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This is how the Steam Controller works

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Steamcontroller

Last month, Valve made three big announcements (3? Half-Life 3 confirmed!); their own game-centric operating system, their own console-esque Steam Machines and finally, their very own controllers. While the Steam Controller largely retains the form-factor of console controllers, where it differs is the ability to actually work well with PC games. And here it is in action.

Here’s a video from Valve, showing a prototype version of the controller (without the fancy screen) working in games like Portal 2, Civilization 5, Counter-Strike: Go and Papers, Please!. it looks..like it works pretty well actually; my biggest worry with it is the lack of feedback from the touch-inputs. I’d really like to see more of the controller in action like this – which is great, because Valve has promised exactly that.

What do you think? Is it cool and precise enough for PC gamers to even contemplate switching – or are the dyed-in-the-wool die-hards going to stick to the keyboard and mouse forever?

Last Updated: October 14, 2013

82 Comments

  1. SargonTheGreatPandaOfAkkad

    October 14, 2013 at 08:33

    Doesn’t look as smooth as a mouse in Portal 2.. but I suppose once you have more practice it would be a lot easier. Plus that wasn’t modified at all. I’d give this a try, certainly. But I don’t know if it’ll be as smooth and responsive as my mouse.

    Still looks cool. Innovation is always great for the industry.

    Reply

  2. TiMsTeR1033

    October 14, 2013 at 08:43

    Seems a little better than I thought, but still looked not as smooth as @disqus_YCIicGKzx5:disqus said as well, a mouse or xbox controller would be smoother. In RTS games is the left stick click for left click and right side for right? I honestly don’t know if I could play a CC game or starcraft or even warcraft without a mouse and keyboard… Never liked Rts on console controllers.

    Reply

    • Axon1988

      October 14, 2013 at 08:46

      It looks comfortable though πŸ˜›

      Reply

      • TiMsTeR1033

        October 14, 2013 at 08:50

        In some ways, but honestly the Master Race users wont you miss using your other finger doing the work? Basically as close to a console player using primarily your thumbs..

        Reply

        • Axon1988

          October 14, 2013 at 09:03

          Yes, I will probably always prefer my keyboard and mouse. But I want to try this out in a racing game. That’s probably the only category I can see myself using this controller.

          Reply

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          October 14, 2013 at 09:11

          Sure it’ll be an adjustment, but on the plus side we can use the free finger to show you our opinion of consoles. πŸ˜‰

          Reply

          • Admiral Chief Ninja

            October 14, 2013 at 09:13

            LULZ

          • TiMsTeR1033

            October 14, 2013 at 09:18

            Only you!

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            October 14, 2013 at 09:19

            I’m trying to be a better man this week, but that was just too tempting heh.

  3. Admiral Chief Ninja

    October 14, 2013 at 08:47

    “allows you to play FPS without any auto aim”

    BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM

    Reply

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      October 14, 2013 at 08:57

      I saw you started jamming Mark of the Ninja – it’s a cool little game right?

      Reply

      • Admiral Chief Ninja

        October 14, 2013 at 09:01

        Brilliant, love it!

        Reply

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          October 14, 2013 at 09:02

          Wait until you get to the ending – it’s not something you’d expect from a side scroller. Pretty damn awesome.

          Reply

          • Admiral Chief Ninja

            October 14, 2013 at 09:03

            Looking forward to it. Then I wanna tackle Witcher 2 AGAIN!

            Love that game!

          • Downloadable content John

            October 14, 2013 at 09:19

            I have to get Witcher

          • Admiral Chief Ninja

            October 14, 2013 at 09:22

            Dude, just do it. Epic story

          • Downloadable content John

            October 14, 2013 at 09:25

            You’ve made me so lus for this game.

          • Admiral Chief Ninja

            October 14, 2013 at 09:26

            To give you an idea, I finished on Saturday at 15h00 approx, jammed some Ninja (also epic) and spent my Sunday missing Witcher. Tonight, in all likelyhood, will fire it up for round 2!

