Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 27th Sep 2013 18:51 UTC

We set out with a singular goal: bring the Steam experience, in its entirety, into the living-room. We knew how to build the user interface, we knew how to build a machine, and even an operating system. But that still left input - our biggest missing link. We realized early on that our goals required a new kind of input technology - one that could bridge the gap from the desk to the living room without compromises. So we spent a year experimenting with new approaches to input and we now believe we've arrived at something worth sharing and testing with you.

Where Microsoft and Sony show zero innovation with the Xbox One and the PS4, Valve is the one pushing limits. Their controller is quite, quite unique, and has a whole different approach than what we've seen before - instead of two inaccurate joysticks, it has two super-precise touchpads with advanced haptic feedback and the ability for both absolute and relative positioning. Go read the description - a summary won't do it justice. And, as always: hackable. Yes, even the controller is open and hackable. Wow.

They're on the right track here. If I were Microsoft or Sony, I'd start getting worried.

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Worst design I've ever seen
by emarkp on Fri 27th Sep 2013 19:18 UTC
Member since:

By removing the sticks, they've decapitated the tactile feedback as to where your thumbs are. Pads also mean you get no response other than full impact when touching.

It's the membrane keyboard of console controllers. I've already fought RSI, I'd never pick this up outside of a demo.

The buttons don't look terribly responsive either, but those thumbpads mean RSI for many gamers out there.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Worst design I've ever seen
by reduz on Fri 27th Sep 2013 19:23 in reply to "Worst design I've ever seen"
reduz Member since:

Those circles are probably good enough.
Remember for a bit the kind of games played the most on PC. FPSs, strategy, etc.

It seems the control will likely double really well as a touchpad, and is more precise for FPS control than analog sticks.

Reply Parent Score: 4

emarkp Member since:

The circles identify position, but require your thumbs to "seek" the neutral position rather than relax to restore to neutral.

Also, to use it as a button (I assume) you'll have to lift the thumb, and bring it back down again, which will require you to seek the neutral position again.

This is not a small deal. The repeated motion and tension will absolutely damage tissue. I'll stick to analog sticks or just keyboard and mouse.

Reply Parent Score: 4

andrewclunn Member since:

I thought the same thing at first. Absolutely not for me. But then I remembered that Steam will support third party controllers. And also realized that the "hackable" nature of the controller means that third party vendors can give me a version that better matches what I want. Also this controller seems designed with more precise FPS and RTS gaming (neither of which I really care about) gaming in mind, so as long as Steam continues to support other, more conventional controllers for the games I do care about (and it seems like custom key mappings are going to be available for all controller games anyways) then their controller design doesn't really matter to me.

Reply Parent Score: 4