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Steam Controller Hands-on

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the new-and-different dept.

Input Devices 138

Ars Technica has posted their impressions from a hands-on session with Valve's new Steam Controller. The controller notably departs from standard practice of relying on two thumbsticks for precise movement, instead replacing them with concave touchpads. From the article: "When used as a kind of virtual trackball, as most games did with the right pad, it was a revelation. When used as a virtual d-pad, as it was on the left pad, it was an exercise in frustration. Let's focus on the right pad first. There's definitely a learning curve to using this side of the pad properly; years of muscle memory had me trying to use it like an analog stick (minus the stick) at first. It only really began to click when I started swiping my thumb over the pad, as I've seen in previous videos (there was no one on hand to really explain the controller to me, so I was left figuring it out on my own, just like a new Steam Machine owner). When I say it "started to click," I mean that literally. The subtle clicking in your hands as you swipe along the pad is an incredible tactile experience, as if there was an actual weighted ball inside the controller that's rolling in the direction you swipe. And like a trackball slowly losing its inertia, the clicking slows its pace after you lift your thumb off the pad, giving important contextual information for the momentum imparted by your swipe." More write-ups are available about the controller from Gamespot, Gizmodo, and Joystiq.

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138 comments

Frothy piss (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45894019)

Oh steam, you make me piss the most frothy piss I have ever pissed!

A gentle push from Steam (2)

gringer (252588) | about 3 months ago | (#45894071)

Well, it's not like you're being steamrolled into accepting this as an input device. With an open platform, you should be free to use whatever input device you want.

Re:A gentle push from Steam (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 3 months ago | (#45894195)

A spatial controller could be cool, like the Gyration Air Mouse, but I would bet Gorilla arm fatigue would be a problem...

Arm fatigue? Wii solved that already. (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#45894461)

A spatial controller could be cool, like the Gyration Air Mouse, but I [w]ould bet Gor[i]lla arm fat[i]gue would be a problem...

Consider how Nintendo solved the problem of arm fatigue. The Wii Remote can be used with one end balanced on your chair or in your lap. As long as the camera in the controller can see the IR emitters next to your TV, the Wii Remote can detect which way it is pointed.

Re:Arm fatigue? Wii solved that already. (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 months ago | (#45896639)

Consider how Nintendo solved the problem of arm fatigue.

But they didn't. It still happens.

I have a better idea... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45894201)

Like your COCK? Can I use your COCK like a joy stick?

Re:A gentle push from Steam (0)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about 3 months ago | (#45894245)

"With an open platform, you should be free to use whatever input device you want."

Um. You think because the SteamBox platform is Linux that the SteamStuffs running on the SteamBox is an "open platform"?

Exactly what are you thinking here, captain?

[Congrats, I guess, on an astoundingly dishonest and exploitive signature by the way.]

Re:A gentle push from Steam (4, Insightful)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 3 months ago | (#45894341)

That and the fact that they announced that you're free to install SteamOS on any hardware.

Sounds a damn sight more open than any other "console" out there.

Re:A gentle push from Steam (4, Insightful)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about 3 months ago | (#45894483)

Valve is a billion dollar company that specializes in DRM. Repeat: They specialize IN DRM.

So when you say "Sounds a damn sight more open than any other 'console' out there."

I say: I am glad you are optimistic and interpret it the way you want to hear it.

But when a company that specializes in DRM --- and Steam is great, by the way, and I enjoy playing No More Room In Hell as one example --- but they still specialize in DRM and the idea of optimistically assuming the ultimately awesome best out-of-this-world groovy scenario might work for you.

This extreme optimism doesn't work for me. Steam is a DRM-based platform, I cannot imagine any scenario where it resembles "open". Regardless of how it "sounds" (which is something called "marketing" in some corners of the world).

Coexistence (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#45894581)

Steam is a DRM-based platform, I cannot imagine any scenario where it resembles "open".

For one thing, the Steam DRM platform is designed to coexist with DRM-free games on the same machine. I could take a DRM-free game for Linux and install it on an Ubuntu PC that also has the Steam client installed or on a SteamOS PC. Console DRM, on the other hand, is specifically designed to reject anything DRM-free. For another, it's reportedly easier to get an indie game greenlit on Steam than it was on the seventh-generation consoles. Remember the issues that Robert Pelloni had with his RPG Bob's Game?

Re:Coexistence (5, Informative)

ezelkow1 (693205) | about 3 months ago | (#45894631)

To add to this, steam doesnt force its drm on any publisher/game creator that doesnt want it. There are plenty of games for purchase on steam that use absolutely no drm, once downloaded you can go to their install dir and run the game executable without steam running just fine. At that point its just another distribution service

Re:Coexistence (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about 3 months ago | (#45897027)

Good point. I really hope that Valve/Steam puts more pressure on publishers to just ditch their DRM options. Steam certainly has the clout to do so.

However, I don't see this being possible w/o Steam being a monopoly. (not a good thing either) Publishers REALLY want a piece of steams action, and if Steam leans on them too hard, they will just take their ball and make their own distribution systems. Till now, the fact that they suck at distribution systems (as they focus on DRM first, and content delivery second) and that they don't cater to third parties is probably the only things saving us from them.

Re:Coexistence (2)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about 3 months ago | (#45894671)

You should be able to plug your Linux box into a TV using an HDMI port today.

I don't really see where you are going with this. Few people are going to want a SteamBox because it is Linux, they will want it for the "Steam DRM Service" otherwise they would just use Linux.

And I can plug my Windows box into my TV today using HDMI and run Steam or free games like your example.

Maybe there is some non-obvious point you guys are making, but from my perspective you seem exciting about plugging a Linux box into a TV and you are able to do this today and this isn't the point of a Steam Box.

