PC gaming is the best gaming experience available today.
Unless, of course, you don’t like playing with a keyboard and mouse.
Some people have grown used to gamepad gaming over time. And for these people, gaming with a keyboard and mouse simply isn’t an option.
You need a gamepad. Fortunately, there are lots of good gamepads available for PC these days. Today, I’m going to list 5 of the most important things to consider while shopping for a PC gaming gamepad:
5) Xbox One controller versus Xbox 360 controller
The two most popular PC controllers on the market today are the Xbox One controller and the Xbox 360 controller, both of which have Windows drivers available for free.
Which one should you choose? Well, the Xbox 360 controller, oddly enough, is wireless, while the newer Xbox One controller is only available in wired format for the PC. So if wireless controller support is important, then you need the Xbox 360 (at least until Microsoft releases the Xbox One wireless dongle).
No matter which controller you buy, however, you get the added benefit of being able to play on your Xbox and PC with the same controller.
Some people like having a PC-only controller that they never need to disconnect. Others would rather save money and use the same gaming controller for their PC and Xbox.
The Xbox One controller is a superior controller in terms of build quality and responsiveness. But some people prefer the classic appearance and feel of the 360 controller.
4) Realize that first-person shooters play very differently on PC when compared to console due to the lack of aiming assistance
First person shooters on PCs and consoles are totally different.
While PC gamers rely on skill and precision, console gamers rely on luck and aimbots (just kidding).
All joking aside, console FPS games include a noticeable amount of aim assistance. Without aim assistance, it’s extremely difficult to shoot someone using your gamepad.
PC-based FPS games never include aim assistance. Even if you plug in your gamepad, you’re not going to get an aim assist advantage.
Anyways, just realize that first person shooters play totally differently on consoles and PCs – with or without a gamepad.
3) The difference between DInput and XInput controllers
There are two broad types of PC gamepads out there: DInput controllers and XInput controllers.
DInput and XInput are simply two different input formats. Typically, old controllers use DInput libraries while new controllers (and new games) use XInput libraries.
Before buying a controller, make sure it uses XInput. XInput lets you play with 4 controllers on a single PC and it also lets you play newer games.
Some controllers will even have a switch that lets you instantly go between XInput and DInput mode. Why would you want to do that? Well, DInput is less restrictive than XInput and it’s required for certain types of games (like flight simulators).
XInput, for example, limits controllers to a maximum of four axes, two triggers, 10 buttons, and 8 D-Pad directions. DInput, on the other hand, has no such limits.
2) How much should you spend?
Today, the cheapest gaming controllers cost between $20 and $30. That’s a basic Logitech controller which offers similar functionality to an Xbox controller but lacks the build quality and responsiveness of its pricier competitor.
On the other end of the spectrum, you can buy gamepads for closer to $100. Pricier gamepads like the Razer Sabertooth Elite Gaming Controller typically offer better durability and wireless functionality.
Of course, you can also spend several hundred dollars on joysticks and flight control systems. But if you’re only buying a gamepad, you should expect to spend between $30 and $70 on average.
1) Game compatibility
If you’re buying an Xbox 360 controller or an Xbox One controller, then you’ll typically enjoy easy compatibility with all popular games.
You can expect a similar experience with most Razer and Logitech gamepads.
However, as you move outside of the major brands, that experience drops off. You won’t find quite as many compatible games for obscure controllers and you may run into some gaming issues.
Before you buy a controller, check to make sure your favorite games are compatible. If you’re using an obscure controller or playing not-so-popular games, then you can’t just assume your controller will be compatible.