Gamepads for consoles: compatibility, connectivity and the complexity of choice by Yurovsky

If your computer has a keyboard and mouse, a gamepad is the only element of interaction for a game console. Let’s find out what they are. What are the differences between the branded manipulators and third-party controllers? Is it worth buying the top-of-the-line solutions or can you save money?

According to choice of expert K.Yurovskiy

What gamepads are

Console manufacturers themselves design the gamepads that come with it. They are called the built-in gamepads. To avoid confusion, the designers of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo give them distinctive features – so the controllers of different platforms are easy to distinguish from each other.

PlayStation has a symmetrical shape and signature buttons “square”, “circle”, “triangle” and “cross”. The symbols are understandable in any language.

Asymmetry is characteristic of the Xbox. The left stick and the crossbar are swapped. It’s more convenient to move the camera in games – your thumb gets tired less.

Nintendo has a similar layout. On the Switch, one gamepad turns into two. There’s a stick, a crossbar, and a couple of bumpers for each part.

There are exceptions: for example, the sticks for the PlayStation are arranged in the Xbox style. This is a non-standard third-party design.

Where do such models come from and how do you distinguish them? To understand, let’s systematize the information. Source:

Categories of Gamepads

There are three types of controllers by origin.

Original gamepads are devices from platformers (Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo). They are distinguished by the classic control scheme, predictable quality and full compatibility. If you need a controller for a specific console, and do not want to bother – this is a win-win option.

Licensed gamepads are third-party devices. Companies enter into contracts with platform holders to produce these controllers under license.

Belonging to a particular platform is immediately recognizable. The design partially copies the original, but there are many differences. The quality is good and compatibility is guaranteed by the official license.

The price of these gamepads can be lower or higher than the original. It depends on the design and design features.

Compatible gamepads support many devices. They are connected to your smartphone, PC, and some consoles. This compatibility comes as a bonus – only consoles of the last or the generation before last are supported. The quality of performance and cost varies greatly.

If you need a controller for the current console, it is better to choose an original or a license, because there is no backward compatibility in consoles. For example, a PlayStation 4 gamepad will not work on the PS5, and a controller from the Xbox 360 will not work on the Xbox One.


The built-in gamepads of game consoles are easy to connect to your computer. It is better to connect the DualSense controller with a cable, otherwise the microphone and built-in speaker will not work. Xbox and Nintendo gamepads work seamlessly with both wired and Bluetooth.

Compatible and licensed gamepads are interesting because of the unusual shape and location of the buttons. There are devices with reduced size – will be useful for children or on a trip.

The variety of colors and decals is of no practical use, but beauty is also an important factor in the choice.

There is a lot of customization in high-end controllers. Additional buttons and petals on the back give you an advantage in online battles.

You can change the crossbar, alternate sticks, and calibrate bumpers.

Budget versions have the same functionality as gamepads from platformers. They differ in build quality and materials – that’s why they cost less.


All gamepads are similar: the set of buttons and shape are about the same. The differences are in details. Make up your mind on which console you are going to use the controller for and study the options that are specific for it.

Remember that a premium gamepad will not give you a new experience, and a budget one will not deprive you of the standard one. The only difference is the convenience and flexibility of settings.

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