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Once a month, I host a LAN where we play various titles, but our 2 hour "warmup" with snacks and social interaction is spent on a desktop playing >= 8 player games. I've had great luck with Regular Human Basketball and Splody, and then also countless 4 player games. I own two Microsoft Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows 10 (new version supporting 8), and was hoping to have both hooked up for 16 controllers. However, only one works at a time. Even with 1, many of these games that have "8 player local multiplayer shared screen" don't register past 4 controllers.

I've been trying to read on DirectInput vs XInput, so I guess I'm looking to confirm that XInput has a cap of 8, DirectInput is (sort of) unlimited, but if the game developer doesn't implement DirectInput, then you're out of luck? Is there anything I, as the user, can do to ensure I have all the controllers properly synced whether it's wired via USB, wireless via dongle, wireless via Bluetooth, etc.?

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XInput is limited to a maximum of four controllers:

The XInput API supports up to four controllers connected at any time. The XInput functions all require a dwUserIndex parameter that is passed in to identify the controller being set or queried. This ID will be in the range of 0-3 and is set automatically by XInput. The number corresponds to the port that the controller is plugged into, and is not modifiable.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/win32/xinput/getting-started-with-xinput#multiple-controllers

It's part of the API, anything that relies on XInput will have the same limitation. Most virtual gamepad tools work by simulating an XInput device, which will still count toward this limit.

Another issue is that Bluetooth supports at most 7 peripherals connected to a single receiver. You could get around this by connecting multiple receivers, but I'd recommend using USB connections to avoid interference.

If you have 8+ non-XInput USB controllers and a game that supports DirectInput, you should be able to use all controllers at once. You can mix XInput and DirectInput as long as the game supports both.

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