Valve shows the Steam Controller in action

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CNET Editor

Nic Healey can usually be found on a couch muttering about aspect ratios and 7.1 channel sound - which is helpful given that he's the home entertainment guy at CNET.

Valve's vision for the next step of PC gaming is to take it to the lounge room, taking the fight to gaming consoles on their own turf.

A still from the video showing the Steam Controller and Portal 2.
(Screenshot by Nic Healey/CNET Australia)

The company has a three-fold strategy for this: the SteamOS, the Steam Machine and the Steam Controller.

Arguably, the latter is the most important — PC gamers tend to prefer a mouse and keyboard combination. While that allows for impressive accuracy, especially when playing a first-person shooter (FPS), it's also pretty unfriendly for a lounge situation.

Nailing a controller interface that will adequately replace the traditional mouse/keyboard combo is obviously a key element to getting PC gamers on-board.

With its twin trackpads and touchscreen interface, the Steam Controller certainly seems to be on the money, but will it work that well in practice?

The video actually shows the prototype controller, without the centre touchscreen, that's being shipped to the 300 beta testers. While we assume the person using the controller has had some practice, the video shows the controller working across a variety of games, including Portal 2, Counter Strike, Civilisation V and even the indie-darling Papers Please.

While the jury may still be out until we get hands on with the controller ourselves, we'd have to say that we're feeling pretty optimistic about this particular element of the new Steam ecosystem.

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