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Steam Deck could finally make gyro aiming a thing of the masses

The aim of the game

Though Valve’s Steam Deck is emblazoned with every control you’ve ever seen (buttons, d-pads, joysticks, trackpads, back-buttons, and touchscreen) there’s one you can’t see: gyro. The John Cena of controls allows the Deck to move your viewpoint in game by physically moving the machine around. Valve showed off how it works a little, and it looks very precise.

Via IGN, Valve’s Scott Dalton shows how the Deck’s ability to track the console's physical position means he can swish the screen with ease. Left 4 Dead looks particularly good like this, tracking the movement and tilt of the Steam Deck precisely. Dalton himself uses it while playing Witcher 3, to look around while travelling in-game.

I think tying gyro to a device with a screen might be the best way to get people to accept it more on the PC. When you’re using an gyro-enabled controller, like the Playstation’s DualShock devices or the Steam controller, there's always a disconnect. You have to think about where your body position is in a way you don't have to with a mouse or a normal thumbstick.

I did manage to use gyro aiming successfully this year, but it took a whole new type of control method to get into it: Flick Stick. How Flick Stick works is the joystick only moves your character on the horizontal axis, but tweaked to quickly snap in that direction, rather than turning. Aiming exclusively uses gyro. I tried it in Doom Eternal with my Steam controller (for no other reason than I wanted to see if gyros were viable yet), and though it's very much an acquired taste, it definitely gave me more control over the usual joypad settings when I settled into it. I’m not sure I’d appreciate someone doing it on the train beside me, though. I value my elbow space.

A random thought hit me as I was finishing this piece up: the Deck, with its screen, touchpads, and gyro controls, is the basically Steam Controller 2, and I am here for that.

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About the Author
Craig Pearson avatar

Craig Pearson


I love square sausage, cats, and climbing pretend rocks.

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