How to Buy Video Game Controllers on eBay

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How to Buy Video Game Controllers on eBay
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How to Buy Video Game Controllers on eBay

They say there are only a handful of absolutes in life, such as death and taxes. Avid gamers understand that the list often neglects another absolute: video game controllers do not last as long as the console. Spilled drinks, flings to the floor, and a new chew toy for the family dog are just a few ways to render a video game controller obsolete. While manufacturers construct controllers to withstand the rigours of everyday use, they do not account for the unexpected misfortunes that prompt gamers to search for controller replacements. Since most controllers come with the gaming system, many gamers have no idea what it takes to buy video game controllers.

The easy way out for finding a video game controller replacement is to hustle over to the most convenient shopping venue for buying video game controllers at the end of a gamer's fingertips. eBay hosts a wide variety of sellers who offer video game controllers. The trick is to find the seller who matches a gamer's shopping criteria. Buying video game controllers on eBay requires gamers to perform research. They should learn about the types of video game controllers, follow a few tips to ensure the purchase of the right controller, and get a head start by searching for one of the best video game controllers on the market.

Types of Video Game Controllers

Video game controllers have evolved over the years in conjunction with technological breakthroughs. The primary objective of controller manufacturers is to offer user-friendly devices that enhance gamer interactions. Gamers who shop on eBay have a wide variety of design style and button layout options. But before they decide on style and button layouts, gamers should learn about the types of video game controllers. The following chart lists the most popular types of controllers, along with a brief description of each type of controller.

Type of Controller



Also known as joypad

Hold in both hands

Thumbs and fingers provide input

Action buttons combined with one or more omnidirectional control sticks or buttons

Centrally located buttons include start, select, and mode


Features a round wheel and one or more fire buttons

Wheel used to control movement of the player or of an object along one axis of the screen

Preferred controller for racing games


Handheld stick that tilts around either of two axes

Used for flight simulators

Designed to be operated with user's primary hand

Base either held in the opposite hand or mounted on a desk


Upside-down mouse

Gamers manipulate with palm of primary hand

Does not require much desktop space

Moves as fast as the gamer can move the ball

Racing wheel

Larger version of the paddle

Designed for larger arcade-style video games

Provides realistic car feedback

Shifting varies in complexity

Keyboard and mouse

Precursor to handle-designed controllers

Used for personal computer games

Mouse performs the directional pointing

Keyboard issues commands via a series of keystrokes

Motion sensing

Reads player's physical movements

First controller to perform full body sensing

Same technology found in the Nintendo Wii remote


Shoots targets that move across the screen

Resembles ray guns or conventional firearms

Requires steady hand


Resembles musical instruments

Used in Guitar Hero games

Requires superior finger dexterity

Manufacturers design some controllers to operate for only one game genre, such as dancepads for dancing games and gamepads for quiz show games. Controllers initially only contained a single button that gamers used to control all facets of a video game. Since the first controllers, manufacturers have introduced joysticks, analogue sticks, touch screens, and directional pads, all of which are available for sale on eBay.

How to Buy a Video Game Controller

Once a gamer decides to shop for a video game controller on eBay, the next step in the buying process is to write down a list of criteria, and then rank the criteria in terms of buyer importance. For example, some buyers place more weight on a lightweight design, while other buyers consider the condition of the controller to be of paramount importance.

New vs. Used

Gamers typically buy controllers to replace the controllers that came with the original console. Simple depreciation causes most controllers to lose their effectiveness. Games must decide whether to buy a cheaper used controller or fork over a little more money for a controller in mint condition. The new vs. used debate is another reason why gamers should consider shopping for video game controllers on eBay. Some sellers offer controllers that have only been removed from the packaging, but never used in game play. These sellers offer the virtually mint condition controllers at discounted prices.


eBay does a great job of detailing seller product information. In the case of controllers, most eBay sellers provide information that pertains to the materials used to construct the controller. The type of material matters, because as most gamers understand, controllers can receive physical abuse due to gamer frustration with losing or just an accidental push off of a counter and onto the floor. Look for controllers that either have double-layered impervious plastic or stainless steel construction. Durability is not one factor that gamers should sacrifice to save money.

