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Valve to lose $4 million for patent infringement with the Steam Controller

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Valve are yet again hitting the spotlight for the wrong reasons following the ruling from the EU Commission over geo-blocking, a lawsuit involving game pricing and now the Steam Controller too.

The lawsuit involved Ironburg Inventions (a subsidiary of Corsair Gaming), who have a patent for a game controller that has back paddles and they've held the patent since 2014. According to the press release, Valve lost the case and so "the jury unanimously found that Valve Corp infringed Ironburg’s 8,641,525 controller patent and awarded Ironburg over $4 million" additionally Valve were apparently aware of it and so the infringement was "willful". Due to this, there's a potential for "enhanced damages up to the statutory limit of treble damages" so the $4 million figure is only the beginning.

Any company that wishes to have back paddles, are then required to license the tech from Ironburg Inventions Ltd which is exactly what Microsoft does for their special Xbox Elite Controller.

The Steam Controller (sadly) was discontinued back in 2019. It was my favourite controller, and I still hope they bring out a proper second generation. Perhaps this was a big supporting reason for why they no longer continued with it? Probably not though, since they're now into VR hardware instead where there's likely a lot more monies.

If they do a second generation, perhaps they will be a little bit more careful with licensing next time and I will still happily be first in line if they do another.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Hardware, Misc, Valve
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64 comments
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Beamboom 4 Feb
Quoting: MohandevirI still feel the exact opposite, even though I tried the Xbox one, PS4 and Nvidia Shield controllers. I always come back to my Steam Controller like old comfy slippers, even if I can admit that it's not perfect for all tasks, just like any controller, in fact.

Ah - so the Steam controller was your first controller? Then that may be the whole explanation right there. Habits are hard to get rid, so the first one get accustomed to usually sticks. :)

I mean, I really do DIG Valve's controller, love the looks, love the originality, love the build quality. But... Yeah. :(
dubigrasu 4 Feb
Quoting: Beamboom
Quoting: MohandevirI still feel the exact opposite, even though I tried the Xbox one, PS4 and Nvidia Shield controllers. I always come back to my Steam Controller like old comfy slippers, even if I can admit that it's not perfect for all tasks, just like any controller, in fact.

Ah - so the Steam controller was your first controller? Then that may be the whole explanation right there. Habits are hard to get rid, so the first one get accustomed to usually sticks. :)

I mean, I really do DIG Valve's controller, love the looks, love the originality, love the build quality. But... Yeah. :(
I don't think that's it (at least in my case).
I have two big boxes full of gamepads, Playstation ones, Xbox, Logitech...you name it. In time I used all of them at one point or another. I bought and used so many because I was never truly satisfied with them, like I was searching for something. And that thing turned out to be the Steam Controller, from the moment I got it in my hands I no longer had any use for the rest of them.

The only exception I make is for Stadia where I use a wired Logitech, and that is because I could never make Stadia play nice with SC.
Quoting: Beamboom
Quoting: MohandevirI still feel the exact opposite, even though I tried the Xbox one, PS4 and Nvidia Shield controllers. I always come back to my Steam Controller like old comfy slippers, even if I can admit that it's not perfect for all tasks, just like any controller, in fact.

Ah - so the Steam controller was your first controller? Then that may be the whole explanation right there. Habits are hard to get rid, so the first one get accustomed to usually sticks. :)

I mean, I really do DIG Valve's controller, love the looks, love the originality, love the build quality. But... Yeah. :(

Not even that. Let me think... My first one is the Coleco Intellivision... Atari 2600... NES... SNES... N64... Sega Mastersystem... Sega Genesis... original Playstation & Xbox... Then I jumped to Twin sticks on PC with a couple of Logitechs after that (even the one that had a recoiling usb cable). Thing is, the right stick always felt ineffective and incomplete, to me. I never could get used to it. Sorry to debunk your theory...

Steam Controller FTW!

Quoting: dubigrasuI bought and used so many because I was never truly satisfied with them, like I was searching for something. And that thing turned out to be the Steam Controller, from the moment I got it in my hands I no longer had any use for the rest of them.

This! Exactly this! I even dropped controllers altogether for a while in favor of K+M. The Steam Controller is the reason I gave them a new shot.

Imo, The only thing that's missing, in the Steam controller, is true Android TV support, outside of the Steam Link app (Nvidia Shield). The default configuration is K+M which is quite limited.


Last edited by Mohandevir on 5 February 2021 at 12:14 am UTC
Beamboom 5 Feb
... seems I should give my Steam controller another chance, then. Try to figure out how on EARTH you can find it to actually be better than two analogue sticks :)
Seegras 5 Feb
I didn't write what you quoted as mine.

