Home > Games > Valve demonstrates Steam controller in new video Valve demonstrates Steam controller in new video Thom Holwerda 2013-10-12 Games 36 Comments Valve issued a video demonstrating its Steam Controller today. The game pad, which features two track pads in lieu of joysticks, is used for its series of Steam Machines, announced in September. Looks good. About The Author Thom Holwerda Follow me on Twitter @thomholwerda 36 Comments 2013-10-12 8:26 am stabbyjones Looks like it emulates a mouse really well. As long as I can invert the look axis like a normal person I’ll be happy with this. 2013-10-12 12:53 pm Carewolf Looks like the mouse mapping is mapped like a very small track pad. He constantly has to move his finger over it multiple times, and the counter strike example show how slow and difficult it is to aim at anything. He would have been dead in less than a second if he wasn’t on the training course. I think if might have worked if could do something like a trackpoint on a ThinkPad, but unless the controller is able to messure pressure that would not be possible to add as a mapping later. 2013-10-12 1:48 pm lucas_maximus The movement in that last FPS was far too slow for real play. 2013-10-12 2:29 pm Thom Holwerda Well, playing FPS with a mouse and keyboard is too easy anyway. Turns it into a point and click adventure – no challenge. 2013-10-12 2:59 pm jared_wilkes Yes, people want controllers to make things more challenging to perform the actions they desire rather than more readily mapping to the easiest, quickest, most direct execution of their desired intention… oh wait, no. Edited 2013-10-12 15:00 UTC 2013-10-12 3:14 pm linux-lover Keyboard and mouse fps easy? You clearly don’t play FPS at all! Quake 3, UT, counter strike (including the one in the video) are incredibly challenging FPS games. Far more then anything on consoles. 2013-10-12 3:53 pm lucas_maximus … It depends what the pace of the game is, if it is fast like Quake Live / Q3 or UT then it (the controller) is a no go. If it is slowly like Dishonored or Theif, it would probably be fine. Edited 2013-10-12 15:56 UTC 2013-10-13 6:34 pm Speaktrap That’s right, games like Thief and Splinter Cell benefits much more from analog movement than aiming precision. And while gamepad was OK for Splinter Cell, the trackpad will be much better for playing Thief on the couch. 2013-10-12 3:16 pm linux-lover Some of it could be player skill. But for an emulation mode it seemed good. Probably not for CS but for most other games it should be fine. 2013-10-12 3:12 pm linux-lover Well keep in mind he’s running emulation for a game with no support for this controller. If we had games that actually supported the controller the results would probably be better. Portal 2 looked perfect to me, and civ 5 was very playable, although didn’t seem as good as keyboard+mouse. 2013-10-12 2:11 pm ronaldst he was playing a FPS with a controller. To which he was. The video was unconvincing. 2013-10-12 5:01 pm Undomiel Looked even more like he was playing with a trackpad on a laptop in my opinion. I saw lots of finger movements to navigate a pointer around or to spin around and aim while with a mouse you could glide to the desired location with much less effort. Looking at it as more of a controller for a console I could be interested in seeing how it would handle on a platform type of game. But as a controller for a PC playing games that are traditionally mouse input it seems pretty darn cumbersome. 2013-10-13 4:16 am emarkp Yep, looked like trackpad thumb, and a recipe for RSI (which I took a lot of heat for saying last time this came up). It remains to be seen if a custom mapping rather than the legacy mapping will improve things. 2013-10-13 8:17 am WereCatf Yep, looked like trackpad thumb, and a recipe for RSI I’m sorry, but I do not understand the logic on that claim. From what I remember from your earlier comments was that you base your claim on the fact that there’s no force to pull the stick and with it your finger back to the center position. However, you’re completely ignoring the force you need to exert yourself to pull the stick out of the said center position. Does this force cause an RSI? No, not as far as I have heard, and yet this force is more than you need to just slide the finger to the center or out of it on a touchpad. It’s easy to claim superiority when you just plain ignore half of the equation and I would dare say that most of the time the stick is not in neutral position, therefore you’re constantly applying the aforementioned force to it through your thumb — when you’ve moved your thumb to any position on a touchpad there is much less force required to keep it there. I just cannot take this silly remark about RSI seriously. 