Valve have revealed some interesting statistics regarding the usage of controllers on Steam and it turns out that for the time being, Xbox gamepads rule supreme with 64 per cent, which amounts to 38.7 million controllers on the platform.
PlayStation controllers ain't doing too shabby either with 16.3 million PS4 and PS3 gamepads, which accounts for 27 per cent. The remaining 4.9 million, or 8 per cent, is reserved for the rest of the lot, including the likes of Steam Controller, Switch Pro and even Super Nintendo Entertainment System ones.
Valve explained that Microsoft's prevalence on Steam has a lot to do with the company's implementation of the XInput protocol. XInput has become a widely adopted industry standard and its seamless integration with PC and Steam obviously made it a fan favourite.
Interestingly enough, Valve said that PS4 controllers are "surprisingly abundant" considering the fact that Sony don't really like playing with anyone else. Well, anyone else than Epic for the time being. While 12 million PS4 controllers is most certainly a respectable figure, players must use software that interprets and translates PS4 input into Xbox-compatible one.
This invariably results in confusion when gamers are told to press Y for instance, and Valve claim that "these mental translations can be a deal-breaker". In fact, the company says that monthly playtime data actually shows evidence of this happening regularly.
They also pointed out that PS4 would likely catch up on Xbox somewhat if there was more game-side integration. This is exactly the type of support that Valve hope to address with upcoming Steam Input iterations. We will be learning more about Steam Input in the following months though, as the company are keen to take this task off of the hands of game developers.
Although not particularly prominent at the moment, Valve claim that the Switch Pro controller has made great strides since it launched in 2017, which was greatly helped by GabeN and Co's tinkering. Steam's update from May 2018 added key features and apparently greatly increased the device's responsiveness and it's likely to only get better.
You can find out more in Valve's full post here.