Valve’s New Steam Controller: You Don’t Know Unless You Try

Late last week, Valve made its final announcement in its three-part Steam for the living room streak: the Steam controller, an odd looking, unfamiliar d-pad void vessel for your fingers. And of course, the media world jumped on the announcement to harp at Valve.

Let me bring forth some clarity: none of them have actually tried using it.

steam controller

One media outlet had the word “doomed” in the headline, and went into detailed lengths about the controller. They didn’t have one to actually use.

Media just love doom-and-gloom stories, and I suppose I know why: it brings in page views; it brings in debates; and hopefully, it might start flame wars. The publication — I won’t name which one — also questioned Valve’s strategy, and questioned the need for the Steam controller when “there’s no demand for it.”

steam controller blueprint

The last time I saw a product that sky-rocketed in the tech history books as a monumental success was the iPad — when there was no “demand” for yet another “tablet.” This is not to say that the Steam controller will be the new iPad of controllers, but it could be.

There have been d-pad-less touch controllers in the past, but one needs to remember that the technologies that Valve is using in the Steam controller are recent technologies. Sometimes things can be too far ahead of its time, especially when technologies to make it a truly great experience, aren’t yet available. Valve is saying that its figured it out, and that what’s coming really does work. Best of all, Valve says it works amazingly.

steam controller breakout

We’ll have to wait and try it for ourselves, before we can give any concrete feedback on the Steam controller. Until others get their hands on the controller itself, do yourself a big favor and ignore people who claim to know everything about it yet have no experience with it.

I’ll leave the details of the controller to those who know it best. Read more about the Steam controller here.

by Michael Hoang, on October 1, 2013