horror, rainbow-sugar-pixel-rushes, and video games, Brittany is a Senior Editor at Shacknews who thrives on surrealism and ultraviolence. Follow her on Twitter @MolotovCupcake and check out her portfolio for more. Like a fabulous shooter once said, get psyched!

From The Chatty

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    September 25, 2018 5:45 PM

    Brittany Vincent posted a new article, Valve says over 30 million Steam users prefer to play with controllers

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      September 26, 2018 4:56 AM

      All those peasants

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      September 26, 2018 5:41 AM

      It's because some shitty games aren't optimized for keyboard and mouse controls and simply need a controller. Also local multiplayer requires one. Just having one connected doesn't mean it is used a lot.

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        September 26, 2018 7:52 AM

        The story is less about how many people use controllers and more about the breakdown of which ones are used: https://steamcommunity.com/games/593110/announcements/detail/1712946892833213377

        Gamepads are fairly ubiquitous for PC gaming, especially since Windows started supporting Xbox pads natively and console ports became more frequent and expected.
        But even before that I pretty much always had something for some PC games where a mouse and keyboard wasn't ideal. Gravis, Sidewider, PSX to USB adapters, etc.

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          September 26, 2018 8:13 AM

          I should say the *actual* story is about the breakdown of which devices are used.

          The Shack headline makes it out to be like the gamepad is the preferred input method for all these folks, while the original Steam story mentions that is just the number of people who've registered and used at least one gamepad on their system since they've started collecting this data.

          Although it would be neat if they also had data and charts and graphs on number of users + hours played with keyboard and mouse vs gamepad. Mine would probably skew towards gamepad with all the fighting games I play.

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        September 26, 2018 8:30 AM

        Sometimes that's true, but I think it's because a controller actually offers more control in some applications, usually those that benefit from variable analog inputs like racing games and most third party action games. I would never play Battlefield or StarCraft with a controller, but neither would I play Assassin's Creed or Forza with a keyboard.

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        September 26, 2018 8:39 AM

        The flip side of this means that some (probably most at this point) games are better optimized for controller, it's the defacto default nowadays.

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        September 26, 2018 10:35 AM

        Lol, come on.

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      September 26, 2018 7:20 AM

      that's me, i mostly use a controller with a steam link for my games (or the nintendo switch)

      i'm playing through metal gear solid 5 right now and it'd just be a pain to play it with the keyboard and mouse. Plus i love laying on my couch and looking at my giant tv for a lot of games (although i wish the steam link supported 4k resolutions)

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      September 26, 2018 8:53 AM

      That headline is very misleading. I read that and I was really surprised that such a huge number of people would use controlers over kb&m on PC. When I clicked through to the actual data, it's just that 30 million people have used a controler at least once (or even just connected a controler at least once).

      I use my PS4 controller through Steam if I'm playing Platformer games or something like Rocket League. I had some issues with the Switch Pro controller on Steam when it first came out, might have to try again as it seems to be on the rise.

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        September 26, 2018 9:29 AM

        Yeah, I usually don't like to bitch about this stuff but it is misleading this time. "Prefer to also us controllers" or something like that would be more accurate.

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      September 26, 2018 9:44 AM

      Makes sense. Controllers are comfy and not everyone is trying to min/max.

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      September 26, 2018 10:02 AM

      It doesn’t say anything about preference, it says 30 of at least 125million (which is a old datapoint from 2015) active users have a controller connected which is neither "eye-opening" or "overwhelming" there is tons of games that are gamepad dependent on pc.

      There is a big chunk of racing and fighting games released on pc now.
      Few people should want to play a character action game like devil may cry/bayonetta on mouse and keyboard. Dark souls had a barely functional mouse/kb input at launch.

      What is actually surprising developers is how many still people insist on playing a game like nier automata with mouse and keyboard. Platinum games was baffled by their steam stats.

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      September 26, 2018 11:02 AM

      I don't think they know when someone is using a controller vs. a keyboard/mouse, they only know that a controller is attached. They could play 100 games with K/M and a single game with controller and this wouldn't change their stats. The headline feels like a misinterpretation of their results.