PC and TV in same room (2)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#45894745)

You should be able to plug your Linux box into a TV using an HDMI port today.

Provided you already have a Linux box with a gaming GPU and a TV-friendly slim chassis, and you already have another computer to use at your desk. A lot of families currently own one PC, and it's in a separate room from the big TV in the living room. True, a SteamOS PC is just a mass-produced set-top gaming PC, but the fact that it's marketed as a set-top gaming PC means it's more likely to come with an appropriate GPU and chassis than your average Office Depot special.

Few people are going to want a SteamBox because it is Linux, they will want it for the "Steam DRM Service" otherwise they would just use Linux.

Unless you want to run both commercial games that use Steam and games that aren't (yet) greenlit on Steam without having to buy two machines. Before this push to get Steam on the television, one had to buy two devices to connect to the TV: a PC for the indie games and a console for the major-label games.

And I can plug my Windows box into my TV today using HDMI

Again, provided it's in the same room as your TV. See, for example, adolf's comment [slashdot.org].

from my perspective you seem exciting about plugging a Linux box into a TV

We're excited about manufacturers bucking long-standing tradition [slashdot.org] and widespread mental sets [slashdot.org] and actually mass-producing and marketing a Linux gaming box designed for the TV to the general public at a price comparable to current-generation consoles.

Mode of failure makes little sense in a home (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 3 months ago | (#45895641)

I don't see the big deal about running HDMI cables unless they are very long. I have no hassles with ten metres and really can't see any prospect of any unless there are a lot of machine tools or other sources of a lot of intense electromagnetic noise around. Washing machine motors etc shouldn't put out enough to be a hassle even if you loop the cable around it.

Re:Mode of failure makes little sense in a home (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45896653)

As someone who ran 30m CAT-5 through my home; I see the big deal.

Cutting holes through the wall (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#45899271)

I don't see the big deal about running HDMI cables unless they are very long.

From one room to another, they would be very long, and not everybody has both permission and inclination to cut holes in the wall to run the cable. The advantage of a console or set-top PC is that you don't have to negotiate with your landlord for permission to break the walls, and you don't have to pay an electrician to pull the cable through the wall if local laws require it, and you don't have to also pull USB, which requires a repeater every 5 m, for the game controllers, and someone else can be using the PC for surfing the web while you're gaming.

Re:Coexistence (3, Informative)

dbIII (701233) | about 3 months ago | (#45895621)

And I can plug my Windows box into my TV today using HDMI

I already do that but MS Windows sucks dog balls with multi-monitor setups, especially if one is in another room and especially with full screen games or full screen movie playing software.
For example it sucks to be watching a movie or playing a game when a reboot notification presumably pops up on another screen you can't see, waits for input that never happens, then the fucking thing decides to reboot without the input kicking you out of the game or movie.
Another is when one of the many things in the MS Windows ecosystem that has it's own update program decided to pop something up in your face to tell you something you do not care about while you are watching a movie or playing a game - bonus points for the ones that minimise your game so you can't get it back without alt-tabbing to it more times than the interface intends (sometimes you get an empty frame but no game graphics).

Turning off updates, antivirus etc would make it less annoying but is utterly stupid with the current malware swamp infesting the platform - if it's on the net to authenticate the game it had better be patched up to avoid the latest exploits.

It's almost as if it's deliberately annoying to drive people towards the Xbox, but I'd say it's just poor planning and a diminished care factor. Either way a console or a linux distro (which never forces reboots - if the user doesn't answer the thing doesn't take that as a yes like MS Windows) is far less annoying. Multi screen X, or even how Matrox did multi-screens on MS Windows since at least 2000, is vastly superior to the adhoc dogs breakfast of MS Win7 doing multiple screens, especially with multiple video cards. If they can't learn from methods from more than a decade ago they are just not trying.

Re:A gentle push from Steam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45894811)

I enjoy playing No More Room In Hell as one example

Are you serious? What a terrible example. No More Room in Hell is a very shitty game. Slow paced, tiresome, and redundant. Stand at the top of the stairs and axe each zombie that slowly makes their way to the top. Wow, so gripping. You can tell this was trying to be developed into a viable commercial came, but when they got done they realized nobody in their right mind would pay for it. It should have been named, "This Game Probably Won't Sell." Left 4 Dead 2, on the other hand, is exciting, fast-paced, and very well put together with great acting, music, story, and design. Steam gave it away for free last Christmas.

Re:A gentle push from Steam (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45894977)

True DRM is actually a good thing. When DRM is done right, it's practically invisible, and the benefits and ease of use should make it seem like an enticing option over say, piracy.

So what does Steam do that benefits me, the consumer?
- Auto updating games with patches/DLC. No more manually downloading patches, I can pause and resume as I please, I no longer have to start the game to figure out that it's out of date.
- It's free - no subscription/signup fees. Some advertising, but the adverts are all for products already on Steam - No stupid 'Wierd old trick' or 'doctor's hate her!' ads.
- I can install games without having to dig around for the disk
- I (usually) don't have to enter CD keys, although if I do, steam keeps a record of them for me
- Quick links to guides/achievement pages
- standardised chat & friends accessible in any game (in steam overlay)
- game discounts & sales, including true, personalised, reviews and recommendations written BY my friends, (unlike sites like facebook, where "Steve liked this" doesn't mean anything)

I could go on, but suffice it to say my (gaming) life has been a lot easier since I started using Steam.

And what's the downside? DRM? Say it out loud, and focus on the words. Digital. Rights. Management. So some people can't copy a game directory and give it to a friend.
    a) it's not like we live in an age where downloading said games from the net is HARD, and
    b) the pleb should just buy the game and stop scabbing

Re:A gentle push from Steam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45895691)

Auto-updating of games FUCKING SUCKS.

