Steam Controller Drops Touchscreen

HardOCP News

[H] News
Joined
Dec 31, 1969
Messages
0
It looks like Valve is doing away with the touchscreen on its Steam Controller in favor of buttons. Kind of a bummer, I think the touchscreen went well with the overall concept of the new controller.

It turns out that Valve's hardware beta was an actual beta: the Steam Controller is dropping its touchscreen and adding some physical buttons before going up for sale via Steam and at retail later this year. It's unclear exactly where the buttons will be, but we're seeing reports that they'll approximate a d-pad and the standard A/B/X/Y configuration.
 

LeninGHOLA

Vladimir Hayt
Joined
Aug 26, 2009
Messages
18,416
Well, don't put them in the middle. In the middle works for a touchscreen display, but I don't want to do finger acrobatics just to press buttons. Finger acrobatics I save for ur mom.
 

dgz

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 15, 2010
Messages
5,838
One of two cool things down. I hope they don't drop their "trackballs" in favor stupid sticks next.
 

foxnews

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
378
nothing can beat buttons just like wifi can't beat wire.

try to use universal remote with touch in the dark, then you will find the pain.
 

CreepyUncleGoogle

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Mar 10, 2013
Messages
6,871
Why? I was excited for the touchscreen.

Probably a cost versus benefit thing. Touchscreens are useful in some applications, but trying to integrate them into an interface for the sole purpose of saying such-and-such has a touchscreen is gimmicky and costly without yielding a tangible benefit over a controller with buttons on it. Sure, it'd make the controller different, but it wouldn't really be beneficial and I think that as the "integrate touch into everything" fad loses novelty and industrial momentum, you'll see this happening in a lot of other human interface and human control mechanisms that are better off as buttons, levers, and dials because of their tactile feedback, longer useful lifespan, and lower design and sale cost.
 

LeninGHOLA

Vladimir Hayt
Joined
Aug 26, 2009
Messages
18,416
Probably a cost versus benefit thing. Touchscreens are useful in some applications, but trying to integrate them into an interface for the sole purpose of saying such-and-such has a touchscreen is gimmicky and costly without yielding a tangible benefit over a controller with buttons on it. Sure, it'd make the controller different, but it wouldn't really be beneficial and I think that as the "integrate touch into everything" fad loses novelty and industrial momentum, you'll see this happening in a lot of other human interface and human control mechanisms that are better off as buttons, levers, and dials because of their tactile feedback, longer useful lifespan, and lower design and sale cost.

Levers and dials would fit in better with the Steam motif.
 

Ocean

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Oct 19, 2003
Messages
4,927
I wonder if they could adapt one of the touch pads into a low-rez touchscreen.

but i really didnt see any usefulness for most steam gamers and games. Who looks at their controller?
 

schizrade

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 15, 2003
Messages
4,885
I'm ok with that. Make it cheaper and use less power. Just don't pull an Atari jaguar phone pad... lol
 

LeninGHOLA

Vladimir Hayt
Joined
Aug 26, 2009
Messages
18,416
I wonder if they could adapt one of the touch pads into a low-rez touchscreen.

but i really didnt see any usefulness for most steam gamers and games. Who looks at their controller?

WiiU and PS4 players. I used to back in the day with those cool button overlays on my old Intellivision.
 

KrylonArt

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 31, 2007
Messages
1,499
How bout making it wireless also?

They were always going to be wireless, just not the beta units.

Steam Controller FAQ said:
How will the beta controller differ from the one that’s for sale next year?
There are a couple important differences: the first 300 or so beta units won’t include a touch screen, and they won’t be wireless. Instead, they’ll have four buttons in place of the touch screen, and they’ll require a USB cable.
 

Ultima99

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jul 31, 2004
Messages
4,905
I still miss being able to have a competitive smartphone with a sliding physical keyboard.
 

delsydsoftware

Weaksauce
Joined
Sep 11, 2008
Messages
97
WiiU and PS4 players. I used to back in the day with those cool button overlays on my old Intellivision.

This! You couldn't play Mousetrap on the Colecovision without looking at the overlay on the number pad :D

Actually, the Atari Jaguar was the last console I had with an overlay like that. I miss that.
 

McFry

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 25, 2011
Messages
1,715
While I'm sure the touchscreen would have looked pretty, without tactile feedback you cant effectively play an intense video game and utilize that space. You'd constantly be missing the touchscreen icon, or double checking after doubting you really hit it, etc. It just sucks.
 

dyzophoria

Gawd
Joined
Jan 17, 2006
Messages
946
setting aside the ::coolness:: factor of the touchscreen would look cool, but I'd imagine it be more of a gimmick, and this decision would have been fed by the feedback of the better users as well. I imagine also functionality wise, it won't be quite useful for a number of games.
 

Dekoth-E-

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Mar 23, 2010
Messages
7,599
One of two cool things down. I hope they don't drop their "trackballs" in favor stupid sticks next.

