Steam controller will have no sticks. Can we play Steam Machine with any other controllers?

Posted: 2013/10/01 in Modern gaming
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Geeks and gamers like their games. But they also like their controllers. Different games call for different controllers. Perhaps it is good to remember the evolution of the joystick?

Nevertheless, the reason gamers aren’t always super enthusiasts about the Move and the Kinect is the “no joystick” part of it. Voice control is good. Its cool and innovative. It adds to gameplay without removing much. Removing the physical contact to the joystick and replacing it with arms in the air doesn’t make hardcore gamer success.

People like their joysticks. They get better versions of ’em, they hack’em, they adapt’em, make bigger, better sticks. Or plain different sticks or control panel adapted to the needs of their favorite games.

Now, Valve is coming out with a joystick-less joystick (or rather, trackpad) design in their new controller!!!

joystick-less design for the Valve gamepad. Image courtesy of Kotaku.

Sure, for mouse-oriented FPS the trackpads will make sense. But … no physical buttons? no mechanical feedback? That can’t play good on everything. Perhaps it would have been a great idea to have a touchpads PLUS a dpad and some buttons. But the reality is that this controller has less options than the now standard style dpad-buttons-2xanalogStick configuration.

Portal 2 binding example of the Valve controller – image courtesy of Kotaku

The good news is that Steam Machines are likely to accept more than just the steam controller, being that they will be manufactured by various manufacturers, or mainly any box utilizing the new SteamOS – a variant of Valve’s steam engine intermixed with Linux. Think Valvenux. It has already been said gamers could build their own box and run SteamOS on it.

Let’s hope it will accept XB360, XBox one, dualshocks or the WiiU gamepad pro.

Although it shouldn’t be too long before someone make it work if its not the case.

  1. johnheatz says:

    I’ve been thinking about this as well, yet I don’t see it as anything bad if it doesn’t take other consoles’ controllers, and I certainly don’t think Sony nor Microsoft would be up to “lend” Valve their controllers, everything new gets people all fuzzy, but after seeing what game developers have said about the controller, it seems like it is everything we’ll ever need

  2. wereallgeeks says:

    As long as you’re able to use a controller under Linux, I fail to see how anyone would be able to “prevent” SteamOS players to use them controllers… as far as I understand, SteamOS will be derived from Linux, but game oriented. Drivers should pretty much be the same. Plus, if we can’t use consoles controller, there are a lot of third party controllers, PC controllers and so on.

    But understand me correctly. I don’t say it is a “bad” controller. Its a good evolution of the well known controller, even better and more innovative than the WiiU pad. Its more compact and sports a smaller touchscreen with better thumb accessibility.
    But at the same time, I don’t believe its going to be perfect for “everything” – it might be “the” way to play FPS on consoles, but not having physical buttons (or unconscious reference to pushing something) might not do so well for many gamers. Even games that use two thumbpads extensively generally use DPAD for selection of some sort, and buttons for quick actions. There’s only a few physical buttons available for such things, and not physically placed in a fashion that they’d help with “selection”.

    Like the Wiimote do super well for Golf but not so much for side scrollers, the clickeable touchpads might not be best for replacing buttons, even with its more complex rumbling capabilities.
    And even where it is “great” some people might not want to play it that way. There are many Mario Kart Wii that prefer old-style controllers to the Wii Driving Wheel (which is really just the remote in a plastic wheel)

    Still, the Valve controller is way more innovative than all other next gen controllers currently announced. As long as we’re not “forced” to use it “for everything” I think we’re all set.

  3. wereallgeeks says:

    And I am excited to see what innovations we’ll see coming out of that new input device.