Why The Steam Controller Is A Miracle Controller But You Shouldn’t Buy One Just Yet

The Steam controller just released this week, and a lot of reports are getting mixed feelings about the new Steam controller. But amidst the confusion with the new Steam controller, everyone is saying one thing—it has a lot of potential and it can literally bring a person back to their gaming feet.

True, a legend isn’t born overnight. Even King Arthur has had his earlier rougher days. That’s our verdict for the Steam Controller. If you’re not overly keen on using Steam Link, or you’re good with whatever controller you have now, you can go ahead and pass on this controller. But if you’re looking at playing those PC games on your couch, or you just want to retire your old Xbox 360 controller that you still use as your PC controller, or if you know someone who just can’t use a two-handed joystick anymore for various reasons, then you can experiment with the Steam controller, Valve’s answer to the Xbox One Elite controller’s exaggerated customizability features.

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The perks of the Steam controller, above everything, is its customizability. You can say that the Steam controller is for the Tinkerer, the player who wants everything customized to his/her liking. So if you’re that kind of player who wants maximum customizability, but just couldn’t get that Xbox One Elite controller for your PC gaming needs, then you could try your hand with the Steam controller.

Since the Steam controller is crazy customizable, you can get lost trying to figure out which configuration would work for you—especially if you’re on a game that’s configured mainly for a keyboard-and-mouse kind of gameplay. But the good thing with the Steam controller is that the community support is crazy active, so tons of downloadable crowd-sourced mapping are already available. Simply click the button with the Steam logo at the center of the controller and this will let you canvass different mappings that you can tweak further to your liking.

And because of its crazy customizability ability, the Steam controller just got recently mapped for a one-hand Skyrim adventure, thanks to YouTuber Chris Hepburn, Kotaku reports. Chris was able to map all the necessary controls in playing Skyrim to the right side of the Steam controller, making use of the Steam controller’s ground-breaking motion controls for movement. Looking around has been mapped to the right haptic pad, and holding down the pad will let your Skyrim character sprint. Item management has been assigned to the single joystick, and the right triggers are used for attacks and defends. The face buttons work as they usually do.

Chris Hepburn's one-hand map for skyrim (screenshot of Chris Hepburn's YouTube video)
Chris Hepburn’s one-hand map for Skyrim [Screenshot of Chris Hepburn’s YouTube video]
So why did Chris do this? He shares on Reddit that he actually created the one-hand Skyrim map for the Steam controller to answer a request from a user whose dad couldn’t use his left hand already.

“A user requested a one handed configuration for their dad who can only use his right hand. So here it is. Skyrim with one hand. Actually quite fun I have to say ? now I know this is doable I will make some more the other games he wants to play. If you want the config it’s ID is 553140965 or it’s called ‘Skyrim (Right hand only version) by hepburn3d.’ Really hope this means more one handed people and other people with disabilities can play more games they love. I can’t imagine not playing my games so would love more people to get to play theirs and more.”

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Of course, with great praises come great criticisms. IGN has spent some time with the Steam controller, and they just hated it for various reasons. The Steam controller is made entirely of plastic and is tons lighter than the normal Xbox controllers. This makes for a cheap-looking controller that feels more like a toy than a tool.

The buttons are stiffer than the trusted Xbox controllers, too, which makes for a frustrating gameplay. That feeling when you press a button and it feels like it gets buried? Something close to that.

Steam controller (via Steam)
Steam controller [via Steam]
And while the circular haptic pad on the right side of the Steam controller was designed to work like a mouse or trackpad, it makes for zero precision and ease of use. Getting headshots when playing first-person shooters are more via luck than skill—that’s how bad it is for shooting games. And multiplayer is just off the table because the Steam controller has no headset support.


Should you buy the Steam controller? If you have no real pressing need for it, you can skip the Steam controller for now. It has undergone so many revisions and so much development, and it will be good to see it improve some more. Anyway, game streaming is just at its infancy, and the Steam Link is still not as reliable as it should be—hello unreliable home connections and crappy PCs—so there is no need for the Steam controller for your PC-gaming-goes-to-the-living-room type of gaming.

The Steam controller takes some time to getting used to and if you have no time or patience for that just yet, you can stick with your trusted wired Xbox 360 controller for now.

[Image via Steam]

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