I hate it. I loathe it. The worst part? If you set it to not auto-update, and Steam knows there's an update (ie, it's been in Online Mode at any time since the game was updated) it won't let you play, even in Offline Mode, without downloading the patch.

Sometimes patches break games. Sometimes they take away options in the settings. Sometimes they change gameplay that I liked just fine the way it was.

I understand online games requiring everyone to be at the same patch level, but there needs to be a way to decline patches and play offline.

I loathe Steam. I only have it because a couple of games in franchises I really enjoy require it, and I crack them to work without it as soon as I can.

Granted, I might loathe it considerably less if the offline mode worked even halfway reliably. I've given up on them ever fixing it, though.

Re:A gentle push from Steam (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 3 months ago | (#45895927)

Valve is a billion dollar company that specializes in DRM. Repeat: They specialize IN DRM.

Exactly. They specialize in it. I.e. they are one of the few companies who have gotten the mix right.
Gifting games? Check. Sharing with family? Check. No always online shit? Check.

So let me expand my earlier comment: Valve as a company specializing in DRM sounds a damn sight more open than any other company out there.

Re:A gentle push from Steam (1)

jma05 (897351) | about 3 months ago | (#45896157)

> they are one of the few companies who have gotten the mix right.

Hardly. I tried several PC online merchants and Steam is the worst. The late Direct2Drive, GamersGate and Amazon are all superior to Steam. I avoided Steam for a long time but tried it after picking up a few Humble Bundles. I am not happy at all with the service.

I want my relation to the merchant to end after I made the purchase... or at least, after I install it. Steam is the only one that requires me to run a client to launch the game.

Steam is the only service that forces updates. I only play single player and don't want them foisted on me. I also have bandwidth caps. Very annoying. It seems to ignore the setting to not update.

Steam is the only one which logs my playtime. I consider that an invasion of privacy just the same way I consider Kindle tracking page turns an intrusion. There seems to be no way to turn it off.

Their "offline mode" is broken. When I find myself without an Internet Connection and enter the offline mode, many games won't launch. It seems that I need to validate games online every once in a while. All other services don't bother me this way. Steam is only slightly better than always-on DRM. If I can predict and plan my offline times and verify (check the list games that I can backup validate the ones I can't), it works... but unreliable otherwise.

Sometimes, it says the client needs to be updated... and if I don't have an Internet connection at that time, it just refuses to launch at all... not even in offline mode. As I type this, it just downloaded a client update even though I told it to not update except at night. Steam is very disrespectful of network settings and concerns.

I am playing Titan Quest now. It appears that there is a difference between my game save in online mode and offline mode and my offline save which reset the game to the beginning overwrote my progress in online mode. Losing progress is very annoying in an RPG.

Steam may get a pass by the masses. But it is a step backward for user rights. It treats it users as children or thieves. At least in my limited experience, it is worse than console DRM in many aspects.

Re:A gentle push from Steam (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 3 months ago | (#45898889)

You're being simplistic. Steam is working to decrease the DRM you have to put up with. Without any DRM, companies would skip the PC entirely. Consoles have very, very heavy DRM obviously. If you're satisfied with GOG, that might not bother you, but in order for PC gaming not to be very close to dead, some concessions need to be made, and steam is doing a great job promoting light DRM as an alternative to the consoles.

Re:A gentle push from Steam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45895669)

"With an open platform, you should be free to use whatever input device you want."
Um. You think because the SteamBox platform is Linux that the SteamStuffs running on the SteamBox is an "open platform"?

Exactly what are you thinking here, captain?

No need for thinking since one can check facts instead. While the entire system isn't open the inputs are handled through the opensourced part.
The base system draws from Debian 7, code named Debian Wheezy. [steampowered.com]
If your input device works on under Debian you can use it.

Re:A gentle push from Steam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45894993)

Let me correct you here. With an open platform, you should be free to use whatever OPEN input device you want. Which is Steam controller.
And once it's out - I am totally getting it!

This thing is DOA (-1, Troll)

realmolo (574068) | about 3 months ago | (#45894085)

The controller is over-engineered and silly, and apparently the SteamBox consoles themselves are going to sell for $500. That's insane. This thing isn't in the same league as an Xbox One or PS4. There are barely any games for it, and barely any announced!

This is going to be another footnote in the history of consoles, unless Valve is planning a big surprise reveal of MASSIVE developer support. Which I doubt will happen.

Re:This thing is DOA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45894127)

unless Valve is planning a big surprise

HL3 confirmed.

Re:This thing is DOA (4, Informative)

Narcocide (102829) | about 3 months ago | (#45894133)

There are barely any games for it, ...

This is fantastically inaccurate. As it will play all the games already available for steam on linux (452 at current count) it in fact already has more games than the sum total of launch titles for ALL OTHER CONSOLES EVER. Troll harder, why don't you?

Re:This thing is DOA (0)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 3 months ago | (#45894167)

I'm a linux fan and a steambox fanboy but the Linux launch titles are pretty shitty.

Valve's games are okay but there isn't much else worth playing. :(

Re:This thing is DOA (2)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 3 months ago | (#45894209)

And how many 3rd party titles were out before the launch of other consoles?

Backward compatible consoles (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#45894509)

And how many 3rd party titles were out before the launch of other consoles?

I don't have time to go into exact figures, but Wii was backward compatible with GameCube games that didn't use the network adapter. Wii U was backward compatible with all Wii games. Game Boy Color could play Game Boy games, Game Boy Advance could play Game Boy and Game Boy Color games, DS could play Game Boy Advance games, and 3DS could play DS games. PlayStation 2 and 3 could play games for the original PlayStation, and early PlayStation 3 consoles could play PlayStation 2 games. Adapters were available to play Master System games on Genesis and Game Gear, Game Boy games on Super NES, and most Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance games on GameCube.

