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Do Nintendo Switch retro controllers work with Steam?

Steam has tons of retro games that would be great to play with retro controllers.

image of two nintendo switch retro controllers on purple background
Image: KnowTechie

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Quick Answer: Yes, Nintendo Switch retro controllers work with Steam. As of July 2022, Steam pushed an update to its client to support NES, SNES, Mega Drive, or N64 retro controllers.

When Nintendo launched its line of retro controllers for the Nintendo Switch, the company is cashing in on our nostalgia to give gamers the chance to relive the good old glory days.

It’s a great way for Nintendo to combine the old and the new. And you know what? I’m all for it.

But will Nintendo’s retro controllers work on other platforms, like Steam?

image of someone holding an 8bitdo gaming controller playing the nintendo switch
Image: 8Bitdo

For a quick refresher, Steam is a one-stop shop offering a massive library of games you can purchase, download, and play directly on your computer. It’s a pretty essential platform for any serious gamer.

With tons of classics to choose from and support for Nintendo classic controllers, Steam would be a great platform to relive the good old days.

But Nintendo designed its retro controllers with the Switch in mind. So, will they work on Steam? Let’s find out.

Can you use Nintendo Switch retro controllers on Steam?

Short answer: Yes

When the retro Nintendo controllers originally came out, Nintendo designed them specifically for the Switch.

But in July of 2022, Steam pushed an update to its client that added retro controller support to Steam.

It’s a small but significant update, but it’s great for gamers who prefer the feel of a classic controller.

steam update notes on a purple background showing nintendo switch retro controller compatiblity
Image: KnowTechie

Of course, it’s probably not easy to play some computer games with Nintendo’s retro controllers. I imagine you’d have difficulty using an older controller layout in a game like Elden Ring.

But if you play a lot of retro games, these controllers might feel pretty good.

Imagine hopping on the original Final Fantasy VII with a throwback NES controller. It could transport you back to when video games were made for love instead of absolute greed.

What controllers work with Steam?

ten controllers xbox side by side

Almost any gamepad should work with the platform, but some of the most popular options include:

  • Xbox 360 Controller
  • Xbox One Controller
  • PlayStation 4 Controller
  • PlayStation 3 Controller
  • Nintendo Switch Pro Controller
  • Logitech F310
  • Logitech F510
  • Logitech F710
  • Razer Atrox Arcade Stick
  • 8Bitdo SN30 Pro+

Remember that you may need to use a tool like Steam Input to get everything up and going. But some games may require additional configuration to work with certain controllers.

It’s not a common problem, but it’s always worth checking if you’re having trouble getting your controller to work with a particular game.

Are Nintendo Switch retro controllers in stock?

nintendo shop page showing controller out of stock over purple background

Currently, Nintendo has them listed as out of stock.

We regularly update this post from time to time, and whenever we do, the controllers are never available. And when they are, they sell out fast.

So getting past the supply limits to snag one of these controllers is probably the biggest obstacle.

At present time, the SNES and the original NES retro controller are available on Nintendo’s website.

But important to note the website states, “an active Nintendo Switch Online membership is required to purchase.”

nintendo switch retro snes controller
Image: KnowTechie

But the Nintendo 64 and SEGA Genesis retro controllers are sold out at the time of writing, but this Amazon listing has them priced at $14.99.

Thankfully, retailers like Amazon and others have NES and SNES options available, but scalpers have them criminally overpriced, so just a fair warning.

So if you want to go retro on Steam, you’ll have to settle for NES or SNES controllers instead. Or keep your eye on Nintendo’s website whenever they restock.

Note: Feel free to keep this page bookmarked. We’ll keep you updated on availability, so check back regularly to see if they’re in stock.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Staff writer at KnowTechie. Alex has two years of experience covering all things technology, from video games to electric cars. He's a gamer at heart, with a passion for first-person shooters and expansive RPGs. Shoot him an email at alex@knowtechie.com

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