In addition to measuring out the top games of 2018 on Steam, Valve has carved out a special section in their blog for those who play PC games with a controller. Not only do Valve’s measurements go into what types of game are forgoing traditional PC controls, they’re also dividing them among each of the four different controller types. When looking at the unique games lists, you can see profiles begin to emerge based on what controller a gamer uses.
First, a quick look at how Valve is measuring these lists. According to their blog post, 36.7 million players used a controller on Steam this year. They first looked at what games were most popular for each controller, factoring in how long they were available in 2018 to avoid having a list full of January hits. They then picked out 15 games for each controller that were uniquely suited to the specific hardware. With these stats in hand, here are some of the conclusions we can draw about what games people are playing with everything from the DualShock 4 to the Switch Controller Pro.
Looking first at the Xbox One controller, you see the types of games you may expect people to play this way on PC. Big console games like the Batman: Arkham series or Far Cry 4 appear alongside more recent fare like Warhammer Vermintide 2. The only game that doesn’t fit is Jurassic World: Evolution, although that game did launch on consoles as well as PC, so it kind of makes sense. These are games that are well suited for a gamepad, and the Xbox layout is the standard even in an age where they’re on the bottom of the pile.
Things get a bit more interesting when we look at PlayStation 4’s unique games. People with a DualShock are leaning towards fighting games, with Street Fighter 5‘s exclusivity seemingly leading the way. Other genre hits appearing here include Tekken 7, Guilty Gear Xrd, and Soul Calibur VI. The other pattern you can see is quite a few Japanese titles, but even those are led with a few fighting games like Blazblue Cross Tag Battle and Under Night In-Birth. Perhaps Sony’s recent stand against some visual novel-style fare has had PS4 gamers heading towards their computers.
You can probably guess the style of game that Switch Pro Controller users are coming to PC for. We’ve got plenty of platformers and smaller experiences, led by The Messenger, A Hat in Time, and Mega Man 11. We amusingly also see a few platform fighters in Brawlout and Slap City. Perhaps Nintendo gamers were too eager for Smash Ultimate earlier in the year. Finally, there’s Monster Hunter: World, which makes sense given that the game won’t see a Switch release any time soon.
Now, you may not remember, but Valve has a dog in this hunt as well. While the Steam Controller hasn’t seen wide adoption, there are plenty of situations where it shines. Especially when you want to play a mouse-centric game in the living room. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Valve’s controller has plenty of strategy and PC-first titles on its list. From Civilization to Cities Skylines to Battletech, the list covers all the bases. Add in games PC-first RPGs like Pillars of Eternity and the crazy folks still playing Oblivion after all these years, and you get a definite picture of who is buying Valve’s hardware.
Valve ends their analysis on a fun note, stating that the 700 or so people with PC dance pads lean towards The Metronomicon and Crypt of the NecroDancer. While this is all just looking for connections in a pile of statistics, it does go to show how much progress we’ve seen in the adaption of controllers to PC. At the start of the generation, it was notable when a major PC port had good controller functionality, and now it’s pretty much a standard. Choice is king, and whether you choose to use a gamepad for accessibility or comfort, you can rest assured that the vast majority of the developers out there have already factored that in for you.