Would be the best thing that happened to it.

Mouse and keyboard is overwhelmingly my preferred method of control. However if I am going to be using a controller with my console, I'll take thumbsticks over that horrid abomination known as a track pad any day of the week. I already can't stand trackpads on a laptop. Why anyone thinks something that inaccurate is somehow an upgrade over a thumbstick is beyond me.
 

MostComfortable

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 27, 2013
Messages
426
That's fine. It allows for d-pad and a/b/x/y buttons, plus it makes it possible to sell for under $100. It would have been very expensive with a touch video screen on top of everything else.
 

Rizen

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jul 16, 2000
Messages
9,486
Would be the best thing that happened to it.

Mouse and keyboard is overwhelmingly my preferred method of control. However if I am going to be using a controller with my console, I'll take thumbsticks over that horrid abomination known as a track pad any day of the week. I already can't stand trackpads on a laptop. Why anyone thinks something that inaccurate is somehow an upgrade over a thumbstick is beyond me.
Have you read any of the user feedback on the controller so far? The trackpads on the Steam controller provide haptic feedback and are supposedly fairly intuitive and powerful. The entire point of the controller is making games that are otherwise unplayable from your couch with a 360 controller, like Civ 5, Starcraft, etc usable as well as improving the FPS performance. Normal sticks work great for some games and I use a 360 controller on my PC regularly, but they are terribly inaccurate for anything that requires precision. Switching back to a thumbstick design would nullify the whole point of this controller.
 

Kor

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 31, 2010
Messages
2,175
Oh well, whatever works best I suppose. Still keen to mess around with one of these things.
 

Grimspoon

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 19, 2006
Messages
433
Might as well save some money and extend the controller support to all 3rd party controllers and cease R&D on the steam controller itself.

With this news I'd rather just keep using an XBOX 360 controller.
 

Viper87227

Fully [H]
Joined
Jun 2, 2004
Messages
18,018
Good, I think the touchscreen was a bad idea. It's a waste of battery (assuming wireless) and I don't think it would work well. A lack of tactical feedback is a big deal. Nobody looks at their controller or keyboard, you just know by feel that you are going to be pressing the correct button before you do. With a touchpad there is no 'I feel the button, I know its the right button, now im going to press it for the desired outcome'... you just have to put your finger down and hope you put it in the right spot, because your going to automatically get the action associated with wherever your finger lands.

That said, if the picture posted in the link is real, I think that's sort of ugly. Buttons on the bottom are to close together, and there is too much wasted space. Also its now left with less buttons than a console controller (no back and start). I think they should take the safer road and turn one set into a real D-pad, and add a few more buttons in the empty space.
 

DPI

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 20, 2013
Messages
12,100
Sure, it'd make the controller different, but it wouldn't really be beneficial and I think that as the "integrate touch into everything" fad loses novelty and industrial momentum, you'll see this happening in a lot of other human interface and human control mechanisms that are better off as buttons, levers, and dials because of their tactile feedback, longer useful lifespan, and lower design and sale cost.

Brilliant line right there and 100% on the money right there, glad someone else sees this. Hard to believe companies are wasting hundreds of millions on just that - a fad. Things like touchscreen laptops are the prime example - the ergonomics simply aren't there. FWIW, nobody I know that picked up a touch laptop in the past year uses the touch aspect (and I make a point of asking every few months). Wii U and its tablet gamepad is another casualty. More will follow.

Although the early mockups of the Steam Controller were certainly sexy with the touchscreen, I imagine the cost-to-usability ratio just wasn't there. Perhaps at some point they will introduce one with a screen but a lower entry price at least initially is probably smarter since it will inevitably be price-scrutinized against PS & Xbox controllers.
 

DPI

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 20, 2013
Messages
12,100
Would be the best thing that happened to it.

Mouse and keyboard is overwhelmingly my preferred method of control. However if I am going to be using a controller with my console, I'll take thumbsticks over that horrid abomination known as a track pad any day of the week. I already can't stand trackpads on a laptop. Why anyone thinks something that inaccurate is somehow an upgrade over a thumbstick is beyond me.

Why anyone the Steam Controller features "just a trackpad" before having actually tried it is beyond me.
 

ccityinstaller

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 23, 2007
Messages
4,241
Brilliant line right there and 100% on the money right there, glad someone else sees this. Hard to believe companies are wasting hundreds of millions on just that - a fad. Things like touchscreen laptops are the prime example - the ergonomics simply aren't there. FWIW, nobody I know that picked up a touch laptop in the past year uses the touch aspect (and I make a point of asking every few months).

