Steam is the world’s largest storefront for video games, worth billions in market value, and widely considered the go-to store for digital purchases by all PC gamers. So it is understandably frustrating when this beacon in the gaming industry does not work as it’s intended, with barely any information on how to fix the problem. Well, that’s what we’re here for.

Steam not detecting your Xbox controller is an annoyance that is more common than you might think. However, there are a plethora of factors that could be causing this issue, so let’s dig deep!

Possible Reasons Why Steam Is Not Detecting Xbox Controller

Of course, something that needs to be emphasized is that users should try testing their controllers elsewhere before looking into or trying any of our solutions. This can help avoid the problem or at the very least help narrow down what the issue exactly is.

The root cause could be a problem with the controller’s hardware, its related software (drivers), or Steam’s very own client settings. 

So let’s go over each of the potential issues, as well as their most viable solutions:

Your Drivers Are Not Up-to-date

Whenever you face any issue regarding the hardware of your PC, you should immediately check if the drivers are up-to-date. Most likely your issues are due to a faulty driver or a bug in that driver that will get fixed if you update to the latest version. You can update your driver by following the steps below:

  1. Press your Windows key + X and choose “Device Manager”
  1. Search for “Human Interface Devices” and click on it to expand the section
  1. Navigate to “HID-Compliant Game Device” and then right-click it and choose “Update Driver” to install the latest version available

Your Xbox Controller Is Physically Damaged

This, unfortunately, could be the case where internal damage or aging of your Xbox controller might be hindering them from being recognized properly by the Steam client. You can check this by getting your controller tested by a professional or borrowing and trying out another controller from a friend.

If you’re using a wired controller, there’s a possibility that the wire’s broken off somewhere which isn’t allowing the controller to be detected. In either case, it’s best to let a professional repairman handle it rather than taking things into your own hand.

The Game Doesn’t Support Your Controller

Steam has a very vast library of games available, and not all of them are made equally. With the controller support offered being varied from game to game, there are a lot of cases where the issue isn’t with your hardware or software, just the game you chose to play.

Here’s how you can confirm if your game supports a controller:

  1. Head over to the game page on Steam. Click on the Gear icon and choose “Properties”
  1. Navigate to the “Controller” tab and check to see if “Xbox Controller” is in the list of “Steam Input status”

If the Xbox controller is supported by your game, you can head over and try out other solutions mentioned in the article.

Your Steam Client Isn’t Updated

Just like with any issue, this too might be due to an oversight in making sure everything is up to date. Your steam client might be behind on updates which hinders everything from working as it should. To check if this is the case, the process is quite straightforward.

Simply go to the Steam drawer on the top left and click “Check for Steam Client Updates

If there is an update, your client will instantly start to download and install it on your PC.

Your Steam Settings Need To Be Reworked

This is rarely the case unless you have explicitly poked around in steam’s settings before. But there’s really no harm in making sure that all settings are set correctly.

Disable Steam’s Input Per-game Configuration

There are instances where you need to go into steam settings and enable the use of controllers manually. This is by disabling steam’s input per-game configuration. Doing this will stop your system from automatically choosing the mouse and keyboard as the default peripherals.

  1. Open steam’s “Library”
  2. Next, right-click on the game you’re having issues with and select “Properties”
  1. When here, simply uncheck the option that says “Enable the Steam Overlay while in-game”

Disable Steam’s Input Mapper For Xinput Gamepads

Another setting that can at times be a roadblock between your Xbox controller and steam’s client is having the input mapper for Xinput gamepads enabled. The steps to disable it are listed below.

  1. Open steam’s “Library”
  2. Next, right-click on the game you’re having issues with and select “Properties”
  1. Navigate to the controller section and then select “Disable Steam Input”, as shown below

Your Controller Could Need Recalibration Through Steam (Extra)

To preface, this is usually helpful only when your Xbox controller is working, but your inputs aren’t being registered correctly. This could mean the buttons feel delayed, or the joysticks could be drifting, etc. Luckily, the solution to this is built into steam settings, which enables you to recalibrate your controller on your own.

  1. Open Steam and then click “Settings” from the Steam menu in the top left corner
  1. Move to the “Controller” menu then click “General Controller Settings”
  1. From here, after making sure you have “Xbox Configuration Support” checked and your Xbox controller connected to your PC, click the “Calibrate” option
  1. Then, simply press “Start Full Autocalibration” and follow the instructions till the process is complete

Wrapping Up

With all of these Xbox controller problems and the methods you need to fix them covered, you should be good to go at avoiding this pesky steam issue again. We hope your issue got resolved, and if you have any other fixes, don’t hesitate to let others know in the comments down below!

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