Valve shows off Steam Controller playing games in new video

Two weeks ago, Valve announced its Steam Controller, a new type of gamepad that ditches the normal joysticks in favor of haptic-based trackpads. Today, the company showed off how the prototype Steam Controller is used to play several games in a new YouTube video.

The clip first showed how the Steam Controller could be used to play Valve's puzzle shooter "Portal 2" on the PC, without any special set-ups. The left trackpad is configured like a typical D-pad for player movement, while the right takes care of the functions that are normally handled by the mouse. Later on in the video, the Steam Controller is shown playing another game from Valve, "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive," and it's noted that players don't need auto-aim help with the use of this new gamepad.

The clip also shows a game that is almost never played on a console-like gamepad, Firaxis' "Civilization V." In the case of the Steam Controller, the turn-based strategy game uses the left trackpad for camera movement and the right for one-to-one mouse control. Finally, the clip shows an indie game called "Papers, Please," where the player must determine if a person can enter a fictional country just by looking at their official papers. The game is meant to be played mostly by moving a mouse around, and the Steam Controller has been set up so that both trackpads act to move the cursor on the screen more quickly than with a typical mouse.

The Steam Controller prototypes have four buttons in the center that will later be replaced by a touchscreen when the final version is released. 300 people will get a chance to check out the prototype when Valve sends out the first versions of their Steam Machines for beta testing later this year.

Source: Valve on YouTube

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This video only helped strengthen my scepticism towards this controller.

The FPS game controls just seemed awkward and unprecise and hard to control. it's like taking all the wrst parts of a stick controller and multiplying it by a hundred. There's a reason noone plays fps games with a mousepad.

the strategy game wasn't any better. playing strategy games with a pad is just awkard, playing a strategy game with a pad where you have to use your thumb... (awkward+clumsy)*100. did not seem practical at all. How is this going to supposedly replace the mouse when it's so bad to use anyone would get annoyed and just use a wireless mouse and keyboard on their computer instead, or better, sell it and buy one of those programmable left hand semi keyboard "claw" controllers for use with their mouse.

That looked cool at first, but watching this demo makes me realize how painful and tiring it would be on your thumbs to play with the constant scrolling. Definitely think the joysticks on other controllers are better.

j2006 said,
That looked cool at first, but watching this demo makes me realize how painful and tiring it would be on your thumbs to play with the constant scrolling. Definitely think the joysticks on other controllers are better.
This seems to be more accurate.

1:1 mouse pointer on that tiny pad is going to be pretty bad. Usually you want a foot or so of distance for a 1:1. It makes my fingers hurt just thinking about rubbing on those pads for hours.

Never have been much of a fan of gamepads aside from literally two or three games that work better with them (for me), but still curious about this one. I'm game to buy one if they're sold separately.

I'm sold. I've avoided mouse control games as i like gaming from couch using XBOX controller, and the accuracy on CS looked awesome.. i'll definitely pick one up and give it a go.

Not sure I'd call that CS accuracy awesome. In fact, I would call it really, really bad. You wouldn't stand a chance if you had to play the game like that, unless everyone else was forced to use that controller as well.

Don't fool yourself, you're never going to on the same level as a keyboard mouse user in a game like CS go when using a joypad, even a steam controller. You might a get a few lucky shots into the general direction, but the speed and accuracy of a mouse is just going to dominate joypad users.

I agree, but the accuracy was better than anything i could pull off with a XBOX controller, of course i'm just being optimising going off the video, it could be awful.. but any improvement over a basic controller is good enough for me since i still play these games on a PC but don't use a mouse so i'm always at a disadvantage.

From looks alone, I don't think I'm going to like the movement and scrolling. Maybe for short (mobile type games).

The precision looks impressive, but i didnt like how you have to keep going left to right, left to right, left to right to make a 360 turn, looks like for serious gamers, your thumbs would get tired after a few hours of playing.

It's pretending to be a mouse, you have to keep picking up your mouse and moving it again too unless you adjust your mouse sensitivity super high so you can do a 360 with a tiny mouse move (can't imagine how you can do percise aiming like that though). If that is your thing though I'm sure you can slide the mouse sensitive up in the game and it will work that way with the gamepad too.

I definitely want to give it a try. I'm cautiously optimistic with my biggest concern being what this thing is going to cost if that center section ends up being a touch-screen as planned. Sony wanted to do that too but it was too expensive so they went with a clickable touchpad instead. If it's much over $60 they aren't going to get much mainstream support for this thing. If it's supposed to be Steambox's default controller they can't price it like a top end controller.

it's called acceleration. and the fact that a mouse mat is about 30 times the size of that thumb pad. *i have no problems being both precise and fast in an fps with a mouse. with that thing, I would be slow and inaccurate.

I'd rather use a pad with sticks, they are much easier to control and much more comfortable.

It looked amazing in comparison to someone playing with a 'traditional' 360/ps3 joypad.
Of course the CS:GO looked bad as well when you put it up vs someone with an actual mouse, but a heck of a lot better then analog sticks.

notchinese said,
I don't know what you guys are watching, but the Portal 2 demo looked beyond ridiculous. (in a bad way)

Yeah it does. Did nobody else think the multi-swipe to turn was super awkward?

MikeInBA said,

Yeah it does. Did nobody else think the multi-swipe to turn was super awkward?

Yea, it's just like playing Portal on my laptop with the touchpad. It's doable but tedious.

Spicoli said,

Yea, it's just like playing Portal on my laptop with the touchpad. It's doable but tedious.

This is what I was thinking, too. I'm pretty open minded about this controller because of what it's trying to do, but the 1:1 mouse pad control is going to be terrible. A trackball would be more satisfying (not that I'm recommending it).

theyarecomingforyou said,

That's a prototype. The final controller will look much better, based on the renders.

Yeah the middle is going to be a touch screen. Not those 4 boxes.

Haha, nice find!!
I would only use it out of curiosity and those rare times I hook my console up in my TV room. Then for a handful of games I do think benefit from a controller, such as Super Meat Boy.

I'd like to try one that's for sure. If I pick one up will be largely based on the quality of the drivers, and if there is middleware needed to configure and use the controller.
With Valve's (gaben) disinterest in Windows 8, it's left me wondering how well it'd be supported, or will they be focusing their attention more on the Linux/Mac side of things since it's developed for a Linux based steam box anyway.

sagum said,
With Valve's (gaben) disinterest in Windows 8, it's left me wondering how well it'd be supported, or will they be focusing their attention more on the Linux/Mac side of things since it's developed for a Linux based steam box anyway.

He may dislike Windows 8, but only a complete idiot would not treat it as a first class citizen.