Most complex games will also make some use of the 'start' and 'select' buttons (I was born playing a Nintendo...) or 'back' and 'next' on the Xbox pad... That makes for 6 front face buttons, plus the digital pad, which also adds 4 more...
The digipad is good as a button pad, because in extreme cases, it can actually be 6 buttons instead of four, if one uses a stick-shift configuration, like this:
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1 2 3
4 5 6
Where n is the neutral (unpressed) position... to get to buttons 1,3,4 and 6, you have to first slide the pad left or right, then up or down...
It's not very practical, but it could work if those buttons aren't used a lot, and you have some sort of command reference on screen... then again, I've known players to get used to all sorts of weird command settings...
I've got one hat on my Saitek X52 mapped like this for ArmA2, and I find it quite useful.
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