PC gaming is no longer the predominantly mouse-and-keyboard affair people remember from the 80s and 90s. With more console “exclusives” coming to PC — and with Microsoft making a huge push to get Xbox Game Pass
to as many people as possible — traditional console-style experiences have found a welcoming home on PC.
Now that many different genres are populating Steam wishlists and Epic Games Store listings, it’s critical to have a trusty controller capable of handling anything thrown at it. Thankfully, there are several PC game controllers available that we highlight below:
The Insanely Expensive Option: Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2
The Xbox Elite Controller
has been a cult hit since it was first released back in 2015. Microsoft has done a great job with the newest version: a $180 wireless version that earns the “Elite” name. Serious players looking for pinpoint control will love the adjustable tension thumbsticks. Additionally, they will enjoy the ability to customize the depth and response of the trigger buttons.
Boasting up to forty hours of battery life, the Xbox Elite Series 2
provides a long-lasting charge that means more time playing and less time waiting. Whether or not the whole package is worth its $180 price tag is up to the player. However, it’s somewhat hard to justify — especially when the standard Xbox Series X/S controller works almost as well at a fraction of the price.
The Budget-Friendly Option: Logitech F310
Sure, it may look like a child’s toy, but the Logitech F310
is a serious gaming controller. It’s been one of the most trusted pads
for years. Despite the rock bottom price of $15, it’s a sturdy, well-built piece of hardware. Modeled after the Xbox 360 controller, the Logitech F310 may not feature a bevy of programmable buttons or even Bluetooth wireless connectivity, but it still gets the job done.
The Adaptive Option: Xbox Adaptive Controller
Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller
proves the old expression “necessity is the mother of invention” true. It’s truly one of the coolest ideas to hit gaming in a while. Created with the help of Spencer Allen, a passionate gamer left paralyzed after an accident, the Xbox Adaptive Controller is designed to be fully customizable and adaptable.
This option gives gamers with special needs or physical handicaps all the tools necessary to enjoy their favorite experiences. It lacks the robust game support of the base Xbox controller. Yet, it is still a legitimate option for console-style titles and games native to the Xbox platform. Spencer himself uses it to play Halo games
at a high level.
The Playstation Loyalist Option: DualSense Wireless Controller for Playstation 5
have been used as PC game controllers for a while now, thanks to the work of intrepid software designers. DS4Windows
is one of the most popular programs for tricking Windows into thinking that the PS5 controller is actually a member of the Xbox family.
It’s possible to remap buttons, change the sensitivity of the sticks, and even alter the color of the glowing light on the DualSense controller. A lot of current PC titles also feature in-game button prompts and icons that match the Playstation’s
familiar Square, Circle, Triangle, and Cross buttons — a helpful addition in the heat of the moment.
The Old Reliable Option: Xbox Wireless Controller
Most players won’t pay for an Elite controller, so the next best option is to opt for a reliable one. Why not try a solution that’s been a PC gaming staple for more than a decade?
The newest version of the Xbox Wireless Controller
— released with the Xbox Series X and Series S consoles — is the best one to date, finally offering Bluetooth connectivity as well as improved triggers and a re-designed D-pad. It’s an excellent choice to pair with an Xbox Game Pass subscription on the PC. It is also fully compatible with Steam and its Big Picture Mode.
Protection for Your PC Game Controllers
Every PC game controller presents noteworthy benefits and downsides. But the fear of ruining the controller and needing to purchase a replacement shouldn’t be part of the experience. Protection is available via Upsie’s extended console and controller warranties
, which provide exceptional peace of mind for hardcore gamers. A variety of defects and failures are covered. Better yet, the claims process is quick, and you can often take your controller in for a local repair. When in doubt, it’s worth the small investment for a warranty that will save you money, time and stress.
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