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Valve wants to control the Steam Machine controllers
Valve wants to control the Steam Machine controllers
November 11, 2013 | By Mike Rose

November 11, 2013 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

Newsbrief: While third-party companies are being invited to create their own "Steam Machine" living room PCs with Valve's SteamOS part of the package, the company has said that Steam Controllers will only be available from Valve.

Talking to IGN, Valve's Greg Coomer explained that Valve will supply third-party Steam Machine manufacturers with Steam Controllers, as the company wants to control the attributes of how people play games via Steam.

"It's not really because we're super anxious to get in the hardware business and we think it's the best way to turn 90 degrees and start racing toward success in hardware and making money in that way," he noted. "It's really because we want the controllers to exist."

More at IGN.

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Kujel s
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I do believe that the steam controller will be a contributing factor to the steam machines not really taking off. PC gamers prefer mouse and keyboard and this controller doesn't solve that. The games that work well with it already work well with gamepads so this controller will only serve to discourage the fans of mouse and keyboard interfaces.

Jesse Tucker
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Having used a Steam Machine Controller, it actually works pretty well with games that were originally designed for a mouse and keyboard. It takes a bit of getting used to and ultimately won't be *quite* as precise as a M+Key. If I'm playing a hardcore FPS or something that requires very rapid and precise mouse input, I'd still use a M+Key and sit upright at a desk. If I'm going to play a less demanding game such as Skyrim or Just Cause 2 or something like Mass Effect, I'd be happy to trade the super fine precision to be able to play on my couch in front of a big TV.

To address the actual content of the article, it makes perfect sense that Valve would want to keep a firm grasp on the controller. Unlike a "Steam Machine" which in all fairness is just a quiet, small, powerful computer that's more suited to being located in a living room, the controller is subject to much more specific design. It's very important for Valve to get the controller just right, so it wouldn't make sense for them to go to hardware manufacturers and have them make any old input device.

Of course if a game already has 360 controller support, there's no reason you couldn't use that to play the game instead.

Bob Johnson
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Yeah all those games you mentioned already use the 360 controller so not much of a selling point there.

And competitive pc gaming won't be a selling point if m/k is superior as you also said.

That leaves m/k only games that aren't demanding as the real selling point.

WoW and Starcraft come to mind. Civ5 and Sims. But the problem is not just needing a controller that can emulate m/k in the living room. I mean I have some doubts about using the 12"-24" UI in the 10'-12' living room experience.

Scot White
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sigh the steam controller is a half-assed step between the controller and mouse and keyboard.

Mike Griffin
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The living room and couch with a Steam Machine is a halfway point between hardcore console gaming and hardcore PC gaming, so a halfway controller has entered the mix. Time will tell how successful various genres are adapted to perform on the device.

I'll still play the hardest of hardcore FPS sessions on a finely-calibrated gaming keyboard and mouse.

I'll play fighting games with a high quality stick or top notch d-pad controller (i.e., Sega Saturn Japanese USB),

I'll play the odd racing game with a high quality wheel and pedals, or likely with an Xbox 360 controller or (going forward) DualShock 4.

And so on and so forth. The Steam controller won't be my one-stop solution to gameplay in all genres, just as mouse + keyboard or console twin analog controllers do not cover all the bases of optimized input in all genres.

I look forward to discovering games and gameplay which can shine when using the Steam controller, however.

The beauty of gaming, traditionally, is that we have a wide spectrum of input devices available -- now including touch, voice, motion -- to match to various optimal gameplay conditions and genres.

Bob Johnson
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I'm more excited about STeamOS on my pc than the controller. I would love to replace Windows and not pay $100ish per pc to have an OS or to upgrade. And to not deal with calls to activation support every time I change my hardware. And of course to not deal with Windows bs. Crosses fingers. Doesn't hold breath.

I'll check out the controller. IT looks interesting enough. But I guess I don't see myself buying a (pricey or under-powered) Steam Machine nor putting my pc in the living room. I'd be more interested if Valve made a console, just one console, to go along with this controller.

Also not sold that the experience of clicking menus and little icons transfers well to the living room experience. More than the controls have to change.