Quoting: F.UltraI have a problem following your reasoning here, development of a vaccine costs the pharmaceutical company billions. Giving them a time limited monopoly of said vaccine (aka the patent) is how we the society ensures that the pharmaceutical companies does invest these amounts. Talking about psychopathy here is just utter nonsense.

First off, we have a problem with pharmacy inflating these costs by a factor of 10, by including marketing and so on. And they've been doing this for decades.
https://www.thebodypro.com/article/r-d-really-cost -- 70 million instead of 700 in 2001. There are more of these papers out there, and they all get to the same conclusion, R&D costs get inflated by roughly a factor of 10. So it's not billions, but millions. See also the article I linked to.

Second, you can't just reproduce these things, even if they're (like the modeRNA vaccine) completely open. Usually competitors need around 3 years to catch up. And that's way enough time to recoup the R&D costs.

Finally, I don't see why I should constantly repeat arguments scientists have already made, and correct your mis-assumptions, just because you're too lazy to read the papers:
http://dklevine.com/general/intellectual/against.htm (and read that chapter about pharmaceuticals here http://dklevine.com/papers/ip.ch.9.m1004.pdf)
https://www.researchoninnovation.org/dopatentswork/
Quoting: Beamboom... seems I should give my Steam controller another chance, then. Try to figure out how on EARTH you can find it to actually be better than two analogue sticks :)

It's a sure thing that there is a learning curve, but when you get the hang of it, you can do a lot more stuff then what's permitted by a stick. Your trackpad settings and mine will probably differ, too... That's the beauty of the Steam Controller: fully configurable. You will have to find one that's a good fit for you. For my part, joystick as mouse or mouse are the two best preset options, depending on the game and I tweak them to my liking. Joystick emulation is utter garbage, imo, but somebody might have found a use case for some niche game too.

Edit: And don't base your gyroscope experience on the one in the Dualshock4... Quite a bad implementation, imo... It's always on and it gets in the way most of the time. The default behavior of the one in the Steam controller is activated when you touch (no need to press) the right trackpad. So, if you don't need it, it gets out of the way.


Last edited by Mohandevir on 5 February 2021 at 1:16 pm UTC
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Quoting: Mohandevir
Quoting: Beamboom... seems I should give my Steam controller another chance, then. Try to figure out how on EARTH you can find it to actually be better than two analogue sticks :)

It's a sure thing that there is a learning curve, but when you get the hang of it, you can do a lot more stuff then what's permitted by a stick. Your trackpad settings and mine will probably differ, too... That's the beauty of the Steam Controller: fully configurable. You will have to find one that's a good fit for you. For my part, joystick as mouse or mouse are the two best preset options, depending on the game and I tweak them to my liking. Joystick emulation is utter garbage, imo, but somebody might have found a use case for some niche game too.

Edit: And don't base your gyroscope experience on the one in the Dualshock4... Quite a bad implementation, imo... It's always on and it gets in the way most of the time. The default behavior of the one in the Steam controller is activated when you touch (no need to press) the right trackpad. So, if you don't need it, it gets out of the way.
I found the same thing with the Switch's (or Switch pro), the gyroscope was more irritating than useful. I haven't really tried it with the Steam Controller.
Quoting: slaapliedje
Quoting: Mohandevir
Quoting: Beamboom... seems I should give my Steam controller another chance, then. Try to figure out how on EARTH you can find it to actually be better than two analogue sticks :)

It's a sure thing that there is a learning curve, but when you get the hang of it, you can do a lot more stuff then what's permitted by a stick. Your trackpad settings and mine will probably differ, too... That's the beauty of the Steam Controller: fully configurable. You will have to find one that's a good fit for you. For my part, joystick as mouse or mouse are the two best preset options, depending on the game and I tweak them to my liking. Joystick emulation is utter garbage, imo, but somebody might have found a use case for some niche game too.

Edit: And don't base your gyroscope experience on the one in the Dualshock4... Quite a bad implementation, imo... It's always on and it gets in the way most of the time. The default behavior of the one in the Steam controller is activated when you touch (no need to press) the right trackpad. So, if you don't need it, it gets out of the way.
I found the same thing with the Switch's (or Switch pro), the gyroscope was more irritating than useful. I haven't really tried it with the Steam Controller.

Good to know... I couldn't speak for the Switch Pro controller (I don't have one). That's probably another advantage of the trackpad (touchpad)... I don't know how they could easily and naturally turn on and off the gyroscope with a stick... On the Steam controller, it's quite straightforward.
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Quoting: Mohandevir
Quoting: slaapliedje
Quoting: Mohandevir
Quoting: Beamboom... seems I should give my Steam controller another chance, then. Try to figure out how on EARTH you can find it to actually be better than two analogue sticks :)

It's a sure thing that there is a learning curve, but when you get the hang of it, you can do a lot more stuff then what's permitted by a stick. Your trackpad settings and mine will probably differ, too... That's the beauty of the Steam Controller: fully configurable. You will have to find one that's a good fit for you. For my part, joystick as mouse or mouse are the two best preset options, depending on the game and I tweak them to my liking. Joystick emulation is utter garbage, imo, but somebody might have found a use case for some niche game too.

