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After picking up my own Steam Controller at midnight from GAME on the day of release back in November of 2015, it has become practically the only gamepad I use. To the point that anything else just feels—wrong. To be clear I own a Logitech F310, a DualShock 4, an Xbox One Controller, I've also extensively used an Xbox 360 pad and so many more.

One of the problems I have with gamepads, is that I often can’t reach multiple buttons at the same time (small hands problems). With the Steam Controller, it’s not much of an issue thanks to the back paddles. Seriously, they’re part of the reason why I love it so much! Take Rocket League as an example, I’ve switched Boost and Slide to the back paddles, so that I can do all sorts of crazy tricks. Before I did that I was honestly terrible at the game. Now though thanks to that? Well, I can do silly things like this:

Another point is the batteries and battery life I wanted to touch on. I rarely have to charge or change batteries, you get a ridiculous amount of life out of it. The fact that batteries aren’t built in, for me, has also been a huge bonus since I never have to worry about it fully dying due to a dead built-in battery. In the time I’ve owned a PlayStation 4, I’ve gone through three DualShock 4’s due to the battery in it just completely dying and no longer charging.

What’s also great about it, is that for games that don’t directly support it and for those times you perhaps want to use it with some sort of media centre PC, SC Controller comes to the rescue. I actually have two, my second one is attached to my TV PC which runs Kubuntu and I have it set to load SC Controller on boot so I can instantly use the Steam Controller to load up anything I want from streaming services in the browser, to games as I can happily flick the mode from desktop to gamepad at the touch of a button with SC Controller’s built-in overlay for switching configs.

Thankfully, support for the Steam Controller has improved dramatically in the last year and it’s now reasonably rare for games not to support it.

Sadly, after a good few years of constant use, the left stick on the Steam Controller has worn down quite a lot. The left side of the stick is noticeably worn out and the right side of the stick has a dip in it of material missing. Thankfully, protective covers for the stick of the Steam Controller that are designed for other gamepads seem to fit quite well. For those interested, I picked up a bunch of Silicone thumb grips from eBay (specifically these) and it’s a perfect fit:

I’m hoping Valve decide to do a second generation of the Steam Controller, there’s a lot of ways they could improve it still. For starters, they could probably shrink the size just a little, it’s a bit large honestly. Not much, but a really-small shrinkage which probably make it a perfect size as it’s so close. The battery compartment, it’s a bit of a nuisance. Some batteries are a tiny bit thicker than others, making them incredibly difficult to get out so I would also love to see some improvements there too.

After enjoying mine so much, I would happily wait in line again if a next generation Steam Controller comes along. Back paddles, wireless with batteries you can replace and the amount of configuration you can do with it and more make it such a good choice. Considering the price of it, it’s quite ridiculous compared to some alternatives with comparable features.

You can grab a Steam Controller from Steam and other online stores.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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30 comments
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Sojiro84 8 June 2019 at 2:08 pm UTC
I tried the steam controller as well, but playing third person games or shooters is impossible with it. The aiming is so weird/awkward/imprecise.

Sure, maybe after many many many hours of practice I might be good at it, but I don't want to suck at games for a long period of time before I can enjoy it.

I read online that aiming should be done with the gyro but that means moving my wrists in weird angles. Gaming is meant to be relaxing and the steam controller is just frustrating to use.

But I do applaud the people that manage to go through the transitional period.
namiko 8 June 2019 at 2:09 pm UTC
Nanobang...I use the Lpad instead of the joystick for ev-er-y-thing, and the stick just ends up being used like a kinda clumsy, vestigial Dpad.
Man, took the words right out of my mouth, tend to avoid using the D-stick because I had an N64 back in the day (though I never broke my sticks, despite them being well-loved ;). Actually had to ask someone travelling to the U.S. to buy more Steam Controllers, because the Canadian distributors were (are?) sold out everywhere and Amazon sellers terribly inflated the prices!

Would even love to use the Steam Controller for an easy "remote" using SC-Controller once I get a MythTV-based PVR going.

IMHO, the Steam Controller is excellent for those who are always tweaking everything in their software. You can make the controller do anything you want so long as you can imagine how it would work and are willing to invest the time into tweaking the settings until they're perfect.

It's much easier on RSI to NOT use the D-stick too.
M@GOid 8 June 2019 at 2:26 pm UTC
QuoteThe left side of the stick is noticeably worn out and the right side of the stick has a dip in it of material missing.

I like my peripherals clean, so I clean them with hand cleaning alcohol from time to time. Unfortunately, that started dissolving the rubber on the stick, to the point I choose to scrap it to bare plastic.

So a week ago I bought a couple replacement sticks for the Xbox One controller, thinking it would be a drop-in solution. It is not. After some surgery with a Dremel tool (on the replacement stick, obviously) I made it fit, but is too tall and feels strange.