And SteamOS is backward compatible with a small set of Steam (for PC) games.

Re:Backward compatible consoles (2, Informative)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 3 months ago | (#45894667)

This is some seriously weak troll shit. Steam OS can run a huge swath of emulation too. From MAME to 2600 to Dreamcast and more. Also, In home-streaming is coming, which lets you play the entire catalog of your Win PC games on a SteamOS box.

Legally getting ROMs into the system (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#45894785)

Steam OS can run a huge swath of emulation too. From MAME to 2600 to Dreamcast and more.

So how do you read the Dreamcast discs, Atari 2600 cartridges, or arcade PCBs on your PC so that you can create ROM images useful in emulators? I know about Retrode, but that's for Super NES and Sega Genesis games, and it seems perpetually sold out.

Re:Legally getting ROMs into the system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45895865)

There are plugin schematics for Retrode that allow the use of Atari VCS/2600, N64, Game Boy/Game Boy Colour/Game Boy Advance, Virtual Boy, Sega Master System, Sega Pico and TurboGrafx-16.

You can by Retrode and pre-built plugins for N64, Game Boy and Master System on Stone Age Gamer [stoneagegamer.com]. They all appear to be in stock.

Re:Legally getting ROMs into the system (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 months ago | (#45896651)

Not this argument again. Nobody cares, they just download, even if it's illegal. In practice you're not going to get in trouble for only doing that.

Inducement per MGM v. Grokster (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#45899205)

An individual who runs pirated ROMs on a gaming PC is unlikely to get in trouble. A company that makes and sells gaming PCs and markets them on their ability to run pirated ROMs is far more likely to get in trouble for inducing copyright infringement. MGM v. Grokster.

Re:This thing is DOA (2)

Narcocide (102829) | about 3 months ago | (#45894285)

Many of them are shitty, that's true, but that list also contains some diamonds-in-the-rough. Some of the Indie game dev houses are unsung heroes and are actually breaking new ground but you just haven't heard of it because there weren't commercials on TV when it happened. Most of these games are also quite cheap, especially compared to the 50-60$ price fixing lock-in enforced by the Big Three console manufacturers. The Valve games stand the test of time too, and if you count them up on their own also outnumber either the Xbox One or the PS4's launch title count, albeit they weren't "new" at launch per-se.

WiiWare (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#45894523)

Most [indie Steam] games are also quite cheap, especially compared to the 50-60$ price fixing lock-in enforced by the Big Three console manufacturers

What price fixing? I downloaded a few WiiWare games on Wii Shop, and they were around $10 each.

Re:This thing is DOA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45894899)

Many of them are shitty, that's true, but that list also contains some diamonds-in-the-rough. Some of the Indie game dev houses are unsung heroes and are actually breaking new ground but you just haven't heard of it because there weren't commercials on TV when it happened.

"Diamonds-in-the-rough"? I never heard of that game. Tell me about it. Oh, that's just a figure of speech? I though you were actually giving an example of a game that, despite being indie, wasn't shit. Here's the thing, genius. We've had a massively supported development platform for indie games for more than 25 years. It's called a PC and anyone living in their parents basement can produce their own game. Why are you so excited about the Steam console? Wasn't Ouya enough? How's that doing, by the way? Yeah... I thought so.

Re:This thing is DOA (3, Insightful)

deek (22697) | about 3 months ago | (#45894305)

A very subjective opinion.

With games like Psychonauts, Bastion, Wasteland, Fez, Frozen Synapse, Brütal Legend, Aquaria, FTL, Super Meat Boy, Stacking, Shank, To The Moon, Hotline Miami, and so many other brilliant games, there are a huge selection of quality launch titles for the Steam Box.

I'd easily take the Steam Box and its library over current console launch titles.

Re:This thing is DOA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45894333)

Mostly short indie games, all available on better platforms.

What makes a gaming platform "better"? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#45894545)

Anonymous Coward wrote:

Mostly short indie games

What makes "short" games necessarily inferior, especially at low prices? Even classics like Super Mario Bros. can be completed in six minutes. It's so short that people can run it and re-run it to improve their time for competition [youtube.com].

all available on better platforms.

What makes one platform "better" than another in your opinion? Does a gaming platform need a walled garden with restrictive developer qualifications, put in place ostensibly to improve median game quality on reasoning dating back to the 1983 crash, in order to be a "better" platform?

Re:What makes a gaming platform "better"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45894837)

Even classics like Super Mario Bros. can be completed in six minutes.

A very trollish, stupid example. Making a "Speed Run" is not how that game was intended to be played. The game takes a lot longer than six minutes to complete for a huge majority of people who've ever played it, and certainly wasn't easy to complete. Short indie games are short by design.

It's like buying a short story anthology (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#45894939)

Short indie games are short by design.

True. Compare to fiction: not every novel has to be Rand's Atlas Shrugged or Tolstoy's War and Peace or even Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Sometimes there's only time for a novella like Wells's The Time Machine or Malhotra's I Moved Your Cheese. And in the same way that one can pick up a short story anthology for the price of a novel, one can pick up a pile of indie games for the same price as a 50-60 USD AAA game.

Re:This thing is DOA (1)

deek (22697) | about 3 months ago | (#45895021)

It's not size that matters, but how you play with it. ;-)

Who is to say that the Steam Box will not be a better platform than current consoles? Let's see what Valve come up with first, before judging.

Re:This thing is DOA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45894459)

Also Starbound, a recent and incredibly popular indie game with Linux support.

