The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 12
killing me, Valve. You
guys have terrible timing. I write up a post about
the tantalizing possibility of an official Valve-branded console for the living
room and you steal my thunder with a confirmation that it's
happening. Way to make me toss a well-written blog post down the drain.
aside, the timing is humorous. I had just finished a final edit on a post
speculating about a Steam Box when Valve announced that day they were making a
console. I guess it's fate. Maybe I should write up a blog post speculating
about Half-Life 3.
The Steam Box is official, and it's coming to living rooms everywhere
soon. Color me excited. The new Big Picture mode is perfect for large
televisions and people who prefer their games with a controller. I can't wait
to see what Valve makes.
there are a few nagging issues. If Valve really wants to see widespread
acceptance of the Steam Box, they need to work on a few things.
now, gamepad support varies widely on Steam. Some games feature support for
controllers of all types. Others like Batman: Arkham City support only wired
Xbox 360 controllers. A large majority of Steam titles don't accept anything
except mouse and keyboard. That's to be expected for games like Civilization,
but it gets real tedious for action-shooters like Mass Effect.
needs some kind of motivating force to push developers toward adding gamepad
support, and not just for Xbox controllers. How cool would it be to have one
person play with a PS3 controller and another with mouse and keyboard?
I've found for PC games that ignore the controller is to use third-party
software like Xpadder. It assigns key presses to buttons on the controller,
essentially allowing you to play any game with a controller. It's not perfect,
but Xpadder makes the PC port of Mass Effect much more tolerable. Some
first-party version of Xpadder built into Steam would go a long way toward
easing the transition toward gamepads.
as PC gaming is, it can be a real pain when you run into technical issues. It
says a lot that there's an entire website dedicated to collecting errors in
PC games and how to fix them. Anyone who has tried to whip the PC port of
Borderlands into shape knows how much of a struggle it can be to fix the
players are not accustomed to this kind of thing. They (correctly) expect every
game to run without issue. You don't want to force customers to troubleshoot
their own game. That's just bad.
this. A kid hears a lot about the new Steam Box. He buys one, sits down, and
downloads Call of Duty. He starts his first multiplayer match. Dead. Respawns.
Dead. Respawns again. Dead.
problem is mouse-and-keyboard aiming is more accurate than a controller. Even
with some generous aim assist, controllers simply aren't as accurate. This
gives a competitive advantage to the PC players. What's the kid supposed to do?
Learn how to play with mouse and keyboard? Give up?
with these issues, I can't wait to see the Steam Box. Whatever Valve comes up
with, it'll be cool. Hopefully it will take a slice of Microsoft and Sony's
market. Steam is flat-out awesome. It's cool to see more people getting to play
What do you think? What do you want to see out of a Steam console? Would you prefer a mouse and keyboard or a controller?