RPS Asks: What Do You Think Of The Steam Controller And The Steam Link?

The first Steam Controllers and Steam Links are being delivered to those who pre-ordered. I received mine on Friday and spent a few moments this weekend playing with them. We’re not yet ready to offer reviews of either, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a nice chat about it. Do you have a Link or a Controller? If so, what do you think?

For those not in the know, the Link and Controller mark Valve’s first steps into hardware production. The Link is a small set-top box designed for streaming games from a desktop PC to a TV, like a Chromecast for games. The Controller is a gamepad designed as a viable alternative to the keyboard and mouse, offering the triggers, buttons and analogue sticks familiar from other pads, but also having two touch-sensitive haptic pads for finer, mouse-style control.

My first impressions of both are not good. I knew what I was getting into when I pre-ordered the first generation of two new pieces of hardware, but it has still been a disappointment. Of the games I’ve tried to stream to my TV via the Steam Link, only two have resulted in anything other than a blank screen. The others almost all transmit sound but no picture. On one of the occasions I got a game to appear on my TV, it flickered every few seconds back and forth between the game and the Steam interface, meaning it was still unplayable.

Steam’s Big Picture interface also seems bafflingly different when running through the Link than on my desktop PC, and I’ve yet to find the ‘exit game’ button within the Steam Link version, if there is one. I don’t understand why these are different and so it might simply be in an unobvious place, however this means that every failed attempt to load a game requires me to walk back upstairs to manually close the game down on my desktop PC. (Or to control that machine by using Chrome Remote Desktop to wirelessly stream my desktop PC to a Chromebook laptop, which works flawlessly).

The one game that did work, 80 Days, was laggy to the point of being unplayable. The ambiguities of networking make it hard to pin the blame directly on the Link for that, but I have all the hardware involved connected to the network via wires and I regularly use a similar but wireless setup for streaming HD video from my desktop to the TV. I was ready for streaming to require image compression and therefore to affect quality, but instead it has been pinsharp but stuttering.

I had better experiences using in-home streaming with an old netbook, I suspect I can get better results from the Steam Link by fiddling with default settings, and Valve have said that there are firmware updates on the way between now and its official release date on November 10th. For those reasons, I’ll reserve judgement for now.

The Controller has fared better. I’ve used it on my desktop PC to play a number of time-insensitive games and the trackpads do a decent impression of a mouse. I’ve also used it to control Downwell however, and for an arcade game of that type, it seems a poor replacement for either an Xbox pad or a keyboard. The analogue stick is in a slightly awkward position, the XYAB buttons are unusually small, it’s too easy to accidentally knock the squeezable palm triggers, and the right haptic pad occasionally springs to life unbidden, exerting influence even when the pad is stationary and level on my desk.

Oh, and if you do want to try the pad with Downwell, make sure to unplug your 360 pad first because otherwise you’ll run endlessly to the left. In fairness, this might be the game, not the pads.

Otherwise, I can imagine comfortably controlling mouse-based strategy and adventure games with the pad from my couch, should I be able to get the Link working. That’s all I really want: to play Her Story on the couch with my girlfriend.

Right, so what about you lot: have you received your Link and/or Controller? What do you make of it? Are you planning on getting one when they’re released or are you holding off for future iterations?

112 Comments

  1. nasKo says:

    I am loving them both to bits right now.

    Getting some games to work with the controller can take a bit more time that I like but once you’ve worked out a control scheme that works for you it’s quite sadisfying.

    I’ve spent most of my time playing Cities: Skylines so far and it’s a pleasure to play with the Steam Controller.

    The only real problems I have are that I can’t play Portal 2 via the Steam Link using the Steam Controller. It just flat out won’t work.
    If I hook up the controller to the PC it works fine but not through the Steam Link for some reason.

    The other problem is that if the Steam Link switches over to remote control (if a game crashed or something), it doesn’t really work well with multi monitor setups because it shows the picture of all monitors as one. I’d love if there’d be an option to only stream one screen to the Link.

    I was a bit surprised that the Link worked perfectly vine via WiFi for me. No noticable input lag, no artifacts. I guess results will vary due to Wifi being such a case-by-base thing.

    • Raoul Duke says:

      “sadisfying”

      The state of being satisfied by something really sad?

      • Jannn says:

        ‘sadisfying’, the type of satisfaction an sadist would love. Kidding aside, I’m still waiting for my pre-order to arrive. I can’t sit straight for long and even though I could have bought an Xbox controller, I think the Steam Controller is more versatile imo. Very much ‘sitisfaction’.

  2. Amatyr says:

    Something of the reverse for me. After initial laggy streaming for the SteamLink I rebooted all my network things and that seemed to almost entirely solve the problem and I’ve got a decent 1080p to my TV via a wired Powerline connection. It’s pretty good, although I’ve noticed that if I leave BigPicture running and then go to interact with my PC upstairs things get very confused and often a powercycle of the SteamLink is needed to sort it out.

    The controller on the other hand is atrocious. The right mouse-like pad is shockingly bad and the stick and buttons are very badly placed. Couldn’t control anything. I had some enjoyable plays of The Swindle, Batman: Arkham City and Telltale’s Game of Thrones once I switched to a 360 pad and the Steam Controller has been re-boxed up to be ignored.

    • Herr_C says:

      How about in games not ment to be played with controller? Basically, I want to play Civ5 on my TV.

      Also, didn’t people say you can use right track-pad as ABXY buttons?

      • Premium User Badge

        phuzz says:

        My flatmate said Civ V worked pretty well in the ten minutes he was testing it with the controller and Link. He thinks that using the controller as a mouse will work fine in games where you can take your time, but less well/not at all, for something like Torchlight or Starcraft.
        However, you know when you start Civ V and it asks if you want DX9 or DX10? Well that dialogue box only appears on your computer, so you start the game on the Steam Link, then you walk upstairs to click the DX10 button, then back downstairs to play. So there’s still a few teething troubles.

        • LOG3 says:

          I can second that. In general the controller can emulate mouse/keyboard very well. You can customize it to a great deal even with multiple button output etc. The only drawback is that you will not be able to use the trackpad as accurate and fast as a mouse. In games like CIV I don’t see any problem, in games like starcraft, you have to be very fast and very accurate with your mouse, which the steam controller only gets like 50% done

        • colonelslate says:

          Launchers appear to be a major weak point, but if you’re using the Steam Controller, the triggers are mapped to right and left mouse button clicks, so you should be able to get past them that way.

      • Leonick says:

        Games that aren’t made for controllers is the only situation I can imagine where the Steam Controller will be better than a regular Xbox controller. Question is, for games like Civ or a RTS, is it any better than just getting a keyboard with a touchpad built in?

      • melnificent says:

        I spent a few hours on civ v yesterday. The official bindings are terrible though.