            (8 different game endings)

          • Downloadable content John

            October 14, 2013 at 09:28

            Mmmm. Very intriguing.
            Now all that needs to happen is for Telkak to ‘skrik wakker’

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            October 14, 2013 at 09:27

            They’re both really good games. The story is epic, carries through the series, choices REALLY matter – it can close off whole sections of the game, and it treats you like an adult.

          • Admiral Chief Ninja

            October 14, 2013 at 09:29

            Indeed, had my ass handed to me a few times, rethink combat strategy, re-apply, fail, rethink, redo, success.

            Punishes you, but rewards the hell out of you as well!

          • Downloadable content John

            October 14, 2013 at 09:29

            Sounds like something I’ve been missing in other games I’ve been playing recently.

        • Her Highness the Hipster

          October 14, 2013 at 09:11

          me too! those dudes from klei are awesome!

          Reply

    • TiMsTeR1033

      October 14, 2013 at 08:57

      Nice avatar man!

      Reply

      • Admiral Chief Ninja

        October 14, 2013 at 09:01

        You should try that game!

        Reply

    • Downloadable content John

      October 14, 2013 at 09:21

      Yes, but check on CIV *swipe thumb swipe thumb swipe thumb* then you get your pointer where you want it.

      Reply

      • Admiral Chief Ninja

        October 14, 2013 at 09:21

        CIV is not FPS, much more relaxed

        Reply

        • Downloadable content John

          October 14, 2013 at 09:24

          I know I know. I know what an FPS is. It’s a faux pas statement right?

          But just something about that doesn’t make it feel as refined as I thought it would be.
          Still want to try it though.

          Reply

      • Skyblue

        October 14, 2013 at 10:01

        Just like a touchpad on a laptop which is horrible imo. Civ is not a great “couch” game either due to all the reading required which is tiny in higher resolution.
        Not impressed by this controller at all yet.

        Reply

        • Fair usage John

          October 14, 2013 at 10:10

          Quite. I don’t think strategy games work on tv’s at all. I’ve tried it with my pc connected, my eyeballs hurt like a beehaatch for trying to read.

          Reply

  4. Kromas

    October 14, 2013 at 08:53

    Still nowhere near a MS+KB combo but it is light-years ahead of both PS4 and XBone controllers.

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief Ninja

      October 14, 2013 at 09:01

      Amen

      Reply

    • Skyblue

      October 14, 2013 at 10:10

      I personally don’t like it. It’s effectively a touchpad like a laptop would have and I see this thing going the way of the trackball (remember those). Sure it might be easier to use your thumb but look at how often you need to lift and reset your thumb just to look around and just try play FIFA, Binding of Isaac or Mark of the Ninja with that controller!

      Reply

      • Kromas

        October 14, 2013 at 12:28

        Okay listen to the video again. The controller was set up for KB+mouse mode and he was playing non modified games. Fifa has controller support and there would be settings. As for the swiping over and over it is already all the rage ever since smartphones arrived.

        Reply

        • Skyblue

          October 14, 2013 at 13:59

          Swiping over and over again is the worst thing smartphones have given us. I just think that resistance on thumbsticks works wonders vs control on a tablet or smartphone. I see this controller has ridges built in to offer some form of “your thumb is here” without looking but I’m still just not convinced. Then again the only FPS games I play on console are the exclusives.
          I do get that it’s an overlay for a kb/m config btw and I think it’s commendable that someone is offering alternates to traditional controllers and my opinion might be proven groundless which would be awesome because then we all win as kb/m players.

          Reply

        • Maxiviper117

          October 14, 2013 at 15:01

          Even though its in KB/M mode, doesnt mean that they will change “reseting your thumb over and over just to look around.” for optimized games with that controller.

          Reply

          • Kromas

            October 14, 2013 at 16:46

            Actually they already said you can make it run like a d-pad. Put your thumb on the northern side and it will be exactly the same as pushing the stick up on a conventional controller.

            Edit: They are already in the process of releasing a video playing standard controller games.

          • Maxiviper117

            October 14, 2013 at 17:40

            But i just think that without any feedback it wont be as intuitive as a thumbstick, Yes with PC mouse there’s no feedback but with a mouse you intuitively know how much you’ve moved the mouse especially if you disable windows built in mouse acceleration and have 1 to 1 input.

