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Steam Controller will release in October or November – report

Monday, 14th April 2014 09:34 GMT By Dave Owen

The long-awaited Steam Controller could be confusing your hands as soon as October or November, according to rumours emerging from this weekend’s PAX East. The controller’s release could also indicate that that Steam Machines will follow by the end of the year.

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The release window comes from a “trusted hardware source” speaking to PC Gamer. The controller uses haptic feedback to bring traditional PC control schemes into a living room environment. It’s been through several prototype iterations, but if this release window is true it must be nearing some kind of completion.

The source suggested that this means we could be seeing Steam Machines released shortly afterwards, perhaps in time for Christmas. The source also said that Steam expects “about 500″ games to be natively playable on SteamOS by the end of the year. That’s a significant increase from the current count of 382.

Hopefully we’ll have confirmation of release dates soon.

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3 Comments

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  1. Optimaximal

    “Of the 118 new games added, 95% will be courtesy of indie bundles released in the run-in towards Christmas”

    #1 3 months ago
  2. TheWulf

    @1

    Can you cite a source? I couldn’t find it in this article, the article linked to, or even via Google search (only your post is revealed). Which leads me to believe that you’re making things up because you have something against indie titles?

    Notwithstanding of course that a lot of ex-mainstream developers have been leaving big dev houses, getting away from the homogeneity of it all (and stating that as their reason), to chase their dream projects. Thus, of course, the vast majority of the genuinely new and interesting ideas have been originating from both indie devs and Kickstarter efforts.

    The mainstream’s been left to endless aesthetically dead action adventures which only ever change a few variables between them, but are otherwise almost identical to each other. Usually on-rails, linear, with lots of dramatic, po-faced set pieces that you have to take so, so very seriously because they’ve forgotten the value of a sense of humour. Soulless things. Hardly Little Big Planet, right?

    The kind of people who make stuff like Little Big Planet are almost exclusively a part of indie devs, these days. See: Kickstarter.

    So… a vast sea of sickeningly samey games with little to distinguish them, or a mad variety of games which are all very much different to each other in very important, imaginative, fun, and even humorous ways? Honestly, I’d choose the indie games. So even if the Steam Machines are largely indie machines, I’m completely okay with that.

    Man, I can’t remember the last time a mainstream game had a sense of humour. It’s so rare, now. We need a mainstream bingo card, or something.

    MAINSTREAM BINGO:

    * It’s linear/on-rails, with very little personal choice compared to older or indie games which are more than happy to let you find unintended solutions to problems (the mainstream would see that as a lack of polish). If you can even open the ‘wrong door,’ it’ll kill you for doing so, and no amount of skill will change that.

    * It has set pieces which take the controls away from the player to be overly dramatic, so that characters can monologue whilst screen candy is tossed merrily around as if it wasn’t out of style all ready (let alone going).

    * Swearing. Lots of swearing. And if a game is based upon a setting which had its own humorous made up words, remove them and replace them with swearing. Often fuck, overuse fuck.

    * Slaughter is the primary raison d’etre of the game. Sometimes even genocide. If you can even choose to not kill at some points, it’s thrown in as an afterthought and is usually broken, poorly executed, and/or annoyingly implemented just to make it painfully clear to you that you’re a bad person for trying to go against the tide.

    * It’s got terribad ‘take me seriously’ writing which harks back to the iron age of comics (which most people would rather forget). Usually featuring a bad arse caucasian character who believes that the sun won’t rise if they don’t push it up with their own hands. Often saving the world, and being gary stus about it, too.

    * Women must always be sexualised in some way or another. If there’s not a huge amount of exposed skin, then they have to be dressed in hooker clothes which make the intelligent gamer feel uncomfortable just looking at them. And the dichotomy of respectfully dressed men versus sluttily dressed women is always ever present, and frequently shoved down one’s throat.