      • Cipherpunk says:

        I’m usually not the best Civ player in our group but I managed to win a game with the steam controller this weekend. There were six other people and a fair bit of lag but I managed to keep up throughout the entire session and using the controller started to feel much more natural towards the end.

    • Baines says:

      That matches opinions that I’ve read elsewhere. Steam Link being okay, albeit buggy and in need of some improvements. The controller on the other hand having more fundamental design issues.

  3. Cinek says:

    Controller – too weird to purchase in blind. I would have to try it to make any decision. Though it’s nice from Valve to allow their fanboys buying it up front.

    Link – well, I bought a high-end screen for a reason. Not going to downgrade to the TV. So I have zero interest in that thing.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Lars Westergren says:

    I definitely want to get a Steam Link if they iron out the worst bugs, considering preordering. I have old hardware I could use instead, but the small size of this appeals.

    Especially curious if Rocksmith 2014 with the USB cable works well on it, anyone tried? Want the experience of rocking out with the home theater system and big screen in the living room instead of with headphones on standing in front of a desk.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      Oh, and can you plug in a USB hub so that 4 people can play Gang Beasts?

      I mean, I normally play strategy and RPG games at my desk, but it would be handy to be able to occasionally play social/big explosiony action games on the telly without also having to get a console.

      • colonelslate says:

        So far it seems that if you have a “powered USB hub” one of those that has an extra cord to provide power to everything attached, it seems to work fine, so game away with your 4 buddies.

        If you DO NOT have a powered USB hub, the Steam Link seems to be able to provide enough power for 2 360 controllers, (Afterglow type with the LEDs, those have to be off) but rumble stopped working for the second guy. We were able to reliably get a 3 man game of Gang Beasts playing, but the 4th player routinely had controller issues after we had used all the USBs on the Steam Link, and two on the hub.

        • Premium User Badge

          yhancik says:

          For a moment I thought you could connect 2360 controllers to it, which sounded a bit… scary!

          • Josh W says:

            For when you want to let everyone play gangbeasts, but you can’t move your supercomputer into your hockey stadium.

        • Cederic says:

          Hmm. Does this mean that Steam Link + powered USB will support HOTAS or a proper wheel?

          That’d be fantastic – I can’t really use those in my bedroom, but I don’t want to shift the PC..

  5. Not_Id says:

    Don’t want a Link as I have consoles under the tv with a ton of unplayed games. So if I want to play something in my Steam library I pop up and play it.

    Don’t want their controller as I like the 360 pad but prefer kb+m.

    • Raoul Duke says:

      Since I went to the effort of rejigging my old gaming PC as a big picture Steam box, I haven’t touched my PlayStation except to play blu rays and netflix. In the ultimate test of the old PC vs console gaming debate, a PC with a console controller is so much better than a console it’s hard to fathom anyone playing console games. Plus PC games on a big TV with surround sound are super fun. If only there was a comfortable way to use a mouse and keyboard on the couch for proper FPS games – sadly it sounds unlikely that the Steam contoller is the answer.

  6. gunny1993 says:

    Apparently turning off Hardware encoding on the link can be great for any quality problems.

  7. binkbenc says:

    I received both on Friday, too. First impressions were mixed. The controller feels awfully cheap, clumsy and plasticky, with sharp edges and bad button and stick size/placement as mentioned in the article – much worse than I expected. After a couple of days using it, though, I’ve got used to it. As a simple controller it’s fine, but I haven’t used it for any ‘mouse’ operations yet in game, though.

    The Link was much better. Initial impressions were good, I like the size and feel of it (would have quite liked a hardware on/off switch, though). Mine’s directly wired through a powerline adapter and I haven’t had any problems at all with it (other than the powerline adapters becoming un-paired halfway through a game. Not sure if it was anything to do with the Link, but it took me a frustrating day of tinkering with Windows before I realised what the problem was). The main reason I bought it was so I could play the Lego games in teh living room with my kid, and that’s pretty much all I’ve done so far. Tried Batman, LotR and Marvel so far, and all performed flawlessly with no graphical artifacts or lag.

    So, I’ve been really happy with the Link side of things, but the controller’s more of an issue. It’s flawed at the physical level, and no amount of patching is going to fix that. I’ll still use it, but I wanted it to be a brilliant game changer, and it’s certainly not that.

    Re: your issue closing games, I think you just press the ‘Steam’ button on the controller to bring up that little menu, then you can close the game and return to Big Picture mode there.

    • cunningmunki says:

      I’m surprised you find the controller “cheap and plasticky”, I think it feels really nice and extremely well made, in fact I’d say it’s probably the best made controller I’ve ever used. Even when I’m not playing with it I keep picking it up just to feel the gorgeous clickiness of the buttons!

      • Lachlan1 says:

        Sure Gabe

      • mavu says:

        Excuse me? have you ever held a gamepad style controller before?

        If you want to know how quality feels like, go to a shop and touch the PS4 controller. Then we’ll talk about the Poundland level of the steamcontroller’s quality.

    • Martel says:

      “The main reason I bought it was so I could play the Lego games in teh living room with my kid”

      This is why I bought one, can’t wait for it to get here so we can give it a whirl.

  8. Trinnet says:

    I have both.

    The steam controller seems to work really well as a mouse+keyboard substitute, but it’s horrible for any games designed with a controller in mind – I challenge you to find any human being for whom the ‘a’ button is in a comfortable place for regular use.

    The link works for me, the slight lag makes any twitch based games feel ‘wrong’, but for everything else it seems to work well. It’s terrible at handling my PC’s dual monitor setup though – anytime I’m on the desktop it shrinks everything down to 1/3 it’s normal size and displays it in a vast sea of blackness.

    • cunningmunki says:

      Human being here! I found the XYAB buttons to be a bit awkward at first, but after playing a few retro games, I don’t give it a second thought now. It’s just a transition. Plus, my son (who is 4) finds it very comfortable :-)

  9. Chairman_Pow says:

    Mixed results with my Link. My wired connection through my power sockets is not always recognised and sometimes requires a unplug/replug. Civ 5 runs wonderfully — the pre-set default controls felt intuitive enough for me to settle a city or two before I delved into the menu to figure out some of the finer details. Being able to play a game of Civ’s ilk and not feel like I was compromising control/function felt wonderful.

    My brief attempts at anything else have been dreadful. GTAV stuttered and I’ve no idea what the controller was doing. I tried looking for pre-sets to use, but it was not apparent what was mapped to what. To be fair, I only spent around 10 minutes trying to fix it before I had to leave. I’m hoping just a little tinkering will fix the issue.

    I realise there is an investment of time required to get the most out of the Steam Link/Controller. I hope my time will be well spent.