          • Kromas

            October 14, 2013 at 19:28

            I believe they already have haptic feedback on the to do list. We will have to wait for the final product I suppose.

      • Maxiviper117

        October 14, 2013 at 15:04

        I agree, the swyping over and over to look around is in no way better than a thumb stick which you just hold left or right to continuously move the aiming, regardless if you don’t need aim assist with the steam control. if someone had to play against a person on CS:GO with an optimized steam control versus someone using a Microsoft Xbox control, the steam control would struggle.

        Reply

  5. Alien Emperor Trevor

    October 14, 2013 at 09:00

    I’d like to try it – the thumbs thingies look interesting.

    Reply

  6. CypherGate

    October 14, 2013 at 09:01

    Thats quite similar to smartphone touch screens. Similar style, but obviously a lot more upgraded and responsive. Difference is that its on a controller and not onscreen to block your view (Iphone hehehe)

    Reply

  7. Macethy

    October 14, 2013 at 09:06

    I wonder if you will be able to adjust the sensitivity of each track pad?

    Reply

    • ToshZA

      October 14, 2013 at 09:07

      I would think so – the video said that it was simply untouched. No drivers or anything. With the correct settings and drivers, this could be a decent alternative to other input devices.

      Reply

  8. BigC

    October 14, 2013 at 09:12

    Only way

    Reply

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      October 14, 2013 at 10:07

      And a Roccat mouse too – nice!

      Reply

  9. Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

    October 14, 2013 at 09:14

    Actually, that looks like a controller I’d actually be able to use.

    Not AS smooth as a mouse would be. But definitely far more precise and more “mouse like” than any other controllers.

    I think a PC player using primarily KB and mouse would be able to get in to this very easy without too much frustration.

    I actually want one

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief Ninja

      October 14, 2013 at 09:15

      Steam is going to send me one along with the Steambox Beta

      Reply

      • Downloadable content John

        October 14, 2013 at 09:30

        I also come along with the Steambox Beta. With biltong and beer.

        Reply

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        October 14, 2013 at 09:32

        The Steambox will be so awesome that it’ll come with it’s own braai grid.

        Reply

        • Admiral Chief Ninja

          October 14, 2013 at 09:34

          Some say, that when load shedding is active, it will consume the screams of console gamers and convert into power for your house

          Reply

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            October 14, 2013 at 09:37

            As I understand it, their tears are what’s used for the water cooling.

          • Admiral Chief Ninja

            October 14, 2013 at 09:37

            You are correct sir

          • Downloadable content John

            October 14, 2013 at 09:38

            Makes sense.

          • Downloadable content John

            October 14, 2013 at 09:43

            I’m having such a bad Monday, this makes my mouth slightly twitch in an attempt to smile.

          • TiMsTeR1033

            October 14, 2013 at 09:59

          • Fair usage John

            October 14, 2013 at 10:07

            Doed. This is not ION

          • Skyblue

            October 14, 2013 at 10:03

            I only woke up at 9h30. Contemplating popping in for a few hours at work today. It’s only 4km’s away and I choose my dress code like a Boss! (see what I did there?)

          • Fair usage John

            October 14, 2013 at 10:08

            I hate you.
            My work is 3km’s away though.

          • Skyblue

            October 14, 2013 at 10:21

            I get to choose as my other business is 50km’s away. It’s my eyes today I tell you, I just can’t see myself spending 2hrs in my car today.

          • Fair usage John

            October 14, 2013 at 10:31

            I get you. That’s damn lekker though.

      • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

        October 14, 2013 at 11:27

        Wait… What???? You were serious? You got in on the hardware beta testing>?????????????

        Reply

  10. Downloadable content John

    October 14, 2013 at 09:19

    I’ve been really looking forward to this. Will probably try it out first and see from there…

    Reply

  11. Seraphim

    October 14, 2013 at 09:24

    It’s seems to be less precise than a mouse and keyboard but that might be fixable by changing settings and getting used to using it.

