While PC gamers typically use a mouse and keyboard for their gaming needs, some genres of games work best with console controllers. Whether you want to level up your competitive play or kick back with casual gaming, picking the perfect controller is essential.
Choosing the perfect PC controller requires careful consideration of various factors to ensure an optimal gaming experience. In this article, we will explore the key aspects to keep in mind when selecting a PC controller that suits your gaming needs.
Choosing the best PC controller is crucial in determining your gaming comfort. A good controller will feel smooth and solid in the hands, with well-placed buttons that are easy to hit. A controller that feels heavy or awkward can lead to mistakes in-game, while a light and ergonomically designed controller can allow longer gameplay sessions without fatigue.
A comfortable controller can also mean the difference between topping or missing the online leaderboards in competitive multiplayer games. Even if you’re not competing against mouse and keyboard players, a quality controller can level the playing field for anyone.
When shopping for a new controller, consider your budget and how you plan to use it. A controller that has a USB port can be plugged directly into your computer, while those with Bluetooth will work with most modern gaming systems.
Most wireless controllers require batteries to operate, and battery life can vary significantly depending on the type of controller you choose. Cheaper controllers with AA battery compartments can last long, while those with integrated batteries charged via USB-C offer the best overall value.
If you’re looking for a basic and affordable option, Microsoft’s standard Xbox Series X/S controller is the best choice for most gamers. It offers a refined design and comfortable hand-feel, plus most games are already optimized.
PC gaming is famous for its versatility and modularity. While a mouse and keyboard are generally regarded as the best way to play most games, swapping out your input device is easy. Many options range from the standard Xbox Series X controller (available for just $60) to Sony’s DualSense or Nintendo Switch Pro controllers with built-in PC support.
The best part about these console-style controllers on PC is that they are a breeze to set up: plug in and play. Even better, they’re supported natively by most Windows games through a system called Xinput. The only drawback is that you need a third-party app to unlock certain features, such as trigger locks, which allow you to change how hard you need to press the controller buttons before they register an input.
There are plenty of good alternatives to the Xbox Series X controller, too, including the $80 Razer Wolverine V2, which has clicky, satisfying mechanical switches for the face buttons and optional hair triggers. This controller also has a neat see-through design and supports wired or wireless Bluetooth connectivity.
Another option is the SteelSeries Stratus Duo, which has a cool see-through design and offers a choice between wired or wireless 2.4 GHz USB connectivity. Its default button bindings require manual remapping in some games, though, and it doesn’t support the Chroma RGB lighting system found on many other Razer products.
When you’re gaming, the last thing you want to deal with is fatigue or pain in your hands. It is why ergonomics is so important. Ergonomics is the science of designing workplaces, products, and systems to fit the people who use them. It includes factors such as the individual’s body size, strength, skill, speed, sensory abilities (like vision and hearing), and attitudes.
A key element of ergonomics is the positioning of objects and controls. If a monitor is too high, for example, it can lead to neck strain. Likewise, if your keyboard is too close to the mouse, you may experience wrist problems. These kinds of issues can be easily solved by adjusting your workstation.
Another aspect of ergonomics is the amount of pressure needed to activate a button. It can be determined by examining the controller’s trigger switches. Many newer PC controllers have special switches on the back that let you adjust how far you need to press the triggers for them to register an input. It can be helpful for games that require a precise response, like racing, where you need to be able to hit the gas pedal just right.
Whether you’re looking for a comfortable, compatible controller for your PC or just trying to improve your gameplay, understanding the basics of ergonomics can help you get the most out of your experience. By following these simple principles, you can minimize the risk of injury and increase your enjoyment while playing your favorite games.
Types of Controllers Available
A great controller is the perfect counterpoint to a gaming mouse and keyboard setup. While it’s not the best choice for every game, it’s essential to any PC setup. The best controllers for PC are comfortable, ergonomically superior, and feature the most useful extras.
We’re in the midst of a gaming controller golden age. Since the last console generation, we’ve seen a massive boom in quality, versatility, and customization options. There are many top-notch third-party controllers from brands like PowerA, Scuf, and Nacon, alongside excellent new first-party controllers from Xbox Series X and Series S.
The standard Xbox Wireless Controller is the best controller for most gamers as it balances comfort, versatility, and price perfectly. It’s also available in several colors and has two magnetic face plates primed for personalization.
The GameSir G7 is another solid wired option with a grip material that resembles Scuf’s, clicky face buttons, and a pair of programmable rear buttons. It’s a great pick for games that require excellent d-pad control, such as Katana Zero or The Witcher 3, and it even has a built-in accelerometer for gyro aiming in shooters.
1. Are PC controllers compatible with all games?
Most modern PC controllers are compatible with a wide range of games. However, it’s always a good idea to check the game’s system requirements and controller compatibility before making a purchase.
2. Can I use console controllers with my PC?
Yes, many console controllers can be used with a PC. However, you may need to install additional drivers or software to ensure compatibility.
3. What is the advantage of a wireless PC controller?
Wireless PC controllers provide freedom of movement and eliminate cable clutter, allowing for a more comfortable gaming experience.
4. Can I customize the buttons on a PC controller?
Some PC controllers offer button customization options, allowing you to remap the buttons according to your preferences.
5. How much should I spend on a PC controller?
PC controllers come in various price ranges, so it depends on your budget and gaming requirements. Consider your needs and find a controller that offers a good balance between performance and price.
Choosing the perfect PC controller is crucial for an enjoyable gaming experience. Consider factors such as compatibility, wired or wireless options, controller design, button configuration, and customization options. Pay attention to the quality of analogue sticks, trigger buttons, and additional features that can enhance gameplay. Research and read reviews, consider brand reputation, and if possible, try out the controllers before making a final decision.
By following these guidelines, you’ll be well-equipped to choose a PC controller that elevates your gaming experience to new heights.