    * Usually the bad guys are minority ethnicities or ugly creatures, versus the very Master Race portrayal of the fit and beautiful player character, which more often than not is caucasian. The Witcher 3 tried to subvert this by making Geralt old, homely, and haggard-looking. Players bitched that he wasn’t butch and male action hero-ish enough, so the designers were forced to make him more Aryan. People left CD Projekt RED over this.

    * Right-wing power fantasies! Guns! Swords! Shouting! Blood! And not really a realistic approach, either, but more of the kind that you can imagine that a nutjob has of how things should work. You know, with limbs exploding all over the place, or with blood pouring out in buckets as something is sliced open. Not to mentioned tormented screams of anguish. Torture porn? Of course not!

    * Corruption and dystopias are commonplace because gamers like being antiheroes. An antihero just being an asshole who sort of helps people sometimes when he’s feeling about it, but is more motivated by generic, one-dimensional evil whilst claiming to be a good guy. This is due to bad writing and the writers not understanding what makes for a rounded character. Being stereotypically evil and claiming to be good does not make you a rounded character, it makes you a psychopath. Though you can sell a psychopath as a good guy if they inhabit a world of people who’re even more psychopathic, that’s why it works for the mainstream who don’t stop to think about it.

    * Bouncing off the last point: Propaganda and constant upbeat reinforcement that you’re the good guys no matter what horrible acts you commit, thus desensitising people to atrocities by making them believe that if the good guys are committing the atrocities, then they’re no longer atrocities. Even Mass Effect is responsible for this with the Destroy ending — the game tells you that the Reapers were brainwashed slaves who never had the free will to choose, yet it gives you the option to commit genocide and kill their entire species anyway. (Which most people do, also committing genocide against the geth as a side bonus, because you can never slaughter enough!)

    * The main character is thick, really thick. So completely thick that they can’t even use English properly and they have to rely on swearing and slang to express themselves. We’re not exactly dealing with even pseudo-intellectual intelligencia here, either. No, sir. These people are as thick as shit, perhaps to suit an audience of thickos, who knows? Some claims will be made of intelligence, but these will quickly be forgotten. (Half-Life 2 made a quick jab at this by saying that Gordon’s MIT education certainly came in handy since he knows how to put a plug into a socket.)

    * The world is devoid of imagination and colour, mostly due to the developers not being worldly. If you look at most games, you can see the American inner-city influences within them. The constant greys and browns. I used to wonder about this, until an American friend pointed out that some of the cityscapes there are actually pretty bleak and colourless. Just giant grey squares. And this is then applied to sci-fi, fantasy, and areas of the world that aren’t America. Leading to the world through an American lens — probably due to not wanting to pay more for more worldly creative directors.

    * The main character never really has to be saved, they’re always the one doing the saving. Saving a damsel, saving a civilian, and never showing any signs of weakness or personal failure. This bolsters the Master Race notion that in the ‘true telling’ of a game (the one where you don’t die), you’re this flawless hero who never actually fails. Failure is not built into the story, it’s a story of plotshields and deus ex machina as the hero survives everything.

    * Rarely ever will intelligent subject matter be touched upon. This is because doing so would ‘break the flow,’ of instant gratification. Which is what this point is about — instant gratification. The player gets what they want, when they want it. The only reason to keep anything away from the player is to instil conditioning via reward schedules rather than to actually ever have the player feel helpless or hopeless. The flow of the power fantasy must be continuous, never stopping for thought, or need, or consideration.

    * There is no saying no. In these on-rails action adventures the player is taught to accept things without ever thinking about it. In a game, you can’t simply refuse to kill a target because you’re dubious about their guilt. Your only option is to turn off the game, and then bin the game because it is a bad game. Old JRPGs used to do this with the fake yes/no choices, this is just an evolution of that. Don’t think. Just do. Obey. Good robot.

    * Humour can never be present beyond some incredibly base toilet humour, homophobia, swearing, or that sort of thing. An intelligent joke is a sin. This is because the brow of the average mainstream gamer hangs so low that an intelligent joke may interrupt the flow enough to make them think, and then they may actually question more about the game. Instead, the illusion must never be broken. No even remotely intelligent humour.

