Only around 10% of Steam gaming sessions are played with a controller

Valve published a bunch of interesting information in their The Year of Steam in Review 2021, including controller usage statistics. I wonder how many of them are Steam controllers?

Back in February, a Steamworks update added a new controller. usage statistics page where developers can see detailed information about how often players use controllers in their games and what types of controllers they use. The data includes gamepads, joysticks, racing pedals, and even dance pads.

It was no surprise to read this back in 2021, more than 70% of fighting games and sports games were played with a controller (or battle stick), while for RTS games this number is less than 1%. Only 7-8% of gamers use a controller for FPS games. Third-person action/adventure games like Elden Ring have a roughly 50/50 ratio of the controller to keyboard to mouse usage, which is surprising since controllers are often the top priority in this genre. For example, Elden Ring mouse and keyboard support are not the best.

Many gamers seem to prefer using a keyboard and mouse, even in games that prioritize controllers.

Valve provided examples of how using this data can help developers improve controller support in their games. Let’s say you notice that PlayStation controller usage is dropping below the global average (24%); You can check if the correct PS button prompts are displayed in the game instead of the Xbox controller.

Steam’s Annual Review also noted that players spent 21% more in-game time in 2021 than they did in 2020. The number of daily active users is about 69 million, while the number of concurrent users is 27.4 million. Steam also delivered over 32.9 exabytes of data, which many games downloaded in 2021.

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