Re:This thing is DOA (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 3 months ago | (#45895663)

Never heard of any of them. Are you sure they're as famous as you think they are?

Re:This thing is DOA (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 3 months ago | (#45895933)

Maybe you should branch out. Just because a game doesn't have some shitty pre-movie trailer at the cinema doesn't mean it's not a great game. I highly suggest Bastion and Psychonauts for some actual unique and very intriguing story telling.

Re:This thing is DOA (2)

jma05 (897351) | about 3 months ago | (#45896285)

None of them warrant a $599 SteamBox purchase to play them. Most of them are laptop (with integrated graphics) material. Now if someone brought out a SteamBox in Ouya price range (at least for starters), it would make sense.

Re:This thing is DOA (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 3 months ago | (#45896959)

With games like Psychonauts, Bastion, Wasteland, Fez, Frozen Synapse, Brütal Legend, Aquaria, FTL, Super Meat Boy, Stacking, Shank, To The Moon, Hotline Miami,

Aren't those games "already" on various consoles? So why favor the Steambox, which isn't even on the shelves yet, when you can already have those games on a PS3/Xbox360.

Re:This thing is DOA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45898073)

don't forget Civ 5, Starbound, Kerbal Space Program, and MANY others. wouldn't surprise me if EVE gets ported as well (they have flirted with linux before), as well as Warframe and ARMA III.

you start getting a really good selection then. KSP and Civ5 alone will eat your free time for lunch.

Re:This thing is DOA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45899263)

I just need it to play Dwarven fortress. :) Oh wait that is free, but I bet it will.

Re:This thing is DOA (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45895807)

That's fine and all, if you're ok with games that you have already been playing for years and shitty indie titles.

Re:This thing is DOA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45897571)

WRONG! You can play XBox 360 games on the Xbox one. If you're counting retro titles (which you must be because Steam hasn't introduced 452 new titles this past 12 months total, Linux or not) then they're coming in under par from what MS is offering with the Xbox One.

Re:This thing is DOA (1)

Archibald Buttle (536586) | about 3 months ago | (#45900421)

WRONG! You can play XBox 360 games on the Xbox one.

This is not true. They're completely different platforms with no backwards compatibility at all. Same as PS3/PS4.

Re:This thing is DOA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45898579)

An honest assessment of the SteamBox would show that the library of games you get on a Linux system (SteamOS/SteamBox) is a small subset of the games library you have on a Windows computer. A normal Windows computer at best has a game library that is roughly comparable to either of the main consoles. You gain a few games that aren't on consoles, and you lose a few games that are console exclusives. Now take that PC library and pare it down to games that both run on Linux and are sold on Steam. No BF4, no WoW, no Assassins Creed, no Fallout, no GTA, no CoD, etc. The top sellers for Steam/Linux right now are:
Starbound, Rust, Monaco, Counter Strike: Source, Overgrowth, Don't Starve, Garry's Mod, Counter Strike 1 Anthology, Guns of Icarus Online, Football Manager 2014

Not bad games, but not exactly overflowing with AAA titles.

I think the Steam sales thing is wishful thinking. The majority of Steam sales are for games that have been out for quite a while. Its really fun to get games like Just Cause 2 for $3, but the game has been out for 3 years, and chances are if it was really a title you wanted, you would have bought it a while ago. Its not like you're going to be paying $15 for GTA6 on SteamBox and $60 on PS4/XBOne. With digital distribution, there isn't any reason that if the cheap-sales-of-older-titles model is a hit that MS and Sony can't do the same thing.

If Valve is going to be successful in the console market, they will need a compelling first/third party game library, and they will need a few AAA exclusives (SteamBOX / SteamOS only). Its possible that they will do this with their own unreleased games, but that has yet to be seen.

If we discard potential savings (due to Steam sales) at a later date, we're left with the uncomfortable fact that a PC is going to be more expensive than either of the consoles unless you opt for a stripped down machine that has OK graphics. You're looking at $300-500 for a console and realistically $600-800 for a decent PC. That isn't a lot to pay for a computer that can do games/work/media, but its a pretty steep price for just a gaming box; especially one that is lacking in AAA titles.

I think more than anything, Valve is desperate to have an escape route when the gravy train of 3rd party digital distribution ends for 3rd parties on Window/OSX/Linux due to vendors offering their own App stores in the OS. Apple has already closed that door, and MS will close it as well as Win8/9 gain better adoption.

Re:This thing is DOA (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45894157)

Is it 3D printed? Then it's the future and you're a Luddite for not seeing that.

Re:This thing is DOA (0)

stms (1132653) | about 3 months ago | (#45894161)

I'm confused if there aren't any games for SteamOS doesn't that make it exactly the same as PS4/Xbone?

Hello Troll! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45894203)

Methinks your bridge has structural deficiencies.

Re:This thing is DOA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45894213)

The steam boxes are just a concept... Valve is providing the platform (SteamOS). You don't need to buy a pre-made one, you can easily build one yourself for the same price as a Xbox One, which will be more powerful than the Xbox One too. And then, if you were going to buy both PS4 and Xbox One, you can take that money and buy a very powerful PC that will outperform anything on consoles for the next 10 years.
Right now the biggest challenge for Linux gaming, is having to change from DirectX to OpenGL, but if Mantle work out and more devs are using it, porting to Linux will be much easier. Give it time, not everything can change extremely fast, especially on PC where things have pretty much been the same for almost 20 years now. (Not sure if irony or not that the captcha is "congress")

Re:This thing is DOA (1)

maugle (1369813) | about 3 months ago | (#45894399)

Give it time, not everything can change extremely fast, especially on PC where things have pretty much been the same for almost 20 years now.

