Following Valve’s recent announcement of developments in their “Steam Universe” , Valve engineer Jeff Bellinghausen gives us a demonstration and first look into the operation and functionality of the new Steam Controller.
Breaking away from what has become traditional physical joystick and D-pad controllers, the Steam Controller supplants these typical controls with trackpads and a touch-screen in their place. As Jeff described above, the controller embraces a plethora of controller configuration that are compatible with both the keyboard and mouse as well as common configurations used in many popular controllers today; the Steam Controller also supports the usage of community created configurations for specific games and genres.
Implementing what Valve refers to as “super-precise haptic feedback”, the trackpads, allows greater couch accessibility for games demonstrated above such as Civilization 5 and Papers Please, without the need for the once mandatory use of a controller and mouse; on the contrary, concerns have been raised from many of the gaming community concerning the fluidity of movement and aiming in FPS games; while some may consider that the innovative Steam Controller is more precise than conventional controllers, such as those developed by PLAYSTATION and XBOX, it still seems to lack the accuracy of a keyboard and mouse that many competitive players depend on.
In addition, whether it is Valve’s fault for finding a demonstrator a bit inept in first person shooters , or if is is simply a problem in the controller configurations, movement and aiming in the video’s presentation of playing in CS:GO looks clumsy and awkward at best. Strong advocates of this new and inventive gaming development may contend that this lack of movement may be abated by an increase of the touchpad’s sensitivity; however, as many casual and devoted gamers are aware of, each increase in sensitivity will be also be a sacrifice in precision.
All in all, the Steam Controller is interesting, formative, and, most of all, unique. Despite the controller’s hiccups and flaws, Valve’s ingenious approach in resolving the once mouse restrictive playing problem is a lead that many other of the gaming industry’s biggest contenders should take a lesson from in order to, not simply improve future accessibility of gaming, but also the overall experience and indulgence that comes from gaming.