  10. dicky says:

    I’ve had a bit of a play with my new Steam Controller and I’m still on the fence, veering toward disappointment. I was naively expecting it to change my gaming world, so perhaps I’m being unfair, but it really does just feel like a small laptop trackpad bolted onto a gamepad. I was hoping this would be the answer to my complete lack of ability to aim in FPSes using an Xbox controller, but so far I’ve struggled even more. My main complaint is that it’s all a bit shakey. Maybe that’s the fault of my clumsy, quivering thumbs, but “thumb-on-trackpad” seems to lack the stability of either “thumb-on-stick” or “hand-on-mouse”, meaning that first-person views tend to shake disorientatingly.

    I’m hoping it’s just a steep learning curve, and that with time it’ll work out as a good middleground, as I’ve not played games with a mouse and keyboard in years (my desktop is connected to my TV and primarily used for Netflix) but still miss that set-up for some genres. In fact, that’s probably part of the problem – I’m so out of the habit of playing with a mouse that I’m trying to use the Steam Controller like a gamepad. And in that regard, it’s not great; I’m not sure I’d ever use it to play games designed for gamepads (the Batmen, Rocket League, etc.), but that was never my hope. Ideally, I’ll switch between my old 360 controller and this depending on the game.

    I’m also hoping for better integration with Windows; I’ve been surprised at how useful it is for just navigating my PC while slumped in my sofa, but I don’t think there’s a way to bring up the keyboard while using a browser, for instance, which would be great. Does make me suspect that it’d be a decent way of playing strategy games, too.

    • LOG3 says:

      Did you update the firmware? Also be sure to configure the trackpad for FPS games. I got quite good results. Set the trackbad to mouse mode not trackball. Deactivate mouse acceleration. Put the sensitivity to maximum and reduce the sensitivity ingame to match what you like. Also try the mode switch. Put mode switch button to LS Click and use the same settings, just with lower sensitivity and you have a sniper mode when you click the trackpad.

      • dicky says:

        The firmware updated itself when I first used it, yeah. Will definitely try your advice re: settings, thanks! I think I probably just need some more time to fiddle and learn, but I’m also glad that there’s some useful tips starting to surface.

    • Phantom7748 says:

      I’ve found I was trying to use the right pad wrong. I had the sensitivity jacked in order to have a full range of motion with the camera without lifting my finger. This made it too sensitive for fine aiming and shaky due to my fingers. Once I turned it down, it felt better to use sweeping motions and to actually pick my finger up off the pad. It also eliminated the hypersensitivity that made the camera go nuts. Definitely needs more getting used to.

  11. mattevansc3 says:

    I’m going to wait for reviews of the Link first. Its cheap but it takes up a HDMI slot and I’ve already got an Amazon Firestick, Xbox360 and Skybox plugged in to the TV. I’ve already got a Logitech K400 keyboard with trackpad so am I just better of buying an Atom based Brix/NUC and use that instead of a Steam Link and Amazon Firestick? If Microsoft finally get PC to XboxOne game streaming then I may have to look at buying an XboxOne instead of the Link and ditch the Xbox360 and Amazon Firestick to do it all through one box.

  12. Phinor says:

    It’s fair to say at this point that the controller will never succeed in mass market capacity because it’s not a “plug it in and EVERYTHING works” device. People seem to expect perfection right away and that’s just not going to happen, not now and not when it properly launches and is supposed to have decent/good layouts for most games. It’s not 1:1 gamepad so many people will just refuse it (and already have, even though they paid and acknowledged they are an early adopter) and go back to their old ways.

    For me as a long time PC gamer who wants to tweak settings and tinker with options, it is on its way to replace gamepad for most gamepad games. I will still obviously use KB+mouse for first person shooters etc. and regular gamepad will also have some use.

    Valve still needs to keep improving BPM, drivers and all that. I’ve had various problems already including games stopping to respond to the controller entirely, BPM crashing while in game and so on. All this won’t be ready for the proper launch in November. Oh and I didn’t get my pre-order bonuses (namely Rocket League) so it’s not like I had a smooth first experience. It’ll be interesting to see if/how Valve continues to support the controller or will they quickly move on to new things.

    • Thurgret says:

      Nothing wrong with expecting a product to work as advertised. PC gamers in particular have a bad habit of defending products, saying ‘you just need to fix it’, or ‘just wait for the developer to fix it, whenever they take a notion to’. There’s usually lots of talk of entitlement, when really, people are right to expect what they paid for. Maybe I’m being unfair in drawing that from your post, though.

      • Vandelay says:

        I think what Phinor means is that people expect it to instantly be comfortable and improve their ability to play games. There will never be a device that will compare to the hundreds of hours you will have already invested in your control method of choice. Give it a month or two and see if it suits you better though. People are definitely too quick to dismiss something when it doesn’t give them instant gratification.

        You are completely right that people should be expecting a product to be functional though. The article seems to indicate issues in that regard, but most comments suggest Valve have met that criteria.

      • Premium User Badge

        Damien Stark says:

        I agree there’s nothing wrong with “wanting a product to work”, but the reason why this dynamic comes up repeatedly is that there’s a difference between “working” and “integrating.

        Even some of the most expensive, high-end, customer driven equipment in the world (I’m thinking of million-dollar Juniper and Cisco routers here, the things that “run the Internet”) will fail in unexpected ways when it comes time to integrate them with unexpected combinations of other gear.

        The Steam link absolutely may “work” like a champ, when tested with the most common-model of Linksys home router connected on a GigE wired port. Then it might experience DHCP or ARP or UPnP problems with your D-Link Gig-E router, or shaping/microburst problems with your 100M NetGear.

        Because PC gamers are accustomed to integrating a wide variety of custom hardware, they’re used to experiencing these issues. That doesn’t mean the manufacturers have no duty to test on different setups or fix found problems, but it does mean the likelihood that a newly released product “just works” on everyone’s custom setup day 1 is basically null.

      • woodsey says:

        Wasn’t it advertised based on its adaptability, though? I don’t have one but I’ve seen the options menu, and that thing is clearly not intended for people who only want to pick it up and get going immediately.

    • Bull0 says:

      The controller will get more casual-friendly as more configs become available for it. I fired up Wolfenstein TNO and it automatically switched to a popular config since I had none selected, and worked fine.

      I’m really loving the controller. I don’t have a Link because my main TV is already very close to my PC so there’s not much point.

  13. The Sombrero Kid says:

    Superior to any other game pad, I am better at mgsv after using the steam controller and that was the hardest game to get used to. I saw a lot of griping on twitter before I got my hands on mine and was expecting it to be rubbish but it’s so good I’ve binned my xbox controller.

  14. Astatine says:

    I got my Steam Controller on Friday and I love it already. Like the other posters suggest, it won’t replace my 360 pad for games designed for that, but it unlocks so much of the rest my library for big screen sofa play. It’s great for Civ 5, for example!

    Learning curve? Maybe there is a long curve to getting tournament good with it, but I fired up Borderlands and was headshotting goons with the sniper rifle in minutes. I’ve never been able to do that with a regular controller.

