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Steam's new controller reporting lets devs know how their games are played

Valve has rolled out a new Steamworks update that shows developers what percentage of their playerbase uses controllers and more.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

February 24, 2021

2 Min Read

Valve has rolled out a new Steamworks update that shows developers what percentage of their playerbase uses controllers and detailed statistics on their use.

The controller reports have been added to the Steamworks Sales & Activations dashboard, and are filled with useful metrics including lifetime controller stats, daily active controller stats, sessions per controller model, and multi-controller sessions. 

As the example included below shows, the reports offer a comprehensive breakdown of controller usage, spotlighting everything from the percentage of average daily active users that use a controller to the specific type of gamepad they favor. 

They also include a lifetime overview section that tells developers how many of their customers have ever used a controller on Steam, compared with one specific title. Graphs that display the usage of all the major controller types over time can also be viewed, offering insights that might prove useful when deciding whether to support a new controller.

Valve hopes the reports will help developers better understand when to add or improve controller support, with the company revealing that around 10 percent of daily game sessions are played with a controller.

"Controller usage isn't distributed evenly across all kinds of games. Many RTS games are hard to play with a controller of any kind and tend to have a much smaller percentage of players using a controller (frequently below 1 percent)," said Valve, sharing some of its own findings. 

"In contrast, many sports and fighting games see over 70 percent of sessions played with a controller, while racing and skating games can easily have over 90 percent of players using a controller. On the action and adventure fronts, most third person adventure games see 40 to 50 percent of players using a controller, and the majority of FPS games are solidly in the range of 7 to 8 percent. 

"The usefulness of this reporting may depend on the kind of game you are making. But, in general, a lot of players like to play a large cross-section of games on Steam using a controller - which is something many people, including those of us at Valve, find a bit surprising."

You can find out more about the new Steamworks reports, including a deep dive into all the metrics mentioned above, by clicking right here.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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