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Watch the Steam Controller in Action with Counter-Strike, Civilization V, and More

Posted on October 11, 2013 AT 12:17pm

Since Valve first unveiled the design for their upcoming Steam Controller as part of their new living room initiative, its unconventional dual-trackpad form factor has raised a lot of eyebrows. In an effort to make the gamepad’s potential more readily apparent, the company has released a video, embedded below, in which Valve engineer Jeff Bellinghausen explains key features while showing the controller being used to play a variety of games.

Two of the games seem like a natural fit of the controller—Valve’s own Portal 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive—and this footage confirms that they work fairly seamlessly with the device. In fact, by setting up the right trackpad to mimic motion on a one-to-one basis—much like a trackball or laptop trackpad—Bellinghausen claims that there’s no need for the aim assists that’ve been a part of console shooters since the days of Halo. If you don’t like the idea of taking your thumb off the trackpad for repeated swipes, don’t worry: You’ll also be able to configure the pad to behave just like an analog stick, if you so desire.

The other two games on display—Civilization V and Papers, Please—are a bit more surprising, as they’re predominately mouse-driven experiences. Nevertheless, the Steam Controller appears to be up to the challenge.

The video is also noteworthy for revealing a new feature of the controller, the ability to use both trackpads to control the mouse simultaneously. “The two mouse movements get blended together, so I can move with my left thumb and then my right thumb,” explains Bellinghausen. ”It allows you to do a really quick walk across the screen. It’s a very comfortable way to control games that need to move the mouse very precisely and yet over large distances of the screen.”

While mouse-heavy games like Papers, Please are cited as the primary usage of this control mode, it’s worth noting that it could also be used for surfing the Web and using non-gaming applications from the comfort of your couch.

Bellinghausen says that this video is the first of many, so expect to see much more about the Steam Controller—as well as SteamOS and Steam Machines—in the months leading up to their 2014 launch.

Josh Harmon, Associate Editor
Josh Harmon picked up a controller when he was 3 years old—and he hasn't looked back since. This has made him particularly vulnerable to attacks from behind. He joined EGM as an intern following a brief-but-storied career on a number of small gaming blogs across the Internet. Follow him on Twitter @jorshy. Meet the rest of the crew.

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