    The controller feels lightweight and plasticky in the hand when you first pick it up, but once you get into the game the actual controls are surprisingly solid. The triggers, for example, feel more substantial than the 360 pad’s.

  15. spacedyemeerkat says:

    For those with Link, does it provide multi-channel sound if plugged into your AV receiver?

    • SingularityParadigm says:

      Steam In-Home Streaming only supplies stereo audio, so no, the Steam Link does not provide surround audio.

      • spacedyemeerkat says:

        That’s jolly disappointing.

        Thanks for the response.

  16. Pizzacheeks McFroogleburgher says:

    Sigh… You can’t polish a turd.

  17. LOG3 says:

    I have been using the Controller for 3 days now.

    I think it is awesome! Yet too many people seem to be not pleased because they didn’t configure it for their game properly… which is the best thing this controller has to offer… the sheer amounts of settings and options you have.

    First off: If your right trackpads seems broken, like sending signals when not touching, feeling wierd: This was the same with mine. Just go into Big Picture Mode and you should get the prompt to update Firmware. Everything worked flawless after that! (You should opt in to the steam beta for the most recent firmware and updates).

    As for the layout of the ABXY buttons… I can understand how it must feel wierd, but this was my first ever controller I used for PC. The last controller I touched was the Playstation 2, years back when it got released. So I had no problems getting used to the layout, but I think it is better catered to players with big hands.

    As for the build quality, I don’t know how ‘cheap’ or ‘expensive’ plastic would feel or look like… the quality seems good to me. I can’t feel any sharp edges, the plastic doesn’t seem to be thin or shaky, maybe I have to use a different controller once to know what people are talking about.

    For playing games:
    The most important part is: Go and edit your controller settings to suit the game/your needs! Right Trackpad doesn’t feel good? Switch it to mouse mode, lower sensitivity.. should be good then. The trigger button is too unresponsive or responds too fast? You have a HELL of customization for these… you can set the individual deadzones, for the start and the end of the signal. You can select how the soft pull should respond, for example, as Hair Trigger for shooting… works great IMHO. For alot of games I ended up using the left trackpad (D-pad) as a touch D-pad. Set “Click required” to off, set overlap directions to off. Set a little deadzone in the center, set the analog emulation time in ms to highest setting and the time % the button needs to respond to max also… now you have a touch-DPad for navigating those menus with a breeze!!!

    For example, I played CS:GO with the controller and I spent hours setting it up. I can use the buymenu with the touch DPad set to numbers 1-4 and with mode-switch button to 5-8. My character sneaks by default but if you push the analog stick to the edge you will run. Right trackpad is in mouse mode, acceleration off, pressing it will lower sensitivity for sniping mode, double tapping it very fast reloads. The grip buttons on the back are mapped to jump/duck so you never have to take your thumbs off. Left Trigger is set to a very very responsive hair trigger with aggressive curve… you can really shoot fast and quick that way. Right Trigger is bound to right mouse for zooming with AWP and such.
    If you want, search for my config in big picture mode “LOG3’s Ultimate CS:GO Binding v1.1”.

    In online games I managed to get in the middlefield of the players (casual mode), with stats like 5/11 or 4/9 (I don’t play CS:GO regulary but I am a pretty decent player in FPS). Mouse is still superior in aiming but it is DECADES better than with any other controller. You won’t be competitive but it sure is fun.. and people didn’t notice I was using a controller unless I told them =)

    As for other games like rocket league… works well without customizations… but if you do… it’s awesome: I steer with analog stick, I press the stick down to slide. Acceleration with the right analog stick (the start deadzone set to minimum and the end deadzone to minimum +1) so with the slightest push I accelerate to 100% since I don’t want to use the analog range and maybe end up only giving 50% thrust because I don’t push the trigger enough. Pull the Trigger all the way and ‘click’ it to use Turboboost… really convenient to play this way… It’s all in your hands to set it up correctly! (Or… download a config from other players!) I would rate it 9/10. The only thing bothering me is the missing software to configure if when you are NOT ingame (a.k.a. in Bic Picture Mode or in Windows). You can do it via editing config files, but I really hope they will deliver with the appropriate software/menu soon!

    • capndan says:

      I definitely agree, you need to dig into the customization. There is a ton you can do, and honestly this is a huge failing on Steams part of not teaching people to use the controller. I went to the site and help is minimal at best. One guy is doing a great series on youtube covering how to set it up for specific game types, I can’t wait to dig in and try some of his suggestions. Here is one for FPS configurations link to youtube.com

    • Premium User Badge

      Cyphran says:

      Thanks for a detailed posting. It is very helpful.

  18. TheMipper says:

    The controller is somewhat strange but I think I can get used to it. But I fear it will break quite fast. And the XYBA buttons are not placed ergonomically. My thumb hurted after just minutes of using it.

    With the link I have a bigger problem. When I connect my link to my Sony TV it messes up the TV. This means the options menu of the TV is not working anymore, so no picture adjustments for me. This is very annoying because in house streaming uses the same color profile that is used for my desktop monitor. And the monitor profile is just not good for my TV.

    The second problem is that when I turn off my TV it turns itself on again. I have to disconnect the link’s power after using it.

    I hope that some firmware upgrades will fix these problems.

  19. Eleven says:

    I have been playing around with the Steam Controller over the weekend.

    – The hardware is functional, but feels like a beta version. Cheap plastics, small face buttons, loud clopping noise when pressing buttons and paddles. It’s not worse than most third-party controllers though.

    – It’s massively configurable, and genuinely works with practically any game you care to choose. Configurations are shareable in the community, so you don’t have to fiddle with it yourself if you don’t want to.

    – The touchpads work pretty much as advertised, are noticeably more accurate than laptop versions and can successfully ape a trackball. Console style FPS like Dead Space are perfectly playable.

    – If you have problems using game controls on smartphones, you may have problems with this controller. Dry skin, cold hands, big thumbs, etc, can sometimes cause capacitative touch sensors to become unreliable.

    – If the game was designed for an x360 pad, use a x360 pad. Touchpads aren’t good at replicating a thumbsticks.

    I have tried a few games with it:
    – Deadspace as mentioned above, with the game in M+KB mode with the controller’s right pad set up as a trackball, and it worked well enough.

    – The twin-stick shooter Assault Android Cactus worked, though I really missed having a physical right thumbstick.

    – Pillars of Eternity was more than playable, to the point where I would want to use the controller rather than a laptop touchpad, especially with both controller pads set to be a mouse so that you can alternate fingers when one reaches the edge of a pad (sounds weird but it’s surprisingly intuitive).

    – Planetside 2 was painful, as the game has no mercy for anything less than pin-point perfect control, and only gets harder when you get into a vehicle or aircraft.

    Overall, if you want to control a PC from the sofa, it’s pretty good. If you’re playing games at your PC then you’ll probably just use the mouse and keyboard anyway, and x360 pads are the best at being x360 pads.

