One of the most important benefits of playing on a PC is that one can tune everything to one’s liking for the most part. Unlike consoles, PCs are an open ecosystem; there are no arbitrary boundaries to what kind of hardware will go with arbitrary systems. One of the most fun things possible is that anyone can almost use any controller on Windows. Be it a Playstation, XBOX, or Nintendo controller, with the right equipment and simple setup with something as simple as having a file called xinput1_3.dll on one’s system. Some games play better with controllers, such as fighting games, like Tekken and Street Fighter. However, there are several benefits to gaming with a controller.
Hardware in consoles is also locked, and one may not push their power to the limits. A game designed for a console in 2003 is stuck to that console. There is no way to scale the game’s performance as a system gets better. A PC game like Counter-Strike will look, run, and play better as hardware advances are made, and gamers get access to better components. A game on, say, a Playstation or any arbitrary console will remain locked in performance and experience. It does not matter if I am playing it in 2001 or 2021; the experience will remain the same.
The same goes for software. For the most part, a Video Game one may have purchased in, say, 2005 is still relevant and can be easily played if anyone wants to on my system in 2021, subject to some tweaking on a system-to-system basis. Hence, the PC ecosystem makes it possible to play pretty much whatever anyone may want with whatever peripheral one may desire with minimal effort. This is enabled by several APIs, third-party software, and widely available adapters. So one’s effort in setting up their controller may range from just dragging and dropping xinput1_3.dll into its requisite folder or getting a physical adapter if they are using an old controller from a Playstation 2 dated 2003.
Controller adaptability is one of the most outstanding features of Windows. One can use a Playstation Controller to play a game made by Microsoft that would usually be on the Xbox platform. This is thanks to the Xinput API. It is a compatibility layer and an interface that enables controllers to transmit commands to the computer. It is composed of DLL (Dynamic Linked Library) files like xinput1_3.dll. It is a subset of the DirectX API. Anyone can leverage it while developing a game, and as a result, most modern games are compatible with all sorts of controllers. This is an excellent benefit over traditional consoles, as one does not need to stick with proprietary hardware and software to play what they want. They can also push the limits of the software and hardware, not being stuck to the limits or modes mandated by the manufacturer.
As a result of creating the Xinput API and the magic spun by it, most modern controllers support everything right out of the box, on a plug-and-play basis. However, some Controllers may need hardware adapters to function on Windows, as they have proprietary non-USB interfaces that may have trouble with Windows. However, there is a burgeoning third-party market for these controllers for all sorts of devices. But, this is primarily an issue with older controllers produced before the 2010s.
Now have fun playing that platformer that was super hard to beat on a mouse and keyboard!