SEGA comments on Steam’s new controller


There has been a lot of questions regarding Steam’s new controller, pictured above. The controller will use two trackpads instead of traditional buttons that can be fully customized by developers, the idea is that it will allow users to play RTS games, as well as ‘traditional’ controller games just fine. Of course SEGA would like the opportunity to bring their massive successful PC games into the living room. But how does it control?

“It’s very much still in beta. It’s rough around the edges and there are functions missing. The first thing I noticed is that it feels very light, and the left hand touchpad movement feels very natural. It is incredibly fluid and intuitive right from the off. The right hand touchpad, which would normally handle your looking movements, was frantic and incredibly sensitive. It was tricky, but if you hone it down and manage the sensitivity, I am sure it will be better. You can tell pro-gamers will use this in tournaments.” – Digital distribution director James Schall

SEGA managed to win over brand director for Total War, Rob Bartholomew who came into Valve questioning the idea for the controller. He said after 10 minutes he was won over with the possibilities they can accomplish with the new pad.

“Even with the default set-up and tweaking a few button configurations on the fly, we managed to play ROME II within minutes. I can’t imagine it would take long at all for us to develop a recommended set-up that would interface well with Total War. The genius being of course that no one user would need to be stuck with that, they could adapt and share their own controller preferences as they liked.” – Total War brand director, Rob Bartholomew

One of the biggest things they all talked about was that they want to see it in consumers hands. How cheap will the controller be? Will PC gamers even want this controller? Well, according to Rob Bartholomew, it is ‘exciting that there are real, affordable, well-supported alternatives to traditional consoles‘. How affordable is affordable to the average consumer? Are you planning on picking up a Steam controller?


3 responses to “SEGA comments on Steam’s new controller

  1. pso2love says:

    Of course I will get the controller. If an intriguing trackpad would be better tracking than a thumbstick, then it will be worth trying at the least.

  2. Plant says:

    I’m not exactly sure if it’s a good idea to replace buttons with things like these.
    Would be nice to have these as a feature instead of a complete replacement. I haven’t tried this, but I can’t imagine this working well in platformers or fighting games, which generally require “binary” controls – you hit the button or you don’t, when you hit down, you want it to go down, not some approximate direction. Arcade sticks in best arcade controllers and arcade cabinets AREN’T analog for a good reason.
    Some controllers in the past have tried experimenting with touch pads instead of regular buttons and it never worked out in games like Sonic and such due to lack of control accuracy. Plus you don’t have any physical feedback of pressing a button, since you’re sliding it across/touching a flat surface that feels the same in every direction.

    If it’s just a controller for enthusiasts and for RTS, maybe FPS and action RPGs, then sure, it’s a great idea. Granted, mouse&keyboard setup is still heaps better for RTS because of keyboard shortcuts which you can’t possibly fit on a controller, so I kinda doubt pro gamers are ever going to use this for serious competitive play, but who knows.

    And what about people whose thumbs tend to get really sweaty? Will sweat cause interference and render it unusable until you dry it? Like it does on touch screens in tablets/smartphones?

    • InTheSky says:

      Spot on. Especially with the comment about arcade sticks. As you alluded to, this may be fine with things that are less “execution heavy” in comparison to something like a fighting game, but it still doesn’t seem all that preferable.

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