Steam Controller review (kinda)

02:00 PM, 20 September 2016 » gamepads, games, linux, steam

Meh. I intended to write this text about 2 months ago, whatever. I won’t post pictures and shit here cause you can find it all over internet, watch some video with gamepad on second camera and you know how it looks in action.

You might wonder, what do some sane (or FoO0uCKIKNggG mAD!?!?) person think about Steam Controller (55€ + shipping (about 5€ in central Europe))- price from Q3 2016, might and should change in future.

Is it worth the weight money? It depends solely on you, here’s why.

Hardware

Kinda good. It’s light and for first days I thought it’s not best quality plastic, but actually playing it for a while I find it sturdy. All computing is done inside the controller (it takes vdf file and maps it accordingly), it remembers your settings (bootup sound, poweroff sound, led brightness). You can upgrade firmware using steam or by just downloading files from steam webpage. (thanks for choice gaben!) You can’t hardbrick it, so no worries here.

Apart from controller you also get usb dongle (2.4Ghz I think, don’t quote me on that) and nice cable microusb-to-microusb cable and usb brick with usb out and microusb in. (if you play on desktop you gonna love it) Really nice thing if your controller is far away from desktop. No input lags whatsoever. Also if you still didn’t notice it’s big.

Software

Kinda bad. Actually not anymore. It was bad for long time (till about july-august(on linux)) but they added features from windows client. If you looked up steam controller you should know default config editing is done inside Big Picture mode. But you can also modify settings by right clicking a game and selecting an option. Sounds like a small change? No. You don’t want to use Big Picture. Apart from it’s goal (couch gaming) it’s also heavy, in some cases it even made game unplayable on my GPU (gtx 660, oddworld remake)

But you don’t have to use official driver, you can use better, open source one. As far as I checked, every option from official driver is implemented in kozec’s one. Thanks!

But you are still left with one little problem, you can’t use both of them at the same time. And you kinda need to, cause you can’t turn off steam’s driver. This leeds to using official one 99% of the time. I read somewhere that you can add nonsteam games and they’ll work but I haven’t tried that.

Feeling in games

But it all doesn’t matter if it plays really good right? And it does, but you have to learn how to play on it. And to be honest, it’s pain in the ass. If you have a lot of free time you probably gonna love it, because it really is giving you more options (mostly in keyboard only games), otherwise, meh. I still stick with xbox controller in Nuclear Throne and games that need fast camera movement.

Should I get it?

I guess you can get it if you really like gamepads (and/or your keyboard is really loud when playing with friends) but I think of it more like prototype. As per usual, Valve is probably going to abandon it over time like most of project they created. Compared to evil MS' xbox and Playstation controllers SteamController is the only usable and big company’s gamepad officially supported on the PC (and every major operating system, but I probably don’t need to tell you this). If you are keyboard warrior and you wanna try some game controllers, you might want to buy it- it’s gonna be probably easier on you than any gamepad user.