  20. Premium User Badge

    Oakreef says:

    Mine hasn’t arrived yet and even if it does this week I probably won’t actually be able to use it till the weekend.

  21. melnificent says:

    I’ve got the steam controller and am enjoying the tinkering that is possible to get a game working exactly as I want it to.

    I’ve ditched the analog stick now I’ve got the left pad setup just right for me… increased dead zone, click off, haptics high. The right side turned the vertical sensitivity down to about 25% and it’s perfect for controller based games as it then sticks on the horizontal similar to a dual stick setup.

    Taking an official binding such as the civ V one and tweaking it to suit is such a simple but welcome thing…. (trackball friction low, acceleration low).

    Spending the time with a game to get your binding just right is important. And once you have done it once you can copy your controller binding to the template directory and have it work for any game… so far I’ve setup a nice strategy setup and a AAA open world one.

    It’s rough around the edges, but I like that. I wouldn’t recommend it to friends that don’t tinker though as it’s nowhere plug and play ready.

    • melnificent says:

      Oh and dual trigger for aim/shoot are great. I expected that to be a weakey point that just kinda got forgotten about.

  22. Zanchito says:

    The only way I’ll be buying a Steam controller (and I’d like to, as I like the innovations it’s suppoused to bring) is if it is 100%, no fiddiling, no but’s and no and’s compatible with XBOX controls.

    I already own a PS3 controller which I had to ditch because it took too much fiddling to get working in some games. Since then, I got an XBOX 360 controller and it works perfectly, no questions asked, in any and all Steam games that support controllers.

    • LOG3 says:

      It should be. The Controller uses the xinput API. If you rebind a button, you can even notice that the picture of the controller (where you can select the new button that should be used) matches the layout of a x360.

      I played many games with “Controller Support” which I assume, is almost always only supprting the x360/xinput API and had no problems whatsoever.

      You may have a problem getting used to the smaller ABXY buttons and their position, as that differs from an x360 controller.

    • Phinor says:

      I’d say that while the controller works with just about every game right out of the box, your no fiddling stance makes the controller a poor buy for you. You are going to have to go through controller settings for just about every game to get the controller perfect for your needs, there’s no one setting that works for everyone or every game. And while there will be (and there is) pre-made layouts you can activate, that still requires you to go to controller settings and, well, activate those settings. In most cases you also have to familiarize yourself with the controller layout and again, probably tweak a few things here and there to suit your specific needs. It’s never going to be 100% hassle free unless every developer and Sony/MS suddenly decide to put all their support behind the controller.

  23. bobbobob says:

    I didn’t buy the link because of how upsetting it was to play anything real with the onlive way back in the past. I’m still hurt.

    Controller is nice enough, there’s a huge chasm of wasted space in the body which could have done with a big weight squeezed in to make it seem more substantial and the little trackpad thing is very wonky. Switching between that and an xbox controller leaves no argument that the xbox guys have got it right with button placement and analog accuracy. I think there’s a chance it’s just a matter of time though until I get used to the steam controller, and updates to the profiles might make a big difference as well.. Time will (might) tell.

  24. Premium User Badge

    mecreant says:

    I was hoping it would allow wi-fi streaming of games to the tv.

    I tried Torchlight II and Invisible Inc., the two games I have currently installed, over a wi-fi connection. The picture was sharp and the controls responsive, but the sound tended to break up. Both games crashed within five minutes, and I could hear the cooling fans in the computer go to full speed as the processor started to run hot. I found that surprising since my processor is a liquid cooled 3.5 GHz core i7 oc’ed to 4.6 GHz and since neither game is very demanding the fans run at low speed when I play them.

    A minor annoyance was that when I would turn on the steam link, it would tell me that the pc was off-line until I logged out of my steam account and logged back in.

    The controller can’t replicate the speed and accuracy of a real mouse. Torchlight II is completely unplayable with it. Playing Invisible Inc. was a bit awkward but it wasn’t too bad.

    • dagnamit says:

      I have a fps counter overlaying running all the time, and I noticed that some games run up up 300-400 fps even when vsync is turned on. They’ll need to fix that issue else video card will start melting.

  25. rocktart says:

    I’ve been mainly using my new controller with Rocket League in an attempt to get used to it. So far so good, it does work out of the box (once I put batteries in), and Rocket League worked fine.
    It’s a bit big, it reminded me of the original Xbox controllers which were also massive. They eventually made those smaller too, so maybe there is a controller development team somewhere who all have massive hands and no kids.
    I find the placement of the XYBA buttons a bit weird, almost out of reach of my thumb. With the Xbox pad my thumb rests on the green A, with the other buttons easily in reach. Not so with the Steam pad, where I just about sit on the red righthand button.
    The touchpads do work, and the solution for using the touchpads and triggers to enter text is elegant.
    I too have that weird thing where if I put the controller down and use mouse/keyboard my mouse will occasionally wander slightly due to input from the pad.
    To turn off the pad you hold down the steam button, which also brings up big picture mode, which you don’t seem to be able to avoid.
    So far its a usable thing, obviously designed more for a big picture user rather than a desktop user. It will interesting to see if it will catch on, or will enter the realm of the <a href="” title=”virtual boy”>.

  26. nmarebfly says:

    Have the controller but not the link. I like it a lot, but it’s probably not going to be the primary controller for most games. It has a specific use case — games that require keyboard and mouse but don’t necessarily need heavy precision or instant reactions. I played a ton of Dungeon of the Endless from the couch this weekend and the controller was totally perfect for that and Shadowrun. Less so for Metal Gear, though I imagine I could get used to the latter given some practice.

    Couple weird interface inconsistencies in big picture mode, which is annoying. Is there a way to remap left and right click within BPM itself, not inside a game? Why does it make me navigate with the analog stick and the face buttons?

  27. GuillaumeJ says:

    I discovered Steam link this morning (before this post).
    Until now, I was planning to buy a Nvidia Shield (the tv box, not the tablet), for Plex and for game streaming from my PC.
    Right now, I’m not sure : the Shield seems just better, but it’s 200$ (with a controller). (as for Plex, I can keep my old roku which works just fine)

    • bfandreas says:

      DO NOT, I REPEAT:
      DO NOT BUY THE nVidia Shield Android TV box over a Steam Link. I have the Shield box and it is disappointing. Due to Android TV you have a very limited list of apps available. nVidea local streaming only works for games that have a profile for it. Which isn’t all of them. The Link will stream your whole Steam library. And if you get a cheap Android streaming box you will be able to do more with it than with a Shield Android TV. I’ve just saved you 100€.

      If you want Shield on the Big Screen then buy a Shield Tablet and hook it up with an HDMI cable. The Android TV store is a deserted wasteland. Do not mount this dead horse.

  28. Drew says:

    My controller didn’t arrive unfortunately, still waiting for that but I’ve had great success with the Link.
    I hooked a 360 pad into it and had a play at some of my more fast paced games like Transformers Devastation and they were flawless.
    Intend to put it through the ringer a little more once the controller arrives.