    * The player character must always be a power fantasy zeitgeist, in that this is something that the audience fantasise over being, because that’s how fantasies go. All characters must obey this simple trope. You won’t get a hero running around in sandals, Groucho glasses, a tie-died puke shirt, and shorts revealing gangly, hairy legs. That’ll never happen. Gotta have the arse that is bad.

    * Too much invention is bad! Usually a new game is sold on a minor gimmick, even when an IP is reinvented. For example, Thief could just as easily be Uncharted except where you sometimes steal stuff, because the stealing is a gimmick. There should, however, only be one gimmick. If you do more than one gimmick then it’s too challenging for your audience, who’re too stupid to appreciate actual innovation, providing the sort of game that they wouldn’t have experienced elsewhere. (This is why a game like Antichamber couldn’t sell to the mainstream.)

    * The same locations you know and love! Forever and ever. A game will often mimic recently released games for its environments, creating a sense of cloying verisimilitude. Thief, for example, adopted the aesthetic of Dishonored rather than creating its own. These games all borrow from each other, and the setting is never anything truly off the wall. It’s all very earth, very common, and very easy for someone of a lesser intellect to understand. Very simple, and very plain. This is why an Oddworld game wouldn’t appeal to the mainstream. It’s not ‘urflike enuff.’

    * You can have other ethnicities but exploring other cultures is bad, because non-caucasians are terrorists (naturally). You can stomp over other cultures and destroy them! But, say, being a Mexican who’s out to fight the evils of American capitalist culture? Hahahaha. No. That’s never going to happen. Instead, it’s going to be the great caucasian hero striking down the evil Mexican terrorist. Naturally. Racism and xenophobia are a-okay!

    * Once bad, always bad. This one is so true that when Mass Effect revealed the true nature of the Reapers, the mainstream couldn’t wrap their minds around it. You see, once you have a bad guy, the bad guy has to remain a bad guy. They can’t be of nebulous ethics where you can sort of understand where they’re coming from, they have to be bigger and more evil psychopaths whose only role in the story is to die at the hands of the player. No face-heel turns, ever. No realisations. No new moralities. Just die, bad man/woman. Just die.

    * Side characters exist to be used and thrown aside by the main character, they’re not there for character development, they’re there for the empowerment of the player character. If they ever turn out to be evil, they become irredeemably so in a way that cannot be related to because they turned upon the player, whom is always seen as the godhand within a game. To betray the player is to betray life, to betray All That We Believe In. (The first Assassin’s Creed is the most notable example of this, but there are so many others.)

    * Ruined environments are common. You can’t have your player character feel bad about coming into an environment and causing destruction, up-ending the lives of families, and all of the other things that commonly happen in a war zone. Oh no, that’s all happened all ready. This war’s been fought. You’re just… there to… fight it again. What? We don’t know why. Because shut up. This city’s been pre-destroyed. Stop questioning it. Just shoot people!

    I could go on, but at this point I feel a little ill because I know full well just how true this is. Sure, not all of these apply to all mainstream games, but most of them will apply to most of them, and that’s the part that really squicks me. I mean, just sitting here and thinking about it, I remember the Skyrim trailer which showed an armoured man beating a squealing animal to death until it cried its last, and… that was epic fun, was it? Yeah. Not for me.

    Not for me. Never for me.

    So I’m happy for the indies, for the small dev houses, for those that live on the fringe and provide genuinely unique things. I’m glad they exist. They provide me with the kinds of games I’d want to play. And honestly, I’d rather play even a classic point & click adventure like a Blackwell game, where you actually help people rather than… yeah.

    Maybe I’m a not-depraved person in a world of depraved people. Who knows. I don’t. I just know what I like and what I don’t. And I’m not a fan of suffering.

    So, yeah, good for the indies, I say.

    #2 3 months ago
  3. Butcher8

    @TheWulf Blog it.

    #3 3 months ago