The Steam Machine’s Controller

Being brought up on classics such as Halo (they should’ve just stopped at #3, seriously, you can only ride the Halo train for so long), Unreal and Gears of War, it’s no secret that I have a deep appreciation for game consoles – especially the Xbox (sorry Playstation fans). Unfortunately, by the time I entered high school, I had dropped my addiction to my Xbox360. Clearly, I haven’t been completely up to date on the gaming scene, and it came as a surprise to me when I heard that Steam, the online game distribution platform, was releasing a console, the ‘Steam Machine’. So during the Friday tutorial (Sorry Mark), I took it upon myself to google anything and everything relating to said console, and my first stop was obviously IGN.com, and chanced upon this article reviewing the Steam Controller (http://www.ign.com/articles/2014/01/08/ces-steam-controller-hands-on-impressions).

Steam entering the console market will be, to an extent, a risk, seeing as how the market is alone dominated by Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft. Yes, there are features on the proposed Steam console that will one-up the other consoles currently in the market, but Steam has not been in the console industry for as long as the others.

You can plug your own keyboard and mouse into the Steam Machine, or you could use their controller. But the main focus of this post is the Steam Machine’s controller and the way one would operate it. Upon seeing the first image of the controller, I thought, “well shit, now I’m going to have to learn completely new controls on a completely new controller, and I’m going to suck so bad”. Here’s a picture on how the Steam Controller is used to play Portal 2:

controller_bindings-610x333

Immediately, the thought that it would be much easier to play Portal 2 on PC would be much easier, save myself the money, and time, and the emotional heartbreak at seeing myself butcher one of my favourite games. Also, I’m pretty lazy. According to Marty Sliva (IGN’s associate editor), “After 30 minutes with the controller, consider me a bit underwhelmed and slightly confused.”

Point: people are familiar and comfortable with the controls of PC games, with some games even considered to be better played with PC controls and this confusing-as-all-hell controller would just merely tarnish the experience of some PC-only games – I mean, could you imagine trying to play The Sims 2 on this controller?! Basically, if people are more comfortable playing Portal 2 with a keyboard and a mouse, then they will play Portal 2 with their keyboards and mouse, and would not completely utilise the Steam Machine’s controller (which may lead to maybe even the Steam Machine itself). Don’t get me wrong, the platform of the Steam Machine itself is good (who wouldn’t love opensource?), but buying the hardware and its controller is not completely necessary….and I completely want to buy one for myself and see how it goes. Especially if they release Half-Life 3.

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One thought on “The Steam Machine’s Controller

  1. It’s ok, you were doing something class related – you’re forgiven 😉

    I think it’s interesting to think about the gaming literacies which some of us bring to games – in some ways, being ‘threatened’ with a new controller just replicates what many new users are faced with when approaching gaming to begin with. It might allow us as users to take a step back, and think critically about some of the things that we just take for granted now.

    Just a little thought 🙂

    M

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