Cough sputter- What?! Are you seriously saying that the PC as a gaming platform is roughly the same as in 1994?

Here's a quick example of the sort of change that's happened:
In 1994, most PC gaming was still done in DOS, on computers without a dedicated graphics card. Games drew to a framebuffer. There was only a single processor, and there was only a single application running (ignoring Win3.1's cooperative multitasking, but most games required that Windows be shut off first anyway). The application had unfettered access to memory, and when it crashed it usually took the entire system along with it. CD drives were a novelty, and 14.4k modems were all there was in the way of "networked multiplayer", but they tied up the phone line so you couldn't stay on too long.

Re:This thing is DOA (1)

maugle (1369813) | about 3 months ago | (#45894429)

Oh, and also: USB didn't exist. God help you if you were trying to get a serial gamepad to be recognized by a game.

Re:This thing is DOA (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 3 months ago | (#45894979)

Well, most game controllers plugged in to the joystick port (often provided by the sound card). Sure, even that was a bit crusty solution, but worked perfectly for the era.

Re:This thing is DOA (1)

MrNiceguy_KS (800771) | about 3 months ago | (#45897341)

You forgot to mention boot floppies. Far to many /.ers still twitch when remembering having to tweak autoexec.bat and config.sys to get Tie Fighter to run.

Re:This thing is DOA (4, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | about 3 months ago | (#45894309)

With so many corporations focused purely on next quarter profits, not thinking even six months ahead, I suppose it's normal for people to not understand the decade-long plans of Valve.

First off, they're only competing with the PS4/Xb1 by being a couch+TV focused system. They're a fully open system - you can build your own Steam Machine and slap the OS on it. But you'll have a hard time getting a quality machine for less than $500. That's one prong of their long game - erode the Windows tax, and just as importantly, make sure that if Microsoft suddenly fails or turns hostile to PC gaming, they have a way out. But stop thinking of it as "$500 console" (which is basically normal now), and more as a "$500 gaming PC", which is really damn cheap.

I know what you're about to say - "that's just semantics!". Well, yeah, it is, but it's also the truth. You're not getting a console with fixed hardware being sold below cost so they can make up for it in games or even with later hardware revisions, you're getting an upgradeable, user-accessible system.

Second, their "launch lineup" is arguably bigger than the Xb1's and PS4's combined. I just did a search on Steam for games with Linux and full controller support - got 58 results, from Metro: Last Light to Super Hexagon. Sure, they're almost all indie or older games, but you know what? I had more fun with Brutal Legend than I did with the last Call of Duty, so maybe that's a good thing. And that's ignoring the fact that a lot of these boxes also have Windows preinstalled as dual-boot, to get you the hundreds of games *that* supports (even with the "on Steam with full controller support" requirement, there's 292 games that meet the mark, including aforementioned latest CoD).

Third, game support is aimed at long-term growth, not a sudden burst at launch that fails to hold on. Remember how the PS3 was at launch? Decent set of launch games, I suppose, then nearly nothing for a few years. At times I felt like the Gamecube had better third-party support, although looking now the numbers don't back me up. They're not able (or perhaps just not willing) to bribe companies into developing for their hardware, so they basically have to convince them by showing that it's profitable.

Oh, and every SteamOS game intrinsically has Linux support. Remind me again, before Valve got involved how many developers were releasing Linux ports?

They've got the hardware guys rallying behind them because removing the Windows tax removes one of the bigger disadvantages from PC gaming. They've got the indie guys rallying behind them. You are correct in that the major third-parties have not yet committed to the platform, but I'm not sure your implied analysis that AAA games are necessary for a platform is correct. If this takes off, it will make new AAA developers from the indies. I wouldn't bet on that, but I'd also not bet against Valve's long game.

Re:This thing is DOA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45894347)

So angry, so virgin.

Re:This thing is DOA (1)

gman003 (1693318) | about 3 months ago | (#45894879)

Awesome, my enemies are forced to resort to puerile ad-hominems. That must mean they can't actually argue with my logic, which means I'm right.

Either that, or you're just trolling, but you made me feel better so you failed at that as well.

Re:This thing is DOA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45895899)

I agree with everything except the lack of need for AAA. Without the volume that comes from those mainstream games, platforms die. And SteamOS is a different platform to Steam on Windows, make no mistake.

Re:This thing is DOA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45897469)

I had more fun with Brutal Legend than I did with the last Call of Duty, so maybe that's a good thing.
 
Maybe for you but if the people on the street felt the same way then an Atari 2600 with a dozen games would go for about 500 USD on eBay.
 
  That's one prong of their long game - erode the Windows tax, and just as importantly, make sure that if Microsoft suddenly fails or turns hostile to PC gaming, they have a way out.
 
Wear the tin foil cap much, buddy? The "microsoft tax" has been disproven time and time again on the PC and is a total non-starter on the console market. Ms is going to "turn hostile" on any major market so that's strike two for your delusions.
 
  Remind me again, before Valve got involved how many developers were releasing Linux ports?
 
For AAA games next to none but for smaller games there was tons. According to your ramblings it shouldn't matter if it's a small game or a vintage game, right? If so this is another moot point in a long series of moot points.
 
  They've got the hardware guys rallying behind them because removing the Windows tax removes one of the bigger disadvantages from PC gaming.
 
"Hardware guys" wouldn't care about a "windows tax" if there was even one to be spoken of. Again, the concept has been disproven time and time again and Streambox isn't competing with PC gaming, it's competing with console gaming.
 
  They've got the indie guys rallying behind them.
 
I've never seen a single Steam title that has been Linux only, indie or not. Until that happens there is no developers "rallying" behind Steambox at all.
 
  I wouldn't bet on that, but I'd also not bet against Valve's long game.
 
