Steam Controller – The Experiment

It’s been a while since I was excited about a new controller, but the Steam Controller certainly generated something close to that original excitement. Probably more because it was different. A merging of trackpad and game controller, never done before and why not?

Steam Controller

Steam Controller

My initial attempt at using it was somewhat disheartening as it does have a steep learning curve. Yes, a lot of the reviews I read before hand warned of this, but my typical personality refuted this challenge. I was wrong and more importantly, disappointed in myself as I gave the controller about 3 weeks frustrated usage before tucking it away to be never used again. I found it so difficult to transition from keyboard & mouse and more so from my Xbox controller!

I’ve since returned to it, but with purpose and with more knowledge after finding the Steam controller Reddit page and reviewing lots of community profiles through steam. It’s been an excellent source of research and configuration information. I’ve summarised my main take aways from these sources below;


Having started out with lower than default settings, I found this was great for pixel perfect movement, but it’s impractical when in an FPS game as you need to move and reposition your thumb many times to look around. Turns out that things are easier if it’s way up high, you just need to adjust to playing by making smaller movements. This is one of he key changes to make that gave me such high reward. It’s also much easier than repeated thumb movements and will easily prevent injury!


This is pretty key as your right thumb (assuming you’re not a lefty) doesn’t move entirely horizontal across the pad. It does need adjusting to fit your own hand dimension and ultimately, your own angle of movement.

Vertical Sensitivity

As the title says, this determines how much the controller moves vertically against the input you provide. I’ve yet to play something that requires me to have the sensitivity turned up above default. My most comfortable setting appears to be a few notches down from the initial setting.