Updated at: 10-04-2023 - By: Leo Hall

It’s incredible how quickly the years go by. Valve’s original announcement of its own operating system, Steam Machines, and a range of gaming PCs drew a lot of attention at the time, and I clearly remember the excitement and conjecture that ensued.

As with the original Steam Controller design, SteamOS also had some fascinating features, albeit a few that were difficult to understand at first. Only one Steam Machine (the Alienware Alpha) has come to market in the past two years, with 14 more expected to arrive in time for the holidays.

It wasn’t long before the genuine questions began to emerge. Since when is the Steam Controller expected to be released? Compared to the Xbox 360 controller, what was unique about this controller? Once we learned that Steam’s vision of the future would be delayed, we were in for a rude awakening.

Not everything is horrible, however. Because to the postponement, Valve has had time to rethink the controller and put its focus on usefulness rather than novelty.

A year and a half ago, we saw early models of the Steam Controller that were smarter, more responsive, and all-around better to use than the current version.

Although Steam Big Picture Mode is a key part of Valve’s vision for the living room, it’s restricted to Steam Big Picture Mode-capable devices as a tradeoff for its innovative features.

The Steam Controller is an ever-evolving platform by its own nature, thus the features it contains now may be significantly different from those we see in six months. Only the controller’s design will remain static, at least for the foreseeable future…

The A-Team:

  • An excellent sense of touch
  • Design for ease of use
  • Customizable to the tee
  • Programmable paddles on the rear of the device.

The drawbacks:

  • Real analog sticks provide a better gaming experience than trackpads.
  • It may take some time to get used to the new layout.
  • Not as accurate as KB&M’s controllers.


There were four square center buttons instead of face buttons in the first prototype. On the front of the gamepad, there are seven buttons, while there are six buttons on the back.

Steam Controller Review - YouTube

While on the left side, you’ll find an analog stick and a touchpad with a haptic feedback feature, on the right you’ll find four familiar and colorful face buttons (A, Y, B, and C). The Steam jewel, start, and back buttons are all located in the center.

There are two circular haptic feedback pads that take up the majority of the controller’s front face. Most games use the left pad, which is imprinted with a d-pad, for custom commands or movement, while the right stick appears to be simply for seeing around and manipulating the camera. While the controller’s body is composed of plastic, it has a smooth matte feel that makes it easy to run your fingers across it.

Concave on the top and rubbery grip comparable to Xbox One thumbsticks characterize this one control stick. When I tried to reach for something that wasn’t there, I got the creepy sensation of reaching for a phantom limb.

A two-stage trigger set, two bumpers and a hidden set of buttons can be found on the insides of the wings when you turn it around. For the most part, these features have been found on third-party controllers like PDP or Mad Catz, but only recently have they found a place on first-party controllers like the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller.

In order to install the batteries, the bumpers are mounted on a plate that can be removed. Using ordinary AA batteries rather than rechargeable ones isn’t something I agree with, but on a $60 controller, it makes sense.

Concave in the middle and bulbous at the ends, these wings are unique. As a radical departure from traditional controller design, this one is sure to stir up some controversy. With the wings, palms are elevated over the thumbs, making it easier to utilize a touchpad. Others will simply mention how difficult it is to press the buttons on the face because of the design.

Some games, according to Valve, will be able to take advantage of the controller’s built-in gyroscope and accelerometer sensors. There are currently no games that use the gyroscope or accelerometer, but it’s only a matter of time before someone takes advantage of this new technology.


To be quite honest, I’ve owned the controller for about a month. After receiving a demo from Valve’s design team in Seattle, Washington, I was able to receive my game. This was not the first time I’d used the Controller, nor was it the first time someone had given me a demonstration of it.

An unreleased pre-alpha version of the upcoming Unreal Tournament game was made available to me via Steam Controller during GDC 2015. The demo was led by Gabe Newell, and he walked me through it.

For my first time playing a new game and using a new piece of equipment, I did better than I expected. Even though using a touchpad instead of the second stick to aim was first frustrating, I eventually got the hang of it and ended up with a somewhat positive kill-to-death ratio.

Even yet, it was far from ideal, lacking the natural feel of the original Unreal Tournament, which was played with a mouse and keyboard.

Everything changed when I got the controller home. The Binding of Isaac and TowerFall, two games that I like playing with a normal controller, weren’t any better with the Steam Controller.

If you’ve spent months and months experimenting with different control systems in Counter-Strike Global Offensive or Team Fortress 2, you could find that this isn’t the case. Microsoft’s basic Xbox 360 controller always beat it in a head-to-head comparison.

I’ve heard of a few cases where using both an Xbox 360 gamepad and a Steam Controller confused the PC, or times when Steam Big Picture Mode treated the Controller like a less functioning mouse instead of a controller.. At this time, your only option is to notify Valve of any such occurrences and wait for them to scan and patch all of the service’s thousands of titles.

The fact that just a small percentage of the Steam community has used the controller thus far is positive, as it suggests that there wasn’t much variation in control techniques.

Crowdsourcing control

While Valve’s Steam Controller may be better suited for some genres than others, this does not rule out the possibility of someone coming up with a spectacular and game-changing invention.

Gamers will be able to develop their own control schemes, save them to their Steam profiles, export and share them with the Steam Community when the Steam Controller becomes a standard gamepad in player’s living rooms.” Valve will promote the most popular player-made settings for other Steam users to download.

