Video game controllers are often the primary input devices when playing video games on a myriad of consoles and systems. Many games are sometimes entirely shaped around a controller which makes the controllers paramount to a user’s gameplay experience. Due to the growth of the gaming industry and, by consequence, an increase in the variety of consumers, there has been an increased emphasis on the development of the ergonomics of modern video game controllers. These controllers now have to cater to a wider range of user anthropometrics and therefore manufacturers have to design their controllers in a manner that meets the anthropometric requirements for most of their potential users.
This study aimed to analyse the evolution of video game controller ergonomics due to increased focus on user anthropometric data and to validate the hypothesis that these ergonomics have improved with successive generations of video game hardware. It has analysed and compared the key ergonomic features of the SEGA Genesis, Xbox, Xbox 360, and PS4 controllers to observe trends in their development, covering a range of 25 years of controller development.
This study compared the dimensions of the key ergonomic features of the four controllers to ideal anthropometric values that have been standardised for use in other handheld devices such as TV remotes or machinery controls. Based on the findings, it arrived at a conclusion about the ergonomic viability of video game controllers as input devices for other purposes apart from being specialised for the niche purpose of gaming.