The first non-prototype Steam Controller has reached the press and users who pre-ordered it early. PC Gamer has their first impressions. Here’s PC Gamer’s Wes Fenlon describing the touchpads that replace a more traditional set of analog sticks:
I know that learning to use the Steam Controller is going to take time. I’ve been using controllers shaped and designed like the Xbox 360 pad for more than a decade, and that analog form factor and face button layout really dates back further than that. The trackpads are a very different thing. But my early reaction to playing games with the controller is resigned disappointment: the feeling that Valve may have taken on an impossible task. Years of engineering effort went into making something better than a gamepad, something that could fill in for a mouse… and this was what they came up with? There really wasn’t a better way?
Perhaps there wasn’t, but I’m not sure this is the solution I want. In Left 4 Dead 2, aiming with the right trackpad felt labored and inaccurate, like using mouse aim at an extremely low sensitivity. I know that could be improved by adjusting sensitivity and familiarizing myself with the control method more. I can absolutely get better at it, but I don’t think I’ll ever like it as a form of input.
It sounds like the trackpads are just as unusable for most games as on the prototype. I’d really like to try them in something mouse-focused like Cities: Skylines. Meanwhile, Linux users on Ubuntu are stuck having to manually edit text files to get their systems to identify the controller for now.