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Valve offers full support on Steam to all new controllers

Platform holder looks to address 22 million controllers still relying on user-created input configurations

Valve has announced that future Steam Client updates will offer full support to all new controller types, "without any effort from the developer".

The news comes after Valve revealed data showing the popularity of all different controllers among Steam users, including everything from the PlayStation 4 to the N64.

In 2015 Valve released Steam Input; these tools allowed users to map various devices to any combination of inputs a game might understand, then share and modify the configurations, allowing the best version to "boil to the top".

Since then, over 30 million users have registered at least one controller on their Steam account, and over 15 million have registered more than one. In total, over 60 million device-account pairs have been registered on Steam.

By far the most populous is the Xbox 360 which accounts for 45 per cent of controllers on the platform. The PS4 comes in second with 20 per cent, and the Xbox One third with 19 per cent.

Although Xbox controllers account for a combined 64 per cent of all controllers on the platform, the remaining 22 million devices still rely on user-created input mapping; this includes over 4.1 million PS3 controllers, and 450,000 Nintendo Switch Pro controllers.

While Valve conceded that the PS4 controller is "surprisingly abundant" on Steam, it noted that Xbox One engagement was nearly twice as high; only nine per cent of PS4 controllers have been active in the last month, compared to nearly 20 per cent of Xbox One controllers.

One cause of this significant disparity, Valve suggests, is the lack of UI translation from Xbox to PlayStation. "This has a few drawbacks," said Valve. "For example, a game may prompt you to 'press Y to jump', when, in reality, you should be pressing the triangle button.

"These mental translations can be a deal-breaker for certain PS4 controller users, and we see evidence that this is occurring in the monthly playtime data."

Although not guaranteed, Valve said that a potential solution would be to offer "full Steam Input integration on the game side"; this would include the enabling of in-game hints based on controller type.

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Ivy Taylor avatar
Ivy Taylor: Ivy joined in 2017 having previously worked as a regional journalist, and a political campaigns manager before that. They are also one of the UK's foremost Sonic the Hedgehog apologists.
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