At the end of last week, Valve detailed the final reveal of their three part announcement. Instead of a new installment in a game franchise the developer revealed their Steam controller – with a very curious design. Part of their push to get Steam into the living room, Valve is planning on releasing a controller that has no thumb sticks but still promises to bring the precision of a mouse and keyboard.
As with any major changes to an established formula, many were skeptical of the controller and its functionality. Thanks to some early hands from Team Meat‘s Tommy Refenes, it sounds as though fans might be able to put away their skepticism for the time being (mostly).
While initially calling the controller “strange” Refenes offered up further impressions on his Tumblr page – summing up his impressions by saying the peripheral is: “great start, needs some improvements, but I could play any game I wanted with it just fine.” Refenes claims to be a perfectionist when it comes to hardware and controls, which isn’t tough to believe coming from a Super Meat Boy creator, so his praise should be encouraging for Valve and fans alike.
Refenes also covered some of the issues with the controller – which largely spawn from the trackpads. Refenes said that the main problem with pads is not knowing what button you are pressing at any given moment. He says that while Valve has put in extensive feedback to help alleviate any problems, it “wasn’t enough to solve [the problem]” – asserting that the controller needed “little nubs” to let players know which buttons they were pushing on the trackpad. Only time will tell if Valve feels the same way.
Despite this, Refenes said that he had a largely enjoyable hands-on with the controller, stating:
“If you were to ask me if I would play games with the Steam Controller… I would say yes.”
He did continue by claiming that if he had the choice of a Steam Controller or an Xbox 360 controller, he would choose the Microsoft option; though, admitted that this was driven by familiarity not necessarily quality. He reiterated his positive experience with the controller by saying:
“If tomorrow all game controllers were wiped off the earth and the only option was the Steam Controller, I don’t think this would be a bad thing. In fact, I don’t think gaming would miss a beat.”
As beta testing for the console goes live at the end of the year, it will be very interesting to see the reports that come out and the response to the final controller. Is the Steam controller the PC peripheral you’ve been waiting for?