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Control your gameplay the way you want with a wide variety of gamepads

The principle design of video game controllers has remained fairly consistent since the early days of home consoles. However, the platforms on which we play our games has been extending to new and exciting areas. Today we don’t just play games on home consoles, we play them on phones and tablets too. PC games used to be more limited to those that work well with mouse and keyboard, but today many players prefer to play every type of genre on their PC desktops, laptops, and Macbooks.

Unlike home consoles, the primary function of many of these platforms is not solely gaming—so it’s not surprising that they don’t come with a gamepad out of the package. Thankfully there is a wide variety of universal gamepad controllers, both wired and wireless, that are compatible with many of these exciting ways to play.

Why buy a gamepad?

Have you tried playing a first-person shooter game on a mobile touchscreen? How about a tricky and unforgiving platforming game using a mouse and keyboard? Games like these have something in common—they were designed in principle with a traditional gamepad controller in mind. It’s true that as platforms like mobile become more and more prevalent, the methods of controlling games (along with the games designed with those platforms in mind) continue to improve. But nevertheless, most gamers will still find themselves more comfortable in certain genres—and enjoying a better competitive edge—with a gamepad.

Purchasing a gamepad style controller for your platform of choice simply increases the number of games you can play, along with the joy you’re likely to experience playing them. Perhaps one day touch screen controls will be well-suited enough to out-perform a gamepad on the latest battle royale title—but for now nearly every gamer would agree that the edge in precision and performance would go to a gamepad.

Wired vs. wireless

Wired USB controllers are a great option in particular for PC/Mac players. Most wired USB controllers are simply plug-and-play—meaning that your device will likely recognize the controller and install the appropriate driver if necessary without further effort from the user. Wired controllers also have the benefit of being powered by their connection to your gaming device, which eliminates the need for batteries or charging.

Wireless controllers on the other hand pair to your device without the need for a direct hardwire connection. Some wireless controllers may connect via a USB dongle which must be connected to your gaming device. This frees up the need to be tethered directly to the platform.

Other gamepads can connect without the need for additional hardware via a Bluetooth connection. This is generally the best option for tablet or mobile gaming, as these devices often do not have the appropriate port for a wired or USB dongle connection. Wireless controllers will require their own power source however, either through disposable batteries or a built-in rechargeable battery depending on the model.

Game anywhere on any device

One of the best features of a universal gamepad is its scope of compatibility. For example, a single Bluetooth wireless gamepad may be compatible across your iPhone, Android phone, iPad, Android tablet, and PC. Having a gamepad compatible with any of these devices also means taking your gaming on the go, anywhere you travel. Traditional console gaming used to be limited to the boxes we plug into our TV’s at home. Nowadays with the advent of mobile gaming and streaming services, we are quickly approaching a future where every game can be played anywhere, on any screen—including the ones that fit in our from pockets.

Styles of gamepads

While many gamepads feature the modern and familiar twin analog stick style of controller, there are also a number of other types of gamepads available. There are flight stick gamepads designed to resemble the throttle of an aircraft—perfect for flight simulators or other arcade-style dogfight shooters. There are also retro-style gamepads that mimic the design of early controllers for consoles such as the Nintendo, Super Nintendo, and Sega Genesis. These are perfect for remakes and retro 8-bit and 16 bit stylized titles.