What are the best gamepads for pc

The best controllers for the PC: The right pad for the gaming computer

While the mouse and keyboard for first-person shooters and strategy games remain the first choice for most PC gamers, many other genres are often better optimized for the controller. Fortunately, most of the current gamepads work without any major configuration chaos on the computer. But which are the best controllers for the PC?

Best PC controller: Xbox One gamepad

As the heir to the 360 ​​pad, which succeeded in establishing a new standard among PC controllers, the Xbox One controller is currently the reference. The PC games that supported the controller of the Xbox 360 now also automatically support the Xbox One pad - current titles with controller support anyway.

Those who rely on the buttons to be displayed also have the best conditions with the Xbox controller. Most games with controller support show you the button prompts of Xbox 360 or Xbox One when the pad is connected.

Another advantage is the flexibility when connecting the controller. You can simply connect it to the PC using a microUSB cable, which means you have the lowest input lag. The controller can also be used wirelessly, as usual on the console. Either you use the wireless adapter for Windows, with which you can connect up to four Xbox One controllers to the PC at the same time via Microsoft's proprietary wireless standard, or you simply use Bluetooth. It should be noted that Bluetooth is more susceptible to interference and only current second-generation Xbox One controllers support the wireless standard.

The often criticized use of AA batteries can also be an advantage. In combination with rechargeable batteries, you never have to connect the controller to the cable while playing. If the batteries are all, you just change them. In addition, permanently installed rechargeable batteries have the disadvantage that they lose performance after a few years, which is not a problem with the Xbox One Pad, since you can simply replace the batteries or rechargeable batteries at any time without tinkering.

Just past the throne: the PS4 controller

Our second choice for a PC controller is also a pad that was originally developed for a console. Sony's DualShock 4 is also very popular among PC gamers. In contrast to the previous PlayStation controllers, the DS4 has been given a lot of ergonomics, so that many players can even see the PS4 pad over the Xbox controllers - especially if they have slightly smaller hands.

The growing popularity was also noticed by the developers, which is why more and more PC titles support the PlayStation Pad natively and also have the appropriate button prompts. Compared to the Xbox controller, the direct support is still small. Fortunately, Valve also responded, so that the DS4 can now be recognized in Steam and completely set up in the controller settings. So you can use the PS4 pad for all games with controller support and also play non-Steam games with it, if you add them to Steam. You are no longer dependent on hobby drivers such as DS4Windows.

You can either connect the controller to the PC via a microUSB cable or wirelessly via Bluetooth. The official DualShock 4 USB wireless adapter from Sony is unfortunately no longer in production and is being sold for horrendous prices. Since this only uses the Bluetooth standard, you can also use any other Bluetooth dongle for a fraction of the price.

For retro fans: 8BitDo controller

If you don't like all the nonsense with analog sticks, several shoulder buttons and vibration motors, you should take a closer look at the controllers from 8BitDo. Especially the two models SN30 and M30, which are each based on the Super Nintendo gamepad and the MegaDrive controller.

8BitDo has proven to be a particularly recommendable manufacturer of classic controllers with modern extensions. If you need a suitable controller for old-school games in retro or emulator form, you can get a Bluetooth controller with good battery power that comes very close to the look and feel of the originals.

In addition to XInput, they also support DirectInput, which means that they can also be used as a controller in many classic PC games. There is also a mode for Mac computers and the Nintendo Switch.

Budget controller: Nacon Compact Controller

Controllers from different peripheral manufacturers usually don't have the best reputation. Even if the name Nacon is still relatively new, the company has been gathering experience in the manufacture of gaming accessories since the mid-1990s: Before that, they sold their hardware under the name Bigben.

The Nacon Compact Controller is particularly suitable for PC gamers who usually play with a mouse and keyboard and only need a controller for a few titles. As standard, the controller is already available for around 35 euros and thus tears a much smaller hole in your wallet.

The wired controller is available in 5 different colors, has a touchpad, vibration motors and a headset connection. In addition to XInput on the PC, the controller is also compatible with the PS4, and is ideal as a second controller for local multiplayer games.

Controller on the PC? Nowadays finally "uniform"

Before the Xbox 360 pad, the controller support on the PC was like the wild west. Even if Microsoft had previously manufactured joysticks and controllers for the PC market, there was no standard in many areas. On the one hand, developers sometimes removed controller support from the PC version, even with multiplatform titles, on the other hand, controllers were often not compatible with every game.

The “PC” as an open system does not have one controller, but offers a number of different gamepads from different manufacturers - or as console players would say “third-party providers”. The quality can fluctuate accordingly here.

If you wanted to use the original controller of your favorite console on your PC, you were faced with the next problem: No USB connection. The proprietary connections of the various manufacturers required adapters. And so that the whole thing is also recognized on the computer, a driver that mostly seemed cobbled together and unfinished. Here you could look forward to problems such as digital inputs from the analog sticks, non-functioning vibration or the complete crash of the controller support in the middle of the game.

You already notice: Everything wasn't better in the past - the controller support on the PC definitely wasn't!

What is XInput and DirectInput?

XInput and DirectInput are both programming interfaces (API) that belong to Microsoft's DirectX and allow a program to be controlled via an analog or digital input device on the PC. XInput is the current standard that Microsoft first introduced with the Xbox 360 controller under Windows XP. Most PC games from 2005 onwards use XInput.

The Xbox gamepad and many other XInput controllers are configured to work with old software that only supports DirectInput. In individual cases, however, incompatibilities may arise. You can configure old DirectInput devices with an additional Xbox 360 controller emulator so that you can also use them in games that only support XInput.

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