Dealing with Controllers Not Recognized in Steam

If you are like me and use different controllers to play games on Steam, such as the Dual Shock 4 from Sony (don’t forget you can use it on Linux using the excellent ds4drv driver), you will find that sometimes games launched from Steam do not recognize the controller even though it’s mapped like a regular XInput controller (ds4drv allows such a mode). I have for example this issue with Owlboy (note that when I use my Steam Controller there is no issue whatsoever).

There is now a good way to deal with this kind of issues. If you go in Steam Big Picture, you can now activate a new option, in “Controller Options“.

There, by default, all games will run with “Global Settings” turned on. You need to change this settings to…

…”Forced off“. This way, the controller will be recognized properly by such games.

So, if you ever encounter such issues with your non-Steam controllers, you can consider trying this out.



BoilingSteam lets you access our content for free, but writing articles is a constant investment. We don't use ads or sponsporship, help us make our activities sustainable by donating via Patreon or LiberaPay if you prefer it anonymous. Note that Patreon supporters get the weekly or twice-a-week Proton Deals Newsletter to help them save time and money when buying games for Linux. You can follow what we do via our newsletter, our RSS feed, our Mastodon profile or our Twitter feed. We also have Peertube and Youtube channels. If you'd like to chat, you can also find us on

1.3 16 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Oh, nice. Had the very problem with “Tooth and Tails” – was running great with my Steam Controller, but did not recognize Xbox 360 one with Steam Configuration on.

I did not realize one can switch off the Steam configuration per game. Nice.


Yes, it did. 🙂

With the Steam Configuration forced off for “Tooth and Tail” the Xbox360 controller works there, while it still can remain remapped for other games and the desktop.


I can’t this find option anymore. It seems they have changed something :S


It’s still there, you have to go to each game’s properties in Big Picture mode.

Paul Stevens

Brilliant, thank you so much for this fixed my steel battalion controller issue