Edit: And don't base your gyroscope experience on the one in the Dualshock4... Quite a bad implementation, imo... It's always on and it gets in the way most of the time. The default behavior of the one in the Steam controller is activated when you touch (no need to press) the right trackpad. So, if you don't need it, it gets out of the way.
I found the same thing with the Switch's (or Switch pro), the gyroscope was more irritating than useful. I haven't really tried it with the Steam Controller.

Good to know... I couldn't speak for the Switch Pro controller (I don't have one). That's probably another advantage of the trackpad (touchpad)... I don't know how they could easily and naturally turn on and off the gyroscope with a stick... On the Steam controller, it's quite straightforward.
Yeah, I had to go into the settings of the game (in particular Breath of the Wild) to turn it off, as it's not really useful when you're laying in bed and you pull out your bow and shifting weird while laying down and you move all around and can't hit a damned thing :P
F.Ultra 5 Feb
Quoting: Purple Library Guy
Quoting: F.Ultra
Quoting: SeegrasIn chemistry and pharma aren't working either. The fact that a lab creates a vaccine and is not immediately available for every other lab to palliate with a disease, whether that is a solving erectile dysfunction or a pandemic, but rather they can prevent others from doing the same, or getting rich by leasing the patent, is utterly annoying. It could only come from the mind of a psychopath.

I have a problem following your reasoning here, development of a vaccine costs the pharmaceutical company billions. Giving them a time limited monopoly of said vaccine (aka the patent) is how we the society ensures that the pharmaceutical companies does invest these amounts. Talking about psychopathy here is just utter nonsense.
That's a way we the society ensure that. It's not at all the only way. For instance, Moderna's development of a Covid vaccine was financed entirely up front by the US government--they didn't spend a dime of their own money and indeed made a profit before they'd ever started manufacturing. Then they were given a patent as well, but I don't see what the point of that was.

It's kind of an odd approach generally. I mean, most people who defend the patent system for pharmaceuticals concede that the big pharma companies don't really do a whole lot of original basic research--that's mainly public sector and pharma mostly piggybacks off the public sector ideas. What pharma does is lots of clinical trials, which cost a lot of money. OK, fine, for clinical trials to be done, money has to be spent, but what should that have to do with patents? It's a fairly mechanical process that doesn't involve coming up with original ideas, so why should our method of compensating it pretend that it does?

And as a method, it doesn't work terribly well. Vaccines don't typically make pharmaceutical companies a ton of money, so they don't spend that much money developing them. But vaccines are very useful in terms of public health. In fact, in terms of medicines, there is to some extent an inverse relationship between utility and profitability. Palliative treatments are more profitable than cures, since they can be sold again and again.
If you're a fan of "free markets" (which, OK, I'm not), patents are a massive distortion of those whether you're talking about the original Adam Smith et al. sense or the modern sense, since from Smith's perspective they create huge windfall economic rents and from the modern perspective they involve massive government intervention and from both perspectives they represent the literal creation of monopoly for the express purpose of distorting prices.
Those prices can get jacked up especially high because of the nature of medicine--how much will you pay the only person who can save your life? The highest profit will necessarily come at a price-point high enough that many won't be able to afford it. This is cruel and immoral. But there is also a substantial public interest issue. Bad public health has social and economic implications.
So between these issues, leaving it to the (patent-distorted) market to decide just which treatments and vaccines should be pursued is inevitably going to give you perverse outcomes where worse medicines are emphasized over better ones, and the medicines produced are undersupplied and overcharged for, leaving many untreated, and sucking unnecessarily huge amounts of money out of the broader economy, leaving pharmaceutical companies with huge windfall profits.

Those windfall profits are also a huge motivator to falsify the outcomes of clinical trials to make drugs look better and less risky than they are. This has caused tens of thousands of deaths. It would be better to just have companies that do clinical trials, have public agencies that decided which drugs should have trials done, and pay them to do them. The public agency's purpose would be to improve public health, not make a profit from perverse outcomes. So they wouldn't be motivated to avoid cures in favour of palliative treatments, nor to falsify results of clinical trials. Clinical trial companies would compete on price and accuracy. Then the drugs, once approved, could be handed over to generic drug makers who would manufacture them cheaply and, again, in competition rather than with a monopoly. And that's just one possibility. I'm sure there are plenty of other approaches that would be better than what we have for everything except letting big pharma siphon off windfall profits.

I agree completely with you, I believe that pharmaceutical research should be funded by government and the results not patented.

I simply replied back to the argument that companies funding everything in private should immediately release their findings for free or be seen as psychopathic.
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