As part of the company’s three major announcements regarding its intentions to move Steam into the living room, Valve revealed what it’s currently calling the Steam Controller, a gamepad that features a touch-screen, haptic feedback and track pads instead of traditional analogue sticks.
Early reactions to the announcement have been very mixed, but if anything the Steam Controller seems like a bold direction for Valve, and combined with SteamOS and Steam Machines, a clear showing of how seriously the company intends to take control of (and provide flexibility for) the way PC gamers enjoy their pastime.
More recently, Tommy Refenes (of Super Meat Boy and Team Meat fame) has written in-depth about his initial impressions of the Steam Controller while hammering home the point about how particular he is about game controls in general, saying that “if the game doesn’t control well, I don’t care who makes it or what it is, I will stop playing it.”
“I need to press a button, feel good pressing it, and have it react accordingly on the screen. So, ladies and gentlemen… if I say I’m sensitive to controllers you will agree,” he says. So who better to speak about the functionality of a new gamepad, then?
After a few teething and configuration problems, Refenes gave a very detailed account of his time with the Steam Controller, describing how buttons feel, speaking about the feedback from the trackpads and how easily he was able to play Super Meat Boy (a game he spent months fine tuning the controls for) and Spelunky.
Notably, Refenes thinks that future iterations of the Steam Controller could benefit from the inclusion of small nubs on the trackpads to provide “tactile contact in order to accurately know what button you are pressing.” This idea had been thought of by the controller engineers and might still make an appearance in the final hardware.
Refenes concluded his write-up by saying that, right now, he would choose the Xbox 360 gamepad over the Steam Controller, but not necessarily because one is superior to the other, writing that the choice is based more on “the comfort of familiarity over functionality. I would choose a 360 controller because I have several thousand hours experience using it,” he said.
“TL;DR;,” Refenes wrote, “Great Start, needs some improvements, but I could play any game I wanted with it just fine.”
What do you think of the Steam Controller so far, and do you think Refenes’ initial assessment has helped you better understand how it works?
Source: Tommy Refenes Blog