What is Gamepad API?

Fri Mar 31 2023

4 min read

The Gamepad API is transforming how we approach game controller integration in our applications. With its seamless connection and use of gamepads, this API enables a more immersive and enjoyable gaming experience for users.

In this guide, we'll provide an overview of the Gamepad API, including how to connect and use controllers, as well as practical examples of how to integrate this functionality into your web applications.

Gamepad API

The Gamepad API is a Web API that allows us to incorporate game controller support into their web applications. With this API, you can easily read input from a variety of game controllers and map those inputs to in-game actions.

The API provides a standardized way to access game controller input, which can be particularly helpful for users accustomed to console gaming.

Getting started with Gamepad API

If you're ready to start using the Gamepad API in your web applications, there are a few key things you'll need to know. First, it's important to be aware of which browsers and platforms support the Gamepad API.

Browser Support

Gamepad API is widely supported by modern web browsers, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge. However, there may be some inconsistencies in implementation across different browsers, so it's important to test your code on multiple platforms. You can check the support by using this:

if ("getGamepads" in navigator) {
// Gamepad API is supported
} else {
// Gamepad API is not supported


Connect a game controller

To connect a game controller, simply plug in a compatible game controller to your device's USB port or connect via Bluetooth, depending on the controller and device you're using. Here is how you can check if it is successfully connected:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
// Check if Gamepad API is supported
if (navigator.getGamepads) {
// Add an event listener for gamepad connection/disconnection events
window.addEventListener("gamepadconnected", function (event) {
"Gamepad connected at index %d: %s. %d buttons, %d axes.",
window.addEventListener("gamepaddisconnected", function (event) {
"Gamepad disconnected from index %d: %s",

This code will check for the connection and disconnection of a gamepad using the event listeners. The gamepadconnected and gamepaddisconnected events are fired when a gamepad is connected or disconnected, respectively.

Detect button presses

To detect button presses, you can use the addEventListener() method to add an event listener to the gamepad. The event listener listens for button press events and responds accordingly. Here is an example code snippet that listens for gamepad button press events:

window.addEventListener("gamepadbuttondown", function(e) {
console.log("Button pressed:", e.button);

Here, we are adding an event listener to the gamepadbuttondown event. When this event fires, the function attached to the event listener logs the button index of the pressed button to the console.

Similarly, you can add an event listener to the gamepadbuttonup event to detect when a button is released. Here is an example code snippet that listens for button release events:

window.addEventListener("gamepadbuttonup", function(e) {
console.log("Button released:", e.button);

Monitor Axis Events

In addition to buttons, many gamepads also have one or more analog sticks, triggers, or other axis inputs that provide more control over movement and actions. These axis inputs can be read using the Gamepad API, allowing you to create more complex and nuanced interactions with gamepads.

To detect axis events, we can use the gamepad.axes array, which contains a list of floating-point values representing the current position of each analog axis.

For example, on a standard gamepad, gamepad.axes[0] and gamepad.axes[1] might correspond to the left analog stick's horizontal and vertical axis positions, respectively.


Wrap up

Whether you are building a game or simply looking to provide a more immersive experience, the Gamepad API is a powerful tool that can enhance the user experience of your web application. If you want to explore more Web APIs, you can read more guides in the Web API category.

We have also written a guide on Rapid API Hub. It is world’s largest API Hub that offers free, freemium, and paid APIs that you can use in your projects.

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