    I wouldn’t mind giving it a try.

    Reply

    • Downloadable content John

      October 14, 2013 at 09:26

      I’m all for it for RPG and racing games, but I’m so damn reluctant to do FPS with a controller.

      Reply

  12. DadGamer

    October 14, 2013 at 09:25

    hmmm… so it’s more like those trackball mice where you roll the little ball around with your thumb. I’d have to try it myself, but it does look like a step-up from console controllers.

    Reply

    • nicksimp101

      October 14, 2013 at 11:02

      Ja, the guy keeps on having to lift and scroll his right thumb when he is looking to turn.

      Reply

      • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

        October 14, 2013 at 11:35

        Well not *much” different from a mouse if you think about it. If you look at any PC gamer the mouse is constantly being lifted and replaced when needing to turn large circles or looking etc and as you run out of mouse pad space etc.

        Much the same as what your finger will be doing on the trackpad. Just a little more than a mouse though as the trackpad is much smaller than any mousepad area would be.

        Sensitivity could be set up to compensate but then I am guessing that it would be too sensitive. We shall see as it goes along and more is revealed and people get some hands on experience

        Reply

  13. Uberutang

    October 14, 2013 at 09:38

    Used correctly trackpads can be mad accurate and fast
    http://youtu.be/SC7G–OKk78

    Reply

  14. silverscorpio

    October 14, 2013 at 10:34

    I wonder if it will work on windows pc (not steam machine) and will it be solf seperately. Also will it be available in South Africa.

    Reply

  15. Zubayr Bhyat

    October 14, 2013 at 11:43

    I just want to know how well racing games will play on this controller.

    Reply

    • Skyblue

      October 14, 2013 at 11:52

      ROFL!!!

      that’s all…

      Reply

      • Zubayr Bhyat

        October 14, 2013 at 11:53

        tsek πŸ™‚ You know it’s true. Haptic feedback on steering would be awesome. You have much more range of movement on the controller. Bring your ignorance elsewhere kthx.

        Reply

        • Skyblue

          October 14, 2013 at 12:08

          No reason to get snarky, I lol’ed and gave you an upvote because I thought it was a funny comment. Upon review of your comment I can see how maybe the thumb controller might aid in vehicle control for precicion steering but as far as I know there is no feedback in the triggers (yet) like the X1 controller.
          I’ll “bring my ignorance elsewhere” though.

          Reply

          • Zubayr Bhyat

            October 14, 2013 at 12:16

            Sorry about that πŸ™‚ I misread. It’d be good to have haptic feedback on those triggers but I suspect that may never happen.Still, it may be better than the Xbone controller.

          • Skyblue

            October 14, 2013 at 14:15

            Np. I played on the X1 controller btw and it is a freaking marvel of technology so I wouldn’t hold my breath for this controller being better.

          • Zubayr Bhyat

            October 14, 2013 at 14:18

            Well, haptic feedback on triggers was good but the PS4 controller felt much, much more solid.

          • Skyblue

            October 14, 2013 at 19:04

            I disagree on this one but each to their own. My mates and I all thought the PS4 controller was still not as comfortable as the X1 and the triggers were a joke. They managed to fix the design to incorporate curved triggers and concave thumbsticks which is a HUGE improvement by all means but they’re way too small and feel as if they have no resistance whatsoever.
            Of the 3 of us, 2 of us are multiple console gamers with the 3rd being an X360 owner who has decided to switch to the PS4 for next gen but we all agreed on this…. and I’m probably older than you so stop arguing ;-p

          • Zubayr Bhyat

            October 14, 2013 at 21:35

            bwahaha I’m entitled to my opinion πŸ˜‰ You know I’m probably going to buy a Xbox One? Just for Forza 5 though.

  16. Circuitflow

    October 14, 2013 at 13:40

    The only award this controller should win is the ugliest? DA<M

    Reply

  17. Johan Fourie

    October 14, 2013 at 15:17

    Really impressed.

    Reply

    • Skyblue

      October 14, 2013 at 19:09

      OOOOHH! Unsee!!!

      Reply

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