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Gaming has become a major leisure activity for many people today. What was once something many people considered a niche hobby for a small demographic is now one that many people from all walks of life or age ranges enjoy. A game controller is the primary input device a player will use for any console-based system.
The controller has several joysticks or buttons on the front of it. Gamers will use these inputs to control game actions or access related menus. Although a standard keyboard with a mouse or touchpad is popular for desktop computer gaming, many players find using controllers with their PCs convenient.
In most cases, gamers will make do with standard controllers. However, there are also special controllers you might buy or make that have modifications to them. Typically, a modded controller allows you to do something you would not be able to do otherwise.
While such controllers can be fun, some players worry that online services like Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network might ban their accounts over mod use. We will talk about the likelihood of this in today’s post.
What Are Modded Controllers?
At their most basic level, modded controllers are any that give you extra functionality that doesn’t come with the standard input device. What kinds of functions these depend on how you made modifications to the device itself. Broadly, there are two major types of modded controllers, and it makes sense to go over them in detail in this section.
Controllers Modded for Form
These controls have a button setup different from the one you will see on a standard input unit. Some companies may make and sell modded designs of popular controllers in this way. For example, you might find a controller for a PlayStation 5 or Xbox One with a design or button layout that differs from the usual controllers you can find for these consoles.
In most cases, designs like these make things a bit more comfortable for different gamers. You may find that the positions of the buttons, bumpers, or joysticks on a standard controller don’t lend themselves to an efficient gaming experience for you.
In this situation, you might seek out a controller with layout mods that make the device easier for you to hold or use. This sort of thing can be particularly useful if you enjoy playing fast-paced games that require you to input several actions in rapid succession.
On a related note, some controllers that developers mod in this way may help players with specific disabilities play games better. Some players may have conditions that limit their range of motion. A controller with some basic modifications to its layout could help them account for this difference, and it may allow them to play with the same skill or dexterity as typical gamers who do not have such issues.
Controllers Modded for Function
Sometimes, players want their input devices to be able to do things that the usual ones cannot. In these cases, they may mod the controllers for function over form. Usually, they can do this by installing a special chip inside the housing of the input unit. Once there, the chip can program the controller’s buttons or bumpers to do things they wouldn’t be able to in other cases.
For example, you may play a game where you need to input three keys in a particular order at high speeds to get the desired result. With a modded controller, the chip could program things so that only one button press is necessary.
Pressing the button you choose will tell the chip that you pressed all three buttons in record time, thus activating the move or condition you wanted in the game. Similar mods may allow you to perform actions in rapid succession that would not be humanly possible without the chip.
Can Games Detect Modded Controllers?
Because games can detect when a controller is active or turned off, some players wonder if they can also see if a controller has any modifications it is running. Games typically do not detect the presence of chips or other mods a controller might use.
It can be somewhat difficult to see a modded controller’s presence. For those input devices that people might modify for comfort, there is no way to see if such a unit is active during online gameplay.
While games themselves don’t detect mods’ presence, the online gaming community may. Still, it can be tricky to tell whether another online player actively uses any mods that alter their controller’s function in some way. Usually, a mod will allow the player to perform certain difficult actions very quickly.
Similarly, a mod chip could allow you to take out an enemy player with precision, accuracy or speed that seems unnatural. When you use it sparingly, other players could find it difficult to see something like this in action.
However, sustained use of tactics like these could make some people in the cooperative or competitive online player worlds suspicious. While game titles may not be able to see when a controller with mods is active, other gamers may be able to guess about it. This is particularly true for experienced online players who know what to look for when it comes to mods and their uses.
If they see repeated actions that seem almost impossible coming from a single player, it may raise their eyebrows about whether this individual is using a modded controller. Therefore, it may be best to restrict your mod use to single-player experiences only, even though games do not detect these kinds of devices.
Can PSN or Xbox Live Ban You for Using a Modded Controller?
Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network are two big online services that connect console players. The PSN comes from Sony, and Xbox Live comes from Microsoft. Each service runs on PlayStation and Xbox consoles, and they are the primary means by which gamers on these consoles can have online accounts for interacting with others.
Because banning would result in a lot of lost time, achievements, trophies, or records, some gamers are understandably worried about using modified controllers in these environments.
In truth, bannable offenses in these arenas fall into a gray area. Before we get into the details of that, it is important to understand that both services do have the power to ban accounts. Therefore, you will always take some risk if you choose to play games in these communities in ways that somehow might go against the terms that Sony or Microsoft set forth.
Whether the companies ban your account for using a modded controller depends on the specific circumstances surrounding the issue. Of course, it is unlikely that anyone will care about controllers that have comfort or layout modifications. Third-party developers have been making and selling such controllers for many years.
However, any controllers modified for functionality could result in some account suspension or ban. For Sony or Microsoft to do this, they will usually require a high degree of proof that you are using a controller as a way to gain an unqualified edge in a competitive environment. That is to say, they would need the use of such a controller to be something that they can observe clearly.
For example, suppose there are recordings of you using inputs that improve your performance beyond what a regular controller should allow a typical human to do. In that case, they may find that your account should not participate in these communities or games any further.
It may be true that some players have used functional mods on their controllers for years without issue. However, it only takes some reporting on the part of other players to put your account status at risk.
If enough players report you, particularly with any evidence they might be able to submit, the companies providing these services could ban you from their use in the future. In short, the likelihood may be low without proof, but the possibility of a ban remains.
Are Modded Controllers Legal?
In most respects, modded controllers are certainly legal. The companies offering online services, such as Live, may not recognize such controllers officially. However, as mentioned, third parties have been developing or manufacturing controllers with mods for many years.
In many cases, they do so to make inputs easier or controllers more fun to use. There is nothing explicitly illegal about using these controllers to enjoy your games in different ways, particularly if the experience is not competitive with other players.
Are Modded Controllers Allowed in Tournaments?
Overseers may decide not to allow certain modifications to controllers may in some tournaments. Some companies that develop such mods may sponsor some of the competing teams. The mods the organizers allow may depend on the games players engage in at the tournaments.
For example, mods to add extra buttons to the controllers may be fine. However, modifications that provide unfair advantages to one team over another are probably not ones that any tournament will permit.
The PlayStation Network and Xbox Live recognize that some gamers may use controllers with mods. In most cases, comfort mods will change the layout or add extra button inputs. Some mods that give advantages in online play might cause for either service to ban accounts, however. More benign mods might be available to players even at the professional tournament levels of play.