So, how far can you go the personalization process? A lot of thought went into this. A turbo effect can be achieved by holding down any of the button controls for an extended period of time. Every other button can be assigned a new command by holding down any button, enabling mode-shifting. As you experiment with different control schemes, Steam will save your own and show you examples of other popular ones. Some gamers have spent their entire life searching for this software, which is like a metaphorical “rabbit hole.”

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To put this into action, the left pad on the controller’s back can be assigned to a leap button, while reload can be assigned to the right thumbpad’s down click. If you let it, it may become absurdly complicated, but for others, it’s the culmination of their hopes and dreams.

We liked

In spite of the fact that I’m still getting used to the two touchpads, I find them to be useful and exciting. When the pads were first being developed, they were missing haptic feedback. Now that it has been added, they seem complete and natural. While I haven’t figured out how to use the pads to their full extent, someone else will.

Because it’s still in its infancy, the platform itself is full with unrealized potential. The term “infancy” doesn’t seem appropriate because the system has only recently hit the market and is completely reliant on the community to grow it into something spectacular.

We disliked

The controller’s general design is clunky. In the end, there’s nothing you can do about it. Because of the Steam Controller’s bulky wings, little hands may have difficulty reaching the A/B/X/Y face buttons. It’s a good idea, but two-stage triggers don’t have the same ergonomics as hair triggers.

Also, the controller is still a novelty, rather than a potentially harmful gaming gear. Instead of attempting to compete with the controller, I had more fun messing around with it and doing things like remapping button bindings to random commands.

Button Layout

There are some notable modifications to the button layout on the Steam Controller, as you can see. The Steam Controller pulls substantially from the Xbox One controller in terms of design, however.

First and foremost, the left analog stick and the face buttons have been replaced by the familiar trackpads. The D-pad and right stick are now located in the lower center of the controller, where the Xbox One controller’s analog stick and face buttons were previously.

In addition, it has huge shoulder buttons and triggers, but also two programmable paddles on the rear like the Xbox One controller.

The Trackpads

Because the Steam Controller’s two enormous trackpads are its most notable departure from the normal controller, we should examine them in greater detail.

The left trackpad may resemble a D-pad in appearance, but it performs the same functions as the right one. In order to compensate for the absence of tactile feedback associated with analog sticks, both register input is adjustable and relies on great feedback.

To obtain a sense of how far you’ve moved your virtual stick without the aid of on-screen cues, haptic feedback is essential in action games.

What Is The Steam Controller Good For?

As strange as the Steam Controller may seem, there’s no denying its uniqueness in either love or loathing. For some reason, it doesn’t seem to have an obvious place in your gaming accessories, especially if you have a console and can utilize the controller on your PC.

When it comes to gaming, does the Steam Controller have an advantage over other controllers, such the Xbox One controller or the DualShock 4?

The Steam Controller’s biggest asset (and its worst shortcoming) is its trackpads, which are instantly recognizable. However, they make the controller less precise and difficult to use in fast-paced action games, despite the fact that they function better as a replacement for keyboard and mouse inputs.

When it comes to trackpads, there is a distinct difference between using them and virtual sticks on a smartphone or tablet. Even yet, it’s just not the same as playing with real analog sticks in your hands.

After that, there’s the button arrangement. In order to make place for the large trackpads, Valve had to shift face buttons and the single analog stick to the lower center of the controller. It may take some time to get used to this arrangement because it is rather different from the standard controller button layouts.

The Steam Controller is the finest KB&M replacement for games that don’t actually support controllers because of its high degree of customizability and its inclusion of trackpads, but before giving judgment, it’s important to realize that.

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What Do Gamers Prefer?

The DualShock 4 and the Xbox One controllers have become increasingly popular in recent years, according to gamers. The DualShock 4 is now fully supported by Steam, with a variety of new functions. The steam controller, on the other hand, has plenty of area.

Okay, so what about the Steam Controller, please?

We’ll dig deeper into this product and see how it compares to others. When we look at the controller, we will notice how it differs from ordinary ones.

Our goal is to provide you with enough information to make an informed purchasing decision. This is a fun thing to use. Created as an all-encompassing controller, the Steam Controller aims to bridge the gap between console gaming and PC gaming fully.

The finest alternative for the mouse and keyboard is at risk of being an ordinary gamepad.

What Does It Include?

You will receive an extender, two AA batteries, and a Bluetooth USB connector with your controller. Connector to PC distance is reduced by using an extender.


The Steam Controller is a dynamic, ever-evolving accessory that has the potential to both revolutionize and disappoint you when you first try it out. But it’s fine because it’s different.

This means the Steam Controller is a gimmick rather than an actual battle-ready gamepad—which, if you’re searching for that, check out the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller—and some of your finest moments will be trying out all of the strange control schemes the community cooks up. Currently various

Creating a platform is what Valve excels at. As a test run, consider the first few weeks following the launch. Steam can take you anywhere if you give the controller and the community enough time to develop the features.

For now, I’d suggest sticking with a keyboard and mouse or another sort of controller until you’re sure you can deal with the controller’s flaws and incompatibilities, not to mention its general lack of competitiveness.

It’s possible that this controller may be just what your fingers have been begging for if you’re prepared to take a look at what the platform has to offer and think outside the (orange) box.