Your problem is that you're thinking that everyone who isn't employed by MS is automagically on some kind of crusade against them. This simply isn't true. Steam isn't going to reject MS anytime soon. No developers are going to ignore the MS market anytime soon. No "hardware guys" are going to turn their back on a platform that easily holds more than 85% of the marketshare.
 
My bet is that SteamBox dies within 18 months of release. Given how little Linux support there is from a company that you claim is on a mission to end MS in the gaming industry it seems that the will lose interest in Linux if their hardware doesn't sell. And given how little noise there is about this outside of Linux bastions it almost seems like it's dead already.
 
The only reason that you got modded up is because you're fueling the dreams of other fanbois who still haven't learned that instead of beating the competition down it's more important to lift yourself up. If you guys took the efforts to honestly see the failures of Linux and work on that maybe Linux would raise. Instead most of you go around cawing on about how bad MS is. Your entire post is based on how terrible MS is, not what virtues SteamBox might have.
 
Meh.
 
The fact that another post from you refers to someone who pokes fun of you as "my enemies" shows that you're lost.

Re:This thing is DOA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45898719)

I'm not sure why you would use Brutal Legend as your example. Brutal Legend came out on the main consoles in 2009 and on Linux in 2013.

So its great that you liked it more than CoD, but the fact that you played it 4 years later doesn't really count in favor of having a Linux box as your gaming device of choice.

Dual booting is also a joke, unless you are using Linux as your productivity (and not gaming) OS. There is literally 0 reason to install SteamOS if you are going to use Windows for any other games.

Re:This thing is DOA (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 3 months ago | (#45895515)

The controller is over-engineered and silly, and apparently the SteamBox consoles themselves are going to sell for $500. That's insane. This thing isn't in the same league as an Xbox One or PS4. There are barely any games for it, and barely any announced!

No, it's not the games that are killing steambox, it's the competition.

Steamboxes start at $500 and go on up - the initial list I saw, you can get ones that go to $1400+.

Well shit, you know what? Everyone who wants to buy one (i.e., not you and me, who can install SteamOS on their own PC) will head down to Best Buy and look at it. You can get a PS4. An Xbone. Or a Steambox. Best Buy will probably carry 4 or 5 of them, all with technical gobbledogook of nVidia this, Core i5 that, blah blah blah. And no, Best Buy will not carry one that costs more than $500 because people will just laugh and walk by it.

And so you have the consumer having to choose the "best" $500 box out of the 4 or 5 in front of them. What will make the choice for them? How it looks. Because they can't make the choice!

And never mind the whole "Good" "Better" "Ultimate" strategy - the only ones most consumers will see are "Good" because they're priced like the PS4 and Xbone.

And sure, maybe the first units will sell. But take it two years later, and "Good" no longer is adequate - they're going to see people with PS4s and Xbones playing games, while they're stuck with a new SteamBox purchase or run in "Crappy" mode.

End result - developers will bitch about PS4 and Xbone graphics holding them back, but also first-gen Steamboxes as well,if they want the platform to be viable because the consumer is not going to be buying a new one in a couple of years. And no, they're not going to spend $100 to put in a new video card either ($150 with Geek Squad!).

We saw it this time around - the PS3 and Xbox 360 holding PC graphics back. The Steambox is an obvious attempt to revitalizing PC gaming (most AAA titles are ported from consoles, and if you're lucky, they release same day) as well as giving developers freedom to use high end graphics again.

And nevermind when instead of Tier 3 PC manufacturers (i.e., OEM assemblers) you have Tier 1 (they make it all - they design their own motherboards, etc) integrating all but the video card on a single board, removing excess parts, and selling what was a $500 SteamBox for $400. Or slapping it all together so its not swappable on a single board for $350.

The steambox is trying to put choice into consoles, which is the whole reason consoles exist - you go to the store, you buy it, you play it for many years and they're all the same. When you have now a dozen manufacturers with a dozen different models, and probably a half dozen more cheaper ones coming out, suddenly it doesn't look so easy for the consumer anymore.

Adapter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45894301)

An adapter to use the PS3 Six-Axis controller in 3 ... 2 ....

Re:Adapter (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45894335)

PS3 to PC controller adapters have existed for a long time. You can even pair them over Bluetooth if you don't mind using a shady, internet connected driver.

Much better to just use a 360 controller. No special adapter or driver needed and it's a far superior controller to the Sixaxis.

Re:Adapter (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45894501)

PS3 to PC controller adapters have existed for a long time.

It's called 'USB.'

You can even pair them over Bluetooth if you don't mind using a shady, internet connected driver.

That's not the only way to do it (and for the love of god, never install Motioninjoy, unless you like the idea of a Chinese program that can execute arbitrary code fetched from a remote server with elevated privileges), and it's only a problem with Windows (thanks Microsoft!)

Re:Adapter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45895873)

You cannot use a PS3 controller on a PC by simply plugging it into a USB port. It shows up in the devices under Windows, but it doesn't work.

And yes, I agree. I won't ever use Motioninjoy, but unfortunately it seems to be the only working Bluetooth solution. I saw some other one that was based on Motioninjoy's driver, but I don't trust that either.

Re:Adapter (1)

TuxThePenguin2205 (1031140) | about 3 months ago | (#45896287)

You can on Linux. I have enjoyed playing Fez and Super Meat Boy that way. For some reason Trine2 doesn't like it but so far that is the only game I've found that has any issues.

Re:Adapter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45897187)

Trine 2 probably only supports XInput controllers (Xbox 360), where as PS3 uses DirectInput. I have the same problem with Spelunky HD (only supports XInput), where as other games like Rogue Legacy work just fine (supports both DirectInput and XInput).