2013-10-12 5:08 pm friedchicken Looks like a shitty controller concept for an fps. Also, there’s a hell of a lot of swiping going on with the right thumb. That will get tiring. Last, when you go from one movement to perform an action, to requiring several, you’ve taken a step backwards in design. 2013-10-12 9:12 pm drcouzelis Looks like a shitty controller concept for an fps. Looks like an outstanding controller concept for an FPS that is played while sitting on a sofa. 2013-10-12 9:58 pm lucas_maximus Seriously the current controllers are far better. 2013-10-13 12:23 am friedchicken Seriously the current controllers are far better. Funny observation … It seems most of the people who complain about controllers are the ones who get their ass handed to them. I can’t think of a single high level gamer who I’ve heard complain about the controller. They just load whatever game, start whipping their opponents, and have fun doing it. 2013-10-13 8:21 am WereCatf Seriously the current controllers are far better. Why, exactly? The current controllers fare poorly for e.g. strategy games and this Steam Controller seems to fare much better for such games. Once a game has a dedicated support for Steam Controller, however, I would assume the experience is even smoother. I would at least reserve judgement until I can try one for myself, as a video just cannot deliver how the haptic feedback and the controller itself actually feel in hand. As an aside, I, personally, like the quick access to Steam-specific functionality that the touchscreen will provide, like e.g. quick access to chat and such. You may not care about such and that is your prerogative, but I do find the notion of such features pleasing. 2013-10-13 10:51 am Carewolf Current controllers are SO bad the console versions of FPS games have to add several auto-aim and aim assisting mechanisms to even make the games playable. This controller looks much better than current controller design, though it looks like un-assisted FPS will still be unplayable with it. Edited 2013-10-13 10:52 UTC 2013-10-13 11:16 am Thom Holwerda Current controllers are SO bad the console versions of FPS games have to add several auto-aim and aim assisting mechanisms to even make the games playable. Uh, for casual players perhaps, but I don’t use any aim assist on my Xbox 360 games – where possible, I turn them off. If it’s not possible, I’m frustrated by them because they screw up my aim. That’s why I said I feel playing with a mouse is like cheating – there’s just no challenge involved for me. L4D on expert on theXbox requires effort – on the PC, it’s really just a point and click adventure. I’m not saying one is better than the other – it’s just that I like my games to be challenging, and mouse/keyboard suck all the challenge out of FPS games for me. 2013-10-13 3:50 pm lucas_maximus That’s why I said I feel playing with a mouse is like cheating – there’s just no challenge involved for me. L4D on expert on theXbox requires effort – on the PC, it’s really just a point and click adventure. I’m not saying one is better than the other – it’s just that I like my games to be challenging, and mouse/keyboard suck all the challenge out of FPS games for me. Yeah, yeah. Play some Quake Live and see how long you last. 2013-10-13 11:34 pm mightshade That’s why I said I feel playing with a mouse is like cheating – there’s just no challenge involved for me. L4D on expert on theXbox requires effort – on the PC, it’s really just a point and click adventure. I’m not saying one is better than the other – it’s just that I like my games to be challenging, and mouse/keyboard suck all the challenge out of FPS games for me. Let me throw in my two cents: I’d consider it fake difficulty to make a game hard by intentionally crippling the controls. If L4D becomes as easy as you say with proper controls even on expert (I don’t know L4D, unfortunately), I’d say it has gameplay problems. I would prefer to adjust the game in that area to my liking, if possible. 2013-10-14 4:56 am Drumhellar Regardless of auto-aim, console shooters tend to balance the game difficulty and mechanics to accommodate for the limited of precision and response offered with a controller. This gets very clear when you play both the console version and the PC version of a game. If a game is too easy with mouse and keyboard, it’s just not difficult enough. PC-specific games don’t have this problem as much. Edited 2013-10-14 04:59 UTC 2013-10-14 8:41 am Lava_Croft You just need better games/opponents. 