Brand Compatibility

It may appear to be a no-brainer, but there are a surprisingly large number of gamers who do not consider brand compatibility. Of course, a controller meant to operate an Xbox 360 does not work at all when connected to a PlayStation 3. The compatibility issue arises when gamers buy controllers made by the same manufacturer, but the manufacturer has designed them for a different game. For instance, some gamers who shop on eBay believe a controller that comes with a PlayStation 2 console works seamlessly when attached to a PS3. Make sure to buy the exact brand and game console model when purchasing a video game controller.


While it is true that more controller features equates with a costlier controller, the type of features have more of an impact on the price offered by eBay sellers. Features, such as dual throttle control, expansion ports, and soft rubber grips are considered premium controller features that translate into premium priced controllers. Gamers must decide if the pricier features are worth the extra money. Moreover, gamers should consider including features that enhance ergonomics. Incessant gaming can lead to the same type of painful injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, that workers incur at their day jobs.

Best Video Game Controllers

One controller buying strategy that a growing number of gamers implement involves shopping for consoles that include the highest quality controllers. After all, a console does not offer much functionality if the controller fails to provide accurate and timely controlling manoeuvres. Some gamers go as far as buying the console on eBay after they purchase the controller. Whatever strategy gamers employ, they should consider five controllers that receive consistent praise as the best video game controllers on the market.

Arcade Stick and Buttons

The small ball fits snugly in most hands, and thus, gamers do not have to worry about losing their grip. Position the primary hand over the pad and quickly obtain the right angle to control the stick and tap the buttons. This controller is not suited for gamers who enjoy kicking back and playing games nonchalantly. Upper echelon fighting game players who shop for controllers on eBay prefer the arcade stick and buttons.

Sega Dreamcast

With Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony receiving most of the gaming system scrutiny, Sega often flies under the radar with its fine line of gaming consoles and controllers. Reviews of Sega Dreamcast controllers consistently mention the ease of using the primary thumb to make moves, which is a strategy that most other game consoles do not permit. The controllers present logically arrayed buttons that gamers can easily find and push. Sega also produces controllers sold on eBay that possess above average durability.

Microsoft Xbox 360

The Xbox 360 controller fits perfectly into the hands of most gamers, with the exception being gamers who have small hands for their body frame and weight. Reviewers rave about the incredible sensitivity provided by the buttons, sticks, triggers, and bumpers. Combine finesse with firm control and gamers have the most coveted video game controller found on eBay.

Buying Video Game Controllers on eBay

eBay brings together video game controller buyers and sellers in a virtual marketplace that expedites transactions. All you have to do is type specific keywords into eBay's search engine, and then prune the results list for a handful of sellers who are worth the time to further analyse. You can search for the right seller by inputting brands into the search engine. Typing "Sony" or "Nintendo" into the search engine reduces the number of prospective sellers, and hence, also reduces the amount of time you spend on an eBay search. Once you collect your list of finalists, take the time to review each seller's product page. You can view each seller's controller photograph to discern any imperfections, as well as review seller delivery terms and accepted payment methods.

Sometimes, you may have two or more sellers who appear to possess the same qualities. There are a number of ways to choose one of the finalists. Check to see which of the finalists runs an eBay Store where you can buy the video game controller directly. Not only does buying a controller directly save you time, it also opens the door to possible savings. Many eBay sellers offer bundling discounts from their eBay Stores. You may be able to find a deal that bundles a video game controller with other gaming system accessories.


If a video game console is the heart of the gaming system, then the controller must be the arms and legs that produce movement. Gamers can have the most sophisticated console, but that means nothing when the controller either underperforms or fails to function. A trip to the nearest electronics shop may cure the controller blues, but eBay represents the best venue for replacing a video game controller. The key is to shop on eBay armed with video game controller knowledge.

Gamers have myriad controller options from which to choose, with the right type often being a controller that manufacturers construct for specific video game genres. For example, joystick controllers work best for games that involve some type of flight simulation. Once gamers decide upon the right type of controller, they need to consider whether they want to purchase a new or used controller, the features they want in a controller, and the materials used to construct the controller. The most important factor to consider is brand compatibility. Sega video game controllers do not work with PlayStation 3 consoles.

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