  29. colonelslate says:

    So far, I am quite happy with the Link, it appears to everything I wanted it to be, being able to play large portions of my steam library with local friends is going to be great, instead of crowding around a small scree, we can use the actual screen made for such endeavors.

    The steam controller on the other hand, eh, seems to be a little strange, could probably get used to it, and it lets you play things like minecraft (via adding a non-steam game to the steam library) relatively fine.

    I’m not sure that it will replace my general usage controllers, but for things that CAN’T use a “normal” controller, it is by far and away one of the best things thus far.

    My sister who has a kid that she typically has to watch all the time is able to play things like the Sims (again via non-steam game) and casual games quite well with it.

    So, as far as the Link goes, quite happy with it.

    Steam Controller, has it’s uses, but I doubt it will replace my day to day use controllers.

    Also, fuck that A Button, seriously.

    • pepperfez says:

      The steam controller…lets you play things like minecraft (via adding a non-steam game to the steam library) relatively fine.
      Does this mean that the controller only works (or is only configurable) through Steam? That would make me a little grumpy.

      • colonelslate says:

        It does appear that way, I’m not entirely sure if there is another way to do it, but the only place I’ve found that allows you to configure the controller is the “manage controller” in steam big picture mode.

      • HothMonster says:

        It only seems to work when Steam is running. You can use it as a mouse for windows but it goes unresponsive if Steam is turned off. I also can not find a way to remap the buttons for windows. So the mouse and the left/right click are all fine but most of the other buttons are just bound to something random and useless. Like the y button if F or some other useless character key. Hopefully they will let us reconfigure those binds.

        So you could probably use it for something that is a non-steam game without running it through Steam but you would need something like joy2key to map it for you or figure out all the weird mappings and set your binds to those keys.

  30. amateurviking says:

    The need for batteries is a deal-breaker for me. If it’s going to be wireless I want it to be rechargeable, hang the extra cost. Because I am too disorganised to have spare AAs around when the blasted thing runs out of juice at 2am in the middle of an unwise late night playing session. But yeah, unless this is an adequate (just adequate) replacement for both a controller and KB+M for every game in my library then I don’t see the point, as it won’t end up fully replacing either, so I’d have all three (four) kicking about cluttering up the place.

    WRT the Steam Link, as big picture is barely functional locally I dread to think what it would be like remotely (not so much the playing of games, but the booting and shutting down thereof. CTDs, crashes, splash windows etc). These are more problems with the games than the client though: I suspect Valve are about to find out why MS and Sony have expensive but thorough certification processes.

    • Qazi says:

      The real kicker is where they’ve positioned the batteries.
      link to controller.steampowered.com
      One battery down each “prong” of the controller.

      Real awkward to zero chance of getting a 3rd party recharge pack with that set up.

      • Supahewok says:

        Obviously it’s suboptimal, but what’s wrong with having two sets of rechargeable batteries that have their own charge station? When your controller dies, take ’em out, swap ’em out, and keep on playing. It’s what I do with all of my things that still run on batteries.

        It’s not great, no, but I’d hardly call it a deal breaker.

  31. Robert The Rebuilder says:

    Instead of a link, I bought a long HDMI cable to pull my laptop into my HDTV. Then my friends and I use PS3 controllers to play Steam games.

    (Still not clear on the point of Link and Steam controllers.)

    • gunny1993 says:

      Because most people wont have a laptop capable of playing games at an acceptable visual quality for them and a 50 quid solution is better than a laptop they don’t want.

      And the controllers are most designed around the track-pad that allows RTS games and such to be played on them.

      • rodan32 says:

        Nah, the trick here is that your desktop rig can stream to even a crappy laptop fairly well. I’ve played with streaming to an ancient Samsung netbook running Linux, and it’s actually shockingly workable, provided I’m on the wired connection. So I think the “hook a laptop up to the TV” idea is viable, and even reasonable for folks (assuming a decent gaming desktop is doing the streaming). That said, I’m waiting for my Steam Link to arrive.

    • Enkinan says:

      I have an HDMI run and a wireless Xbox controller for couch time as well, so the Link is worthless for me at this time. I think many of these people are on different floors of their houses or have other issues with running a cable.

  32. Chaz says:

    I’d like to get a Link, but I think I’ll wait for a while first for any problems to get ironed out.

    As for the controller, I’m not too interested. That’s assuming I could plug a wireless keyboard and mouse into the link?

    • rodan32 says:

      Yep, KB and mouse are officially listed as supported. Just stick the dongle in the USB port, supposedly. Still curious to see how this works in practice, but I figure (when mine arrives) I’ll keep a KB/mouse on the coffee table just in case.

  33. nneko says:

    I’ve got the controller, and it has difficulties where it’s sometimes identified correctly as a controller, incorrectly as a controller, or as a mouse+keyboard — especially if my computer’s been in sleep mode. Fresh booting tends to resolve this, but the point behind the box being out-of-sight-and-mind is not needing to press the power button on it.

    Let me be very clear on this: As far as I’m concerned, the controller is a symbolic piece of hardware for Chilling Out Because It All Just Works. If it doesn’t all work and chilling out does not ensue, then something’s gone wrong. So something’s gone wrong. Additionally:

    I’d also forgotten how much I detest the sadism of jumping games; ever since Commander Keen showed me that there was a fun way of doing platforming, I expected things would be better. And then I got 40 minutes into Ori and the Blind Forest and there was much sadness.

    Never Alone simply doesn’t work with the Steam controller in single-player mode; you can’t switch characters so your pairing gets split up and dies at the first jump (and then everything crashes with much sadness; I’ve heard this can happen regardless of which controller gets used).

    Saints Row 4’s default setting used the right track pad for turning+aiming, but with impossibly low sensitivity (even when cranked) because it apparently thought it was talking to a dual-stick controller. The experience was horrible compared to keyboard+trackball.

    Bastion works, but feels a bit clumsy, like any game where your character will stupidly wander off the edge of the world despite both you and a narrator telling him to not follow such a directive is clumsy. I’ll play it more and see if it gets to feeling better.

    Grim Dawn is wretched in the way that a click-to-move/attack game would be with a tiny little trackpad; I expect it could be great if there was an alternate interface for pushing to move, button to attack forward. But I didn’t see such an option.

    Overall, I don’t see myself going away from the wireless keyboard+mouse interface I’ve been using for years in my living room within the next couple of months. But I am hoping the situation improves.

  34. ackondro says:

    So I had built a Steambox out of old parts a few months ago, but I ran a bunch of native and streamed games over the weekend trying to play with the Steam Controller. FPS games take some getting used to, but that might just be the newness. I was surprised how many games didn’t like Windows 10, most of the “failures” might stem from that.