PC Wireless Gaming Receiver (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#45894567)

I thought an Xbox 360 controller needed an adapter to turn the controller's proprietary RF signals into USB signals, namely a PC Wireless Gaming Receiver [tmart.com].

Re:PC Wireless Gaming Receiver (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 3 months ago | (#45894683)

You can use wired Xbox360 controllers directly.

How many wireless 1st party 360 controllers exist? (0)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#45894763)

It's my understanding that relatively few wired first-party Xbox 360 controllers were produced, mostly for the "core system" package. Nowadays, pretty much all first-party Xbox 360 controllers sold in stores are wireless. If you are switching from an Xbox 360 to a gaming PC, you probably already own mostly or all wireless controllers, and you'll need the receiver to use them with your PC.

Re:How many wireless 1st party 360 controllers exi (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 3 months ago | (#45895447)

Really? Because in 30 seconds I found 5 places selling it. Amazon can have one to my house by Thursday or i can drive to Frys 15 miles away and have it tomorrow.

Re:How many wireless 1st party 360 controllers exi (0, Troll)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 months ago | (#45896667)

Really? Because in 30 seconds I found 5 places selling it. Amazon can have one to my house by Thursday or i can drive to Frys 15 miles away and have it tomorrow.

Most people don't live near the supermarket of electronics. And you can't actually be sure that Fry's will have anything in stock that they claim they have, if you've been there more than once you should know that by now. Sure you can order one, you can order anything.

It's still true that first-party wired controllers are relatively rare on the 360. You rarely see them at all.

Re:How many wireless 1st party 360 controllers exi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45897561)

It's still true that first-party wired controllers are relatively rare on the 360. You rarely see them at all.

Uhh, no, you're just wrong. They are being sold everywhere. Not only at Fry's, but at Best Buy, Walmart and Gamestop too, if you're stuck in the past and need a physical store for some bizarre reason.

Of course most people shop online these days. Amazon certainly has them.

Re:How many wireless 1st party 360 controllers exi (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 months ago | (#45898157)

Uhh, no, you're just wrong. They are being sold everywhere. Not only at Fry's, but at Best Buy, Walmart and Gamestop too, if you're stuck in the past and need a physical store for some bizarre reason.

I can only speak to the walmart and gamestop nearest me, and they don't stock new wired controllers and the gamestop seldom has a used one.

First vs. third party (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#45899081)

The Best Buy, Walmart, and GameStop stores near me had wired controllers when I checked a month and a half ago, but they were all third-party. All first-party controllers I could find were wireless. And even if wired first-party controllers were more widely available, that doesn't help someone who already owns several wireless controllers.

Re:PC Wireless Gaming Receiver (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45895881)

Only if you're using the wireless model.

As for your other concern, no, the wired controllers were not a limited item. You can find them anywhere easily.

Tried this today (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45894371)

A solid 20 mins at the press event. I'm a big Valve fanboy, but this just didn't work for me. It didn't feel like a good gamepad replacement, nor a good keyboard/mouse replacement. Tries to replace both, masters neither.

Steam and the Steambox (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45894803)

If Steam were just a service where I could just buy games, I'd be all over it. Unfortunately, what Steam mostly is is DRM. It's obstructionware that insists on being present. I don't like having to wait for it to load, having to wait for it to retry and fail to find a network connection, and having to check "Offline" every single time I run something. I don't like it blowing my mods away, forcing me to do updates, and randomly unsorting and resetting my list of Skyrim mods if I don't save my edits fast enough. Steam DRM kills the Steambox for me, which is very sad because the Steambox is a Windows 8-killing PC in spite of Valve's efforts to try to steer perception away from that.

Re:Steam and the Steambox (1)

Yosho (135835) | about 3 months ago | (#45897447)

having to wait for it to retry and fail to find a network connection, and having to check "Offline" every single time I run something

Why don't you either:

1) Get a stable network connection? or
2) Just leave it running in the background after you've started it in offline mode so you don't have to go through the oh-so-arduous process of double-clicking on the icon and starting it again?

And I've never had an issue with it blowing away any of my Skyrim mods, so maybe you're doing something wrong? Try using the Nexus Mod Manager to take care of that.

Re:Steam and the Steambox (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 3 months ago | (#45898999)

Skyrim is a poor choice of examples there. What's the mod scene for Skyrim on the consoles? Steam's DRM is only annoying if you consider it in a vaccum, but that's a stupid way to look at it. Skyrim hasn't been released without DRM, correct? Without Steam, it would have been on Origin, which is also DRM. Without either, it would have been not released on the PC at all, and you wouldn't have any mods, from what I can tell.

Re:Steam and the Steambox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45899299)

I run a ton of mods for ARMA II and it doesn't do anything to them. Also skyrim ran fine with mods, perhaps you have issues on where to put them?

I haven't tried linux steam yet just because I lack time but I'll correct that when I get time.

SteamOS now supports... (1)

BenJeremy (181303) | about 3 months ago | (#45894861)

...AMD GPUs, apparently. I haven't tried it yet, but I've been waiting to get it set up on a gaming rig I built for our living room.

wake me when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45894875)

Wake me when it's anywhere near as fast or precise as a good gaming mouse.

Until then, the console controllers are a joke for serious gaming. Fine for casual gaming though.

Could it be improved by... (1)

csoh (45909) | about 3 months ago | (#45895519)

attaching some additional pieces of hardware like some rubber, plastic pad, spring ,small stick to make it behave like real joystick? I remember that there were some hobby projects to make something attached to MSX numpad to make it work like joystick long long ago.

Re:Could it be improved by... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45898129)

or just buy a real joystick. Arcade sticks are serious business with the Fighting game people on steam.

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