Not to derail this thread, or call you out as being wrong, but this is interesting to me. Everyone I know that has a touchscreen enabled lappy with Windows 8/8.1 (about ~15) people LOVE the touchscreen and use it regularly..The few that I know that opted for the non touch lappies with 8/8.1 constantly complain to me about "Windows sucks now" and wish they had spent the extra money on the touchscreen.
 

cleathco

Limp Gawd
Joined
Dec 30, 2004
Messages
214
This doesn't really surprise me a lot. Before the steam machine hoopla, steam used a LOT of pictures of the Logitech F710 controller in conjunction with Big Picture mode. I own an F710 and think it has benefits over a 360 controller. It uses an almost identical layout but has a better D-Pad, and a nice switch at the top switches the controller from X-Input to DirectInput for older game compatibility. I still plan on picking up a Steam controller just to try it out, but it's gonna be hard for it to take the spot of my F710 those times when I'd rather use a gamepad over mouse/keyboard.
 

LeninGHOLA

Vladimir Hayt
Joined
Aug 26, 2009
Messages
18,416
Not to derail this thread, or call you out as being wrong, but this is interesting to me. Everyone I know that has a touchscreen enabled lappy with Windows 8/8.1 (about ~15) people LOVE the touchscreen and use it regularly..The few that I know that opted for the non touch lappies with 8/8.1 constantly complain to me about "Windows sucks now" and wish they had spent the extra money on the touchscreen.

A laptop is with integrated touch input is not the same as holding a controller in your hand and looking at your TV 15 feet away. The analogue would be touching your TV when playing games.
 

Stoly

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jul 26, 2005
Messages
6,714
THANK YOU STEAM

The touch screen was one of the worst ideas for a controller. Take your eyes from the TV and your fingers from the trackpad to see a small screen and touch it. Bang you are dead. :rolleyes:
 

LeninGHOLA

Vladimir Hayt
Joined
Aug 26, 2009
Messages
18,416
THANK YOU STEAM

The touch screen was one of the worst ideas for a controller. Take your eyes from the TV and your fingers from the trackpad to see a small screen and touch it. Bang you are dead. :rolleyes:

Why would a game dev add in a popup or mini game in the heat of battle? I think that's a bit of a manufactured "concern".
 

SGA76

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Messages
1,955
Was it a "touchscreen" with a display or more of a "touchpad" like the Ouya where you just moved your finger around?
Since I wasn't in the beta and have had no hands on I can't say whether this was good or bad or what the function was like.
This could be good or bad, wish I could have gotten my hands on the prototype.
 

DiabloRojo

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 7, 2005
Messages
251
Not to derail this thread, or call you out as being wrong, but this is interesting to me. Everyone I know that has a touchscreen enabled lappy with Windows 8/8.1 (about ~15) people LOVE the touchscreen and use it regularly..The few that I know that opted for the non touch lappies with 8/8.1 constantly complain to me about "Windows sucks now" and wish they had spent the extra money on the touchscreen.

Try using a console emulator on a phone/tablet with on-screen controls and you'll have a better idea of why this was a good move. If you've ever tried to use touch-screen controls and their lack of tactile feedback, you'll know it doesn't work well for gaming.

And comparing UI usability between touch/non-touch on Windows 8.x is just ... no. The UI was MADE for touchscreens so of course the experience will be better for them. I actually like the new start screen when in a touch-enabled environment but I utterly loathe it for normal desktop work for that exact reason.
 

spincut

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jan 19, 2005
Messages
1,191
I just realized something, that means the 300 prototypes that got sent out are going to become REALLY rare collectible items, aren't they?
 

LeninGHOLA

Vladimir Hayt
Joined
Aug 26, 2009
Messages
18,416
I just realized something, that means the 300 prototypes that got sent out are going to become REALLY rare collectible items, aren't they?

None of them had touchscreens, but yes. Prototype controllers will likely be collectors items.
 

Exavior

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Dec 13, 2005
Messages
9,700
Would be the best thing that happened to it.

Mouse and keyboard is overwhelmingly my preferred method of control. However if I am going to be using a controller with my console, I'll take thumbsticks over that horrid abomination known as a track pad any day of the week. I already can't stand trackpads on a laptop. Why anyone thinks something that inaccurate is somehow an upgrade over a thumbstick is beyond me.

Was it a "touchscreen" with a display or more of a "touchpad" like the Ouya where you just moved your finger around?
Since I wasn't in the beta and have had no hands on I can't say whether this was good or bad or what the function was like.
This could be good or bad, wish I could have gotten my hands on the prototype.

Beta units didn't have it anyway. From what I could tell it was just a touch screen where it was broke into different "buttons" so like the top right did one thing the top left another... From what I noticed from their drawings and 3d renderings it shouldn't have required looking at the controller anymore than pushing buttons in the middle now. You just wouldn't have the feeling of an actual button which is what they are doing now
 

rat

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Apr 16, 2008
Messages
4,915
I still miss being able to have a competitive smartphone with a sliding physical keyboard.

That's why I bought one of these:

IrUo0O4.jpg


Plays everything up to the N64 and PSX pretty well. I'd love to have an updated version of this with a 4.3 or 4.5" screen and a current SOC.
 
Top