I will look at your solution for this problem. Hopefully it will be better than mine.
Dunc 8 June 2019 at 2:43 pm UTC
Sojiro84I read online that aiming should be done with the gyro but that means moving my wrists in weird angles.
The trick is to use the gyro to assist the right trackpad, not instead of it. Set it so that barely does anything at all, and use it for fine adjustments. You don't need to move your wrists very much. The method's harder to describe than it is to use. I was sceptical myself, but within seconds of trying it, it became second-nature. If it's set up properly (a lot of the community configs are really good) I barely notice that I'm using the gyro at all; it just feels like the trackpad is more accurate than it really is.

All that said, I still can't get used to it for driving games. It's just about okay for something like Euro Truck Simulator 2, but when I'm racing it feels like I'm wearing boxing gloves. And I'm still not sure why. I think it's a combination of things: 1, I've been using a 360 controller for over a decade; 2, it is slightly too large, as Liam says; 3, no rumble; and 4, the triggers don't have the same “feel” as the 360, due, I think, to a slightly shorter throw and slightly weaker springs.

[Edit: It's also possible that the massive amount of hidden assistance driving games give to thumbstick controllers just isn't configured for it.]

I still use KB+M for a lot of things too. But I wouldn't get rid of it. It's definitely one of my top 3 controllers of all time (and I remember when the Atari VCS stick was the standard, so I've used a few...).


Last edited by Dunc at 8 June 2019 at 2:46 pm UTC
Liam Dawe 8 June 2019 at 2:44 pm UTC
M@GOid
QuoteThe left side of the stick is noticeably worn out and the right side of the stick has a dip in it of material missing.

I like my peripherals clean, so I clean them with hand cleaning alcohol from time to time. Unfortunately, that started dissolving the rubber on the stick, to the point I choose to scrap it to bare plastic.

So a week ago I bought a couple replacement sticks for the Xbox One controller, thinking it would be a drop-in solution. It is not. After some surgery with a Dremel tool (on the replacement stick, obviously) I made it fit, but is too tall and feels strange.

I will look at your solution for this problem. Hopefully it will be better than mine.
Yeah the material the left stick is made of, is sadly a little too soft compared to any other I've tested. A cover is the best and easiest solution to prolong the life of it.
NoSt 8 June 2019 at 3:08 pm UTC
I love mine too, and I'm not a gamepad person. Give me a keyboard and a mouse and I'm a happy man.
Still, there are some games designed mainly for controllers, and that's when the Steam Controller saves my day. It takes some getting used to in the beginning, but the learning curve is not that scary and it's really comfortable to use afterwards.
I also like the fact that Valve continues to improve the Steam Controller support with Proton. For example, it was frustrating not being able to use it, when I first got Yakuza 0, but now it works perfectly.
My biggest complaint about the current design is the battery compartment. Every time I have to change the batteries I struggle with the one on the right side. I thought that maybe it's a defect of my controller in particular, but it seems that I'm not the only one.
melkemind 8 June 2019 at 3:54 pm UTC
I started packing to move and now can't find mine! I'm going through serious withdrawal right now.
Beamboom 8 June 2019 at 9:24 pm UTC
Great controller, it's my #1.
But it must be said, there's SOME games where the "traditional" controller works better. Much to my regret, but still, it's the truth. The touch pad and flat digital pad is not always a good replacement to a second real stick and a traditional digipad.

Like, Fallout 4 for example. We need that second analogue stick there.
gustavoyaraujo 9 June 2019 at 12:41 am UTC
No concerns, the Steam Controller is awesome. I'm still one of those guys who wants to play everything on a gamepad, so I love it. The only feature that is missing for me is a good nintendo's like D-Pad.
no_information_here 9 June 2019 at 2:52 am UTC
Good review. I am interested in how flexible it is, and Valve's work in the customization screen is really a big part of that. I have stopped using any other controller, even though the SC is not perfect.

The things I like:

- Right thumb-pad for First Person games. As long as you aren't doing something competitive, this is the best thing next to a mouse.

- Gyro aim assist (like Dunc describes above). Very very nice.

- Back paddles are brilliant. I don't know why other controllers don't have them.

- Customization: Infinite.

Things I don't like:

- Left thumb pad. I really want a D-pad instead for many platformers. I find it interesting that other people like the left pad, so it is obviously a personal thing.

Minor things:

- Haptic buzzing. Thankfully Valve made a setting to disable it.

- Soft rubber crumbling over time (as mentioned in the article).

- Batteries hard to remove sometimes.

- Back paddles seem fragile and the click isn't as "positive" as I would like (all integrated into the back cover). They haven't broken yet, though, so maybe they are fine.

I hope that Valve comes out with v2. I would definitely buy one.
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