    Playable:

    * Hexcells / Hexcells Infinite (native): Totally works
    * Civ 5 (native): Works fine, has a good official config
    * Portal 2 (native): Works fine, offical config is nice
    * Half Life (native): Works fine with Steam Controller using a Community Config
    * Dying Light (native): Used a Community Config and rebound the chat key, but worked fine afterwards
    * Mirror's Edge (stream): Works really well using a Community Config
    * Before the Echo aka Sequence (native): Made my own config, worked quite well

    Not so great:

    * Binding of Isaac Rebirth (native): Didn't pick up the Steam Controller, used X360 controller
    * Metal Gear Solid V (stream): Not that great, couldn't get used to the Steam Controller, plan on coming back to this later after a bit more acclimatization.
    * Spelunky (stream): Not bad with Steam Controller, but I felt it was laggy
    * Fallout 3 (stream): Couldn't get to launch on Win 10, kept crashing
    * Fallout New Vegas (stream): Locked up on character creation screen, had to accept UAC prompt on Windows machine
    * Dark Souls (stream): Locked up on character creation screen

  35. mavu says:

    When I got it, I had to vent on the steam forums.

    – build quality is terrible.
    – batteries that are not rechargeable in the device. you have to take them out to recharge them.
    – not sure for what lifeform the shoulderbuttons are made, but I’m pretty sure its not human.
    – gaps on the bottom, and at the shoulderbuttons make it look even cheaper.

    Pretty much the only thing i realy like about it, is the software. I’s impressive how complete the configurability is.

  36. bee says:

    The controller can’t be configured without using big picture mode, which can’t use a bigger resolution than 1080p. The controller is also uncomfortable.

  37. kingfelix says:

    Been using an xbox 360 controller as my primary interface for games for a long time now. As such, it was a little weird transitioning to the Steam controller, the comments about the button placement and such being off are spot on but honestly, it didn’t take very long to get used to and I feel that’s really all it comes down to. If you think it’s “weird” or whatever and aren’t willing to spend the time to engage with it and get your body used to using it, well, you never will!

    It feels a little cheap, my roommate commented on that as well. I think the xbox 360 controller feels cheap and arbitrarily heavy though. I have dropped the steam controller a couple times and it didn’t immediately shatter into a million pieces or stop working so whatever. It was nice to be able to play mouse and keyboard games that were never designed to work with a controller pretty much immediately though it does take getting used to as I mentioned. It’s not like you’re going to pick it up and go “this thing is great!” unless you do in which case, good for you.

    The fact I can play games now without a mouse and keyboard is great and I look forward to trying it with more games down the road and I feel like the customization options in there are pretty deep so it will take some time to tease out it’s nuances and I look forward to seeing the templates people will eventually create and whittle away at until there is a community made baseline standard for each game. If it means a little bit of growing pains to be able to enjoy my PC away from a desk, I’m all for it.

  38. Risingson says:

    What do you think of the controller for playing adventure games? Have any of you tried it?

    • Scrobbs says:

      Yes! Left pad as mouse, dpad and ABXY set up for verbs on MI. Rear buttons for inventory and verb list, triggers for mouse clicks. Works admirably with a suggested template.

      Amnesia is a different matter – but once set up, all the buttons the controller is capable of means all actions are covered; works well and have shared my set up.

      Dirt Rally – gfx stream well on ultr over wifi, but there’s controller lag, haven’t sorted it out yet.

      All in all, pretty impressed. Pads on controller do exactly what I envisaged them do to to match m+k. Twitch games like CS may not work as well with it, but there’s heaps of sensitivity settings and thresholds which may help.

  39. Asokn says:

    I have both the link and the controller. I’ve been enormously impressed with the link, I was playing The Witcher 3 over the weekend without problems save for very limited artifacting. I’ve not experienced any lag at all with that game, Rocket League or Lego Batman.

    As for the controller, I like it. It works as a replacement mouse and keyboard and is a good game pad as well. I think that a lot of people are being a bit unreasonable given that the controller is basically totally new, it will take some practice before it feels natural and all those years of using a game pad are undone.

    In conclusion, very impressed so far.

  40. Bourne says:

    I’ve had a great experience with the steam link so far. Played through MGS ground zeros and several other games with great visuals and no noticeable lag or loss of fps. I do have one problem that I think is caused by my primary monitor being >1080p. All games I’ve started so far will start with a black screen, but on my computer they’re fine because the resolution is set to 1440xwhatever. When I change the resolution back to 1080p then restart the game every one has worked. Annoying but hopefully easily solvable with software.

    I have mixed feelings about the controller. I’ve used mice my entire life and generally do pretty terribly with a controller, I was hoping this would be different but not so far. There are settings that allow a button (I would pick a grip) to toggle the pad between 2 different modes, so ideally I should be able to have a regular controller experience then easily switch to a mouse like one when I actually want to shoot something. In MGS this refused to work but I blame the game (the mouse wouldn’t work period while the controller was in), so hopefully its better in other games.

  41. Premium User Badge

    samsharp99 says:

    I haven’t actually played any games with it yet but my first impressions of the controller are as follows:
    – The packaging looks premium
    – The controller itself looks a bit tacky
    – The analog trigger motion feels too short to be able to be precise enough with it
    – When you use the analogue stick/ABXY buttons, it feels like the grip is pushing your hand away from them
    – On the desktop, it was really easy to use as a mouse for browsing etc. It’s a shame there isn’t a GUI for configuring the controller in the desktop mode though, took away a bit from the initial experience

  42. Enkinan says:

    From all of the comments I’ve read, it sounds like the controller is a matter of getting used to the foreignness of it physucally, and people taking the controller into account when making games to get optimal default setups for it.

  43. Doogie2K says:

    I’ve found the streaming itself to be brilliant, so far, but it’s been a bit annoying to get it to work. First, it doesn’t work on MacOS at this point, so my girlfriend can’t stream off her laptop. Yes, I know, you could use an HDMI cable, but in theory this should remove a level of hassle from the proceedings, especially since we’d be streaming some from my Windows PC anyway. It worked when she Boot Camped into Windows, but that’s not where her saves are. The second problem is that it doesn’t seem to like it when you daisy-chain two routers together. I was trying to set up my living room so that I could be wired onto the LAN in the office for streaming at all times; all our other consoles connect by Ethernet just fine, the Steam Link doesn’t like it. Fortunately, I have a good Wireless-N signal, so that’s apparently how we need to go. But again, once it works, it comes out very nicely. I played a little Trine 2 and a little Saints Row IV and both looked smooth and pretty; I may tweak my settings to emphasize the stream quality, since my speeds are currently pretty good.

    I had less luck with the Steam Controller. With a bit of fiddling, my girlfriend got more comfortable with it, but the touchpad-as-joystick thing was just not agreeing with me early on, and using it as a mouse was hopeless. It may just be a matter of getting the firmware update on there and tweaking sensitivities and such, but my first impression wasn’t great. She likes it more, and may keep at it once everything gets settled in, but for now, I’ve got a wired 360 controller plugged into the Steam Link. Guess we’re gonna need more 360 dongles going forward.

