Finally! Steam Controller from Valve

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Steam Controller Front

The Steam Controller aims to make the impossible a reality and nearly does it, as it helps unite games across all genres, allowing the games that were originally designed for a keyboard and mouse to be played with a controller. When we say it can really be used to play any game, we mean it. It is compatible with both new and old games.

There are two trackpads on either side of the Steam Controller that pulsates when you move your thumb on the surface. This alerts you of the edges. Valve also designed the two-stage triggers, adding two additional buttons to the back to give more options than the standard controller.

When it comes to price, we expected it to cost much more than what it did, only being $49 in the US and £39 in the UK. It’s not expected to be released in Australia and Europe before early 2016. But the hardware is only the first step in Valve’s plan.

Valve envisions a world where the common one-size-fits-all controls don’t exist. Why should the A button be the action button if you don’t want it to be? This belief has lead Valve to enable users and developers alike to upload custom control schemes to the Steam Store, where they can be upvoted, while hiding the ones that are not useful. However, the question is whether the Steam Controller is any better for playing PC games. The quick answer is no, but that will change in the future, as it’s still in the early stages.

What is the Steam Controller?

 

Steam Controller Back
Back surface

Steam announced building an operating system using Linux as an inspiration and calling it Steam Machines, and that it would have its own controller. Although a bit confusing at first, SteamOS turned out to be interesting. This happened over two years ago, and there has only been one Steam Machine released, the Alienware Alpha.

The question that surrounded this for a while was “when would the controller be released and what made it any different than the Xbox 360 controller that is often used for PC gaming?” The bad news came when Steam announced that its controllers would be delayed, not for months, but for a few years. This was a disappointment.

Nevertheless, it’s not all bad, since the extra time allowed Steam to refocus on the controller, redesign its functionality, and make sure it is all working smoothly. The controller is now smarter due to the improved software and more responsive HD haptic touchpads. It also has improved usability in comparison with the previous prototypes.

Design

Steam Controller Old
The original controller

The original version had only four square buttons in the center and did not have any buttons on the rear. The final product, however, is reversed and has 13 buttons in total. There are six on the back and seven on the front. It also has a control stick and a haptic feedback-enabled touchpad on the left side, four colorful and familiar “A”, “B”, “X”, “Y” buttons, and another touchpad.

Verdict

The Steam Controller has the potential to improve and revolutionize gaming. Although it can be annoying to use for the first time due to its uniqueness, we’ve found it is something that gets easier with practice. This is more of a novelty than a practical thing, but attempting to learn all the wacky control schemes is part of the fun. If you plan to try the Steam platform, you might want to consider trying the controller, as it may just be what your thumbs have been looking for.

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