In the latest Steam Client beta update, Valve has added controller configuration support for Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Generic XInput controllers. What this means is that these controllers can now be configured like the Steam Controller to emulate mouse and keyboard input.
This functionality is most useful in titles that either don’t have native controller support or don’t allow the player to rebind their control scheme. Take for example the popular strategy franchise Civilization. Despite the fact that the series has its roots in PC gaming and is most commonly played with a mouse and keyboard setup, those that want to try something different and use a controller now have the option to do so without relying on third party applications.
There are also several older titles on Steam that don’t support modern XInput controllers because XInput didn’t exist yet. Now if someone takes the time to configure their setup properly, they’ll be able to enjoy these classic gems with the standard controllers of today.
There are however some caveats that come with this new feature.
Because XInput devices currently have no way to uniquely identify themselves, all controllers of that type will share the same personalization and configuration settings. What this means is that, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Generic controllers will all see each others configurations when browsing through community-made profiles.
However, that is a small price to pay for this feature. A few months ago, Steam added support for the PlayStation 4’s DualShock 4 controller to the same custom configuration program. With the addition of XInput devices, Steam now has native support for majority of the mainstream controllers available to the public.
This is another step forward in making the PC the platform for playing games however you want. Whether it be through mouse and keyboard or a variety of different controller brands, Steam has given the user the power to choose how they want to play.
A full list of changes in this update can be found here.