    • Doogie2K says:

      Also, since we can’t edit, I’d also like to give a big thumbs-up to Valve for putting every conceivable cable and AC adapter and batteries right there in the damned box. Thank you for saving me having to dig through my own box of spare bits to cobble together what I need to use your damned machine from minute one. This has not always been a thing IME, though it seems to be getting better in recent years.

    • Asokn says:

      I was reading on Eurogamer earlier that apparently the incompatibility with Macs is a mistake that Valve intend to fix and, for those affected, thy’re giving away their entire games collection as an apology. I appreciate that this doesn’t fix the issue but it’s a pretty big positive!

      Here is the link if you want to read more:

      link to eurogamer.net

  44. subedii says:

    For anyone wondering about the controller, I recommend you all check out Woodsie’s channel on youtube. He’s basically been putting out videos on using the SC for a few months now. In general he has a very good grasp of what the controller is designed for, and how to make the best use of it.

    Now that the final controller has released, he’s apparently going to start putting out video guides on how to configure your controller for various different games and scenarios. Today it’s Doom / FPS (I’m just going to link to the channel since multiple links get a post flagged for moderation).

    link to youtube.com

    I’d definitely recommend watching. Far too much of the initial swarm of reviews have basically played around with the Steam controller for a couple of hours, tried to use it as if it’s a gamepad with thumbsticks, and then lamented that it doesn’t work that way and is therefore badly designed. Since it’s the first video, this video gives you a good idea of just how well it can work and how ridiculously configurable it is.

    Honestly, if you keep hearing how imprecise the controller is and how much better it is to play with a gamepad, just watch his Doom Livestream videos. Also, I’d recommend his RTS video.

  45. TwiceRemoved says:

    Mixed bag so far –

    I have both the controller and the link.

    THE CONTROLLER – Awesome for those mouse and keyboard games I was never able to play on my 60″ plasma TV.

    INITIAL CONTROLLER IMPRESSIONS: There is a definite learning curve to using the Steam Controller, but it is a huge step forward. The haptic touchpad is great and I love the extra click buttons on the rear. The “A” button feels a bit far from a natural position for my liking, but that will disappear with more use. The problem right now is compatibility – it doesn’t work consistently in all games, particularly the touchpad. Here’s hoping Valve irons out the problems with this gem of a controller.

    THE LINK – Loads up quick. Nice interface. Easy set up. Streams better than my laptop. Crashing problems out the wazoo . . . Skyrim looks great (when it isn’t full of graphic glitches). I have a feeling Half-Life 2 would be great (if I could get it to stop loading a random green screen). Portal 2 would have been great (if I could have gotten the mouse pointer to move on the menu screen). Bioshock Infinite looked AMAZING and was great fun to play (until it crashed).

    INITIAL LINK IMPRESSIONS – Feels like 3/4 of my games don’t perform properly. A good portion of my games are indie games, and those seem to give the steam link lots ‘o trouble. Link will sometimes freeze, requiring an unplug to reset. The rebooting, incompatibility, and freeing problems I’m having with the link I never had with streaming Steam on my laptop. Need to removing myself from the Steam Beta and see if that helps.

    VERDICT: Hoping Valve will be updating the Link soon and frequently. I was prepared for some initial bugs before the full retail launch, so at this point I’m not sweating the problems too much. If Valve can fix some Link problems over the next couple of weeks, the Controller and Link for $100 could be the PC’s answer to the console.

  46. ye-ole-PK says:

    To echo the others, the controller feels a tad cheap in build quality especially for something at 49.99 when you can get a razer pad or microsoft 360 for cheaper price.

    I have yet to get the link to stream a game without locking up or crashing. I am likely doing to send it back and request a refund, as it really isn’t delivering and only a fraction of my library supports the controller.

  47. Premium User Badge

    ErraticGamer says:

    I’m absolutely loving the Steam Link so far. It does need to be wired in rather than on wireless, but having done that and set the bandwidth to “unlimited” and the quality preference to “beautiful”, I’ve got clean, crisp image quality and no noticeable stutter or lag. It’s grand, and far better than streaming to my laptop ever was.

    The controller, I bounced off of a bit, but then I watched this video, which I challenge anyone to watch and not at least think “okay, this has potential”.

    • Gordon Shock says:

      Woah, didn’t know the SC could do that!

      Such outstanding flexibility and possibilities in a $50 package, can’t wait to get my hands on mine.

  48. Drekk says:

    I was a little disappointed with the controller at first when trying to play games that had standard gamepad support built into them, but once I tried it with my beloved Morrowind and the right configuration it was as if a light shined from the heavens while a choir of angels sang. Finally, a game controller that can work well with a game like this!

  49. Gordon Shock says:

    I can’t believe folks gave it a thumbs down because of the batteries, go buy two sets of rechargeables and be on your merry way.

    From the get go Valve has told us that the controller will be as open as it can get by allowing user configurations to be shareable, give it a month and all the nay sayers won’t be left with any argument against.

  50. Noirpunk says:

    I’m very skeptical about it. I don’t think that a touchpad solves the fundamental range of motion issue. When you move a mouse, you’re moving your whole hand, or even your whole arm, but with this thing it’s only your thumb. Your thumb just doesn’t have as wide of a range of motion, so even if the touchpad gives you a wider range than an analog stick, it’s still going to pale in comparison to a mouse.

    I think something with motion controls like the Wii or Razer Hydra, if sufficiently advanced, would be a better solution to the FPS-in-the-living-room problem. That would give you that wide range of motion that a thumb touchpad doesn’t.

    I also hate that they left out a real D-pad. I just don’t see another touchpad as any kind of substitute for that, even with the indented surface. I guess they wanted two touchpads to accommodate lefty mouse users (although I’m left-handed but use the mouse in my right hand).

    I’ll probably want to keep my gamepad for gamepad games, and my mouse and keyboard for m/k games. So what would I do with this? At the very least, I would need some sort of fallback use case (like a HTPC controller?) before I could justify taking a chance on it. I wish I could rent one.

    • SingularityParadigm says:

      The Steam Controller has a gyro sensor for motion controls.

      • Noirpunk says:

        Well, I was referring more to split-hand motion control, which allows you to freely move one or both arms around. They tried the gamepad motion control on the PS3 and it flopped (except for something like Flower which required it). Maybe Steam does it better; I don’t know.

        One thing I didn’t like about the Sixaxis was that the way you held the controller was interpreted as movement input. I mean, some people hold their controllers flat, while with others it will be at an angle, and the game will interpret those positions differently. I tend to hold the gamepad at an angle with the back pointing up some, and the game would see that as pointing upward. So I was forced to hold it flat to keep it in a neutral position. Maybe it would work better if we could set the neutral point and everything would be relative to that.