What Types of Controllers Are Used for Sports Games?

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What Types of Controllers Are Used for Sports Games?

Video game consoles typically include at least one standard controller. While some gamers prefer the flexibility of the standard controller because it can be used with virtually any game, specialised controllers also exist. Steering wheel type controllers may be used for driving games, while imitations guns may be used for first-person shooting games. Sports games offer an interesting challenge in terms of finding the right controllers. There are many options available so it is important for buyers to familiarise themselves with the different styles.

Standard controllers, sometimes called gamepads, rely on directional pads and multiple buttons to direct the input of the players into the game. Another popular controller type is a joystick where the operators can control the action by directing the sticks. There are usually buttons strategically placed around the joystick apparatus that provide additional control for the players. Another rapidly developing style of controller is motion sensors. These have a unique appeal for sports games and may very well represent the future of controllers for sports games as well as other genres.

Video Game Controllers in General

Video game controllers are devices that are connected to a console, computer, or other video game platform which allow the players to control the inputs to the game. Typically, controllers are hardwired to the system, though wireless options do exist. More competitive gamers disfavour wireless controllers, as any sort of lag or interference with the wireless connection can be costly in high-paced games.

As video games and systems have evolved, so have video game controllers. There have been many different types and styles of video game controllers released throughout the years aimed at improving comfort, user friendliness, and responsiveness.

Types of Video Game Controllers

Many different iterations of video game controllers exist. Some are intended to be universal and flexible, while others are highly specialised. It is important that shoppers narrow their focus to a certain genre of games before considering specialised controllers. It is also important that buyers ensure the controllers they are considering are suitable for use with the games they desire to play.

Type of Controller

Game Use




Paddle and ball type games


Flight simulator games

Steering wheels

Driving games

Motion sensors

Sports, exercise, and some other genres

There are many different types of controllers and as the chart indicates, some have a very narrow use. To avoid wasting time and potentially making an errant purchase, it is critical that shoppers understand the limitations of certain controllers. For example, a joystick is a very simplified controller. This works well for games where the focus is simple movement without a lot of complex additional functionality. For games requiring more complex inputs, controllers with more button options and a different layout may be more practical.


Gamepads are the standard video game controllers which are typically included with the purchase of the console. Gamepads are frequently used to play sports games in addition to many other games. Gamepads are the most flexible option and can be used with most games. Although they do not excel in any one genre, they are typically useable with all genres. Certain exceptions do exist though, as dancing games and certain shooting games are not well suited to gamepads.


Paddles are controllers that feature a round wheel and between one and five additional buttons. These types of controllers do not function well with sports games. Paddle controllers are somewhat antiquated at this point and are really only seen in older video games and some arcade style games. Paddle and ball type games are best suited to this controller type, so the precision and complex functionality required of sophisticated sports games does not mesh with the simplicity of these controllers.


While joysticks can be used for more simplistic sports games, they are typically used in conjunction with flight simulators to more realistically create the flying effect. Joysticks can be moved in any direction across two axes that are directed by the players to control the movement of the objects in the video game.

Typically, joysticks are designed to be operated with the dominant hand of the users while the base is held with the non-dominant hand. Some more advanced functionality can be achieved when the joysticks are paired with other button-based devices which allow the players to control movement with the joysticks and functionality with the buttons.

Steering Wheels

Steering wheels are well suited to sports games that focus on racing. Some steering wheels include gas and brake pedals. In addition, they can provide 'force feedback', also known as vibrations sent through the steering wheel to give the player a more realistic driving feel. Advanced steering wheel controllers may also include stick shifts or other forms of manual transmissions.

While steering wheels are the preferred controller for driving games, they are very inflexible and not well suited to any other purpose. Certain games include a steering wheel to increase the quality of gameplay.

Motion Sensors

The newest and most rapidly growing controllers are motion sensors. Motion sensors engage the players because they require full body movement and are very flexible. They are well suited to many different genres of games, but especially sports games. Golf, dance, soccer, football, and exercise games are all well suited to motion sensors.

There are few different types of motion sensors and it all depends on the type of console being used. Xbox uses its own proprietary Kinect system, while PlayStation has its own motion sensor. Third-party motion sensor controllers are also available. Motion sensors are unique controllers that perform well when used in conjunction with sports games.

Types of Sports Games

Without a doubt, the most significant consideration when buying controllers for a sports game is knowing what type of sports games the buyers want to play. For example, a steering wheel, manual transmission, gas, and brake pedal type controller makes great sense for a driving game, but little sense for any other type of sports game. The same could be said about joysticks and throttle controls for flight simulator type games, although joysticks are slightly more flexible in their applications than are steering wheels.

Also, the level of sophistication of the buyers is relevant. More casual gamers interested in playing a broad range of sports game may be wise to sacrifice specialised performance in favour of game flexibility. Gamepads often perform well, though not great, at most sports games. Although the users lose some amount of precision with gamepads, they gain significant flexibility in terms of being able to play many different sports games using that same controller. This can be advantageous for more casual or budget-constrained gamers.

How to Buy Controllers for Sports Games on eBay

Buying controllers for sports games on eBay is easy. Although there are many options at first, which may be overwhelming to the buyers, they can be assured the options are soon narrowed by a few key factors. The first step is to conduct a broad keyword search by typing basic search terms into the search box found on every page of eBay's website. Alternatively, shoppers can navigate through eBay's intuitive categories in order to get the broad range of results. Once there, the results can be sorted and organised in a variety of different ways to assist buyers in honing on the ideal products.

The first decision shoppers need to make is which platform the controllers are going to be used with. Obviously, buying controllers that do not function with the platform is unsatisfactory. By narrowing the results down, the shoppers have already eliminated many, if not all, of the irrelevant results. From there, buyers can continue narrowing down their results by price, type of controller, condition, and a variety of other relevant factors. When shoppers use eBay to find controllers for sports games, they are searching through a wide selection that is sure to have the perfect controllers to suit their needs.


There are many different video controller types out there. It is important for buyers to consider their platform and their intended use for the controllers in order to guide their purchasing decisions. What type of sports game they intend to play and on which platform are undoubtedly the two most significant decisions shoppers make when searching for controllers. Joysticks and steering wheels have high performance but only a very narrow range of applications. If the buyers do not intend to play driving or racing games or flight simulators, these types of controllers make little sense.

Conversely, motion sensors are growing in popularity and usability. Motion sensors can be used in conjunction with many different sports games as well as a handful of other genres. However, for consistent performance with the widest range of flexibility, gamepads are the obvious choice. In addition, gamepads are often the most affordable option making them an attractive choice for many buyers. Shoppers are sure to find the controllers they need to perform well on the virtual field of play when they use eBay to guide their search.

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