2013-10-19 11:33 pm zima That’s why I said I feel playing with a mouse is like cheating – there’s just no challenge involved for me. L4D on expert on theXbox requires effort – on the PC, it’s really just a point and click adventure. Additionally, some FPS games are actually much better on (dual stick) joypad, most notably Descent clones (too bad they died out a bit; probably because they are not very good on mouse+kb) 2013-10-13 3:56 pm friedchicken Current controllers are SO bad the console versions of FPS games have to add several auto-aim and aim assisting mechanisms to even make the games playable. WRONG. The controllers are fine, it’s the players who are “SO bad” or just play casually that use aim assisting. No half-decent player uses aim assist. Aim assist exists only to make a game more accessible to more people. Btw, aim assisting is in many pc games as well. You know why? Because a lot of people aren’t very good with the mouse. I suppose you think that makes the mouse the problem too? No, it’s the lack of skill. 2013-10-12 6:34 pm bob_bipbip I think a lot of people here are failing to see what do we have here. It is obviously not a pc controller. PC gamers uses mouse and keyboard. But you have to remember who is steam, and what they are trying to achieve. They are a pc software shop who is trying to enter the tv – couch segment. First, they built the software, the couch interface wich can be used with gamepad, and now devices to plug on the tv. The “piston – steambox” thing is easy to understand, but this controller here is not for just playing games on tv, gamepad are here for that, but to play mouse and keyboard centric pc games on the tv, without the need of mouse and keyboard, which were mandatory for such games. In that case, this device is pretty efficient. Edited 2013-10-12 18:35 UTC 2013-10-13 12:17 am friedchicken It is obviously not a pc controller. PC gamers uses mouse and keyboard. There’s no such thing as a “pc controller”. There are gaming controllers, which tons of gamers use regardless of using a pc, Xbox*, Playstation*, etc. Yes, many pc gamers use keyboard/mouse. Why? Because it’s a highly effective way to play many of the most popular games. … but to play mouse and keyboard centric pc games on the tv, without the need of mouse and keyboard, which were mandatory for such games. In that case, this device is pretty efficient. First, you can already play keyboard/mouse centric games without actually using a keyboard/mouse. Like I said, there are plenty of gaming controllers already available for pc. Next, I saw the video differently. I saw the ability to emulate keyboard/mouse, but not in any great or really all that usable way when it comes to real gameplay. I absolutely do not see this controller as a good substitute or alternative to using a keyboard/mouse. Further, at least for fps games, it looks like a step backwards from the controllers we already have. Touchpads are nothing new. This controller concept is nothing new. There’s a reason why it hasn’t already taken off. So far, neither the steambox nor it’s prototype controller are offering anything new, or any noteworthy improvement on what’s already available. 2013-10-19 11:35 pm zima Yes, many pc gamers use keyboard/mouse. Why? Because it’s a highly effective way to play many of the most popular games. Because they were made around that mouse+kb interaction, pointing at things. 2013-10-12 8:06 pm Lava_Croft They are just trying to help out crippled console gamers by offering them a controller that seems to be quite a lot better than what is currently on offer. Edited 2013-10-12 20:08 UTC 2013-10-12 11:57 pm pilotgi I have no idea what I watched. Someone holding a controller and moving their thumbs. I feel like someone from the 1800’s who was brought to the future so see a demonstration of alien technology. I’m a commercial pilot. The last time I tried a computer flight simulator, I couldn’t figure out how to advance the throttles so I could take off. Does Steam have a controller that I can understand? Computer gaming goes completely over my head. But I know how to build a kickass gaming computer! Edited 2013-10-13 00:01 UTC 2013-10-19 11:30 pm zima Better PC flightsim rigs are not far from pro flightsims, maybe you should try finding such 2013-10-13 1:38 pm SeeM Civilization should be played like this since CIV1: sitting on the throne in front of 40” TV. 2013-10-13 3:15 pm bnolsen i dont even have a tv in my bathroom! and yes you get it! valve is trying to provide a controller that still works as a gamepad but allows more crossover into some traditional PC games, allowing them to be played comfortably on a couch, not huddled over a computer desk. Edited 2013-10-13 15:16 UTC 2013-10-13 3:26 pm SeeM i dont even have a tv in my bathroom! That’s unusual. You can always open door and use a mirror to see TV set.