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I'm not entirely sold on the Steam Controller yet

Oct 16 // Chris Carter
I've only tested it out for a full day, but right now I'm not sure if I'll be using the Steam Controller full-time for my PC needs. For one, it feels a bit cheap for a $50 device, and I felt like I was going to snap the battery cover in half after opening it first thing. That's partially because the back of the controller houses two paddles, which are mapped to left and right clicks by default. And that's actually the best part of the Steam Controller. For the first time, it really feels like a PC-centric control method. Buttons are literally mapped to PC keys (start is enter for instance), and the right pad (which features haptic feedback) is a fully-featured mouse. When navigating through the various UIs of my PC and Steam, I had no issues whatsoever. This is also a godsend for splash screens, which do not work with a traditional gamepad like an Xbox controller and require the user to manually go back to their PC and start the game. But games are the largest aspect that I encountered troubles with, which is clearly an issue. Right now, Steam Controller support is in its infancy, and it's definitely not as easy as plugging and playing, that's for sure. Valve has enabled a new section in its client to account for the "best controller configurations," but since the thing isn't hitting its wide release until November, the options are scant. Instead, a handful of games require individual tinkering before they work -- the plus side is that the entire configuration is customizable, if you feel like doing it. Once everything was set up, my results have been mixed. For FPS games, after some tinkering, I have gotten used to aiming with the track pad. This is mostly due to the fact that you can modify the sensitivity and dead zone of the pad itself to suit your needs. It's not as ideal as a keyboard and mouse (so far, at least), but it's definitely better than a traditional gamepad and works great on the couch. [embed]315891:60757:0[/embed] As for strategy games, I would not recommend playing RTS or heavily twitch-based titles. For lower-key city-building games though it works quite well with the more relaxed pace. This goes double for point-and-click adventure games -- I was happy with the results. And this really is the high point of the Steam Controller. If you do enough tinkering, it works with just about everything. Well, mostly everything, until its design holds it back. I also tried out a number of different platformers, both new and old school, and the d-pad is horrendous. It's stiff, and arguably worse than the Xbox 360's d-pad, partially because it wouldn't register my inputs at times. I could not, for the life of me, get used to playing Sayonara UmiharaKawase on it (yes it's on Steam!), for instance. A fair number of platformers also don't support the sole left analog stick by default, so you're going to have to enable that manually. Because of the d-pad design, I would personally rule fighters right out. I need some more time to test it out for a full report (new control methods often take time to learn), but I'm not sure if the Steam Controller is a complete success. While I'm considering buying another Steam Link for another room in my house, I think I'm set for now with one controller. [This impressions piece is based on a retail build of the unit purchased by the writer.]
Steam Controller photo
First impressions
Right now, I'm happy with my $50 Steam Link streaming box. It works exactly as it should, and the quality is impeccable. It helps that the thing is first-party after all and is designed to work with Steam. The controller, on the other hand, is taking a little while to acclimate to.

Nintendo NX photo
Nintendo NX

Nintendo reportedly shipping NX dev kits

It's likely a console/mobile hybrid
Oct 16
// Jordan Devore
Nintendo has started sending software development kits for its next video game platform, NX, according to The Wall Street Journal. Sources tell the outlet that the system will "likely include both a console and at least one m...

Hands-on with Valve's fantastic Steam Link streaming box

Oct 16 // Chris Carter
The unit itself is small and light, which means that it won't be an eyesore in any location you decide to place it in. There's two USB slots on the back, one on the side (just like the Xbox One), an Ethernet slot, and an HDMI out. It comes with a power cable, three power converters for worldwide regions, and an HDMI cable. The Steam Link was incredibly easy to set up, and took me about five minutes from opening the box to access my account. Basically all you do is power it up, hook up an HDMI cable, and either use a keyboard and mouse or Steam Controller to access the UI. From there you'll either run off of your wired connection or enter your Wi-Fi password, download a few updates, and that's it. Of course this isn't a proper Steam Machine, so you'll need to be running Steam off of your core PC to stream it to the box (you can also add multiple PCs if you wish). The system uses a modified version of the Big Picture UI, which works quite well. Recent, installed, and favorite games are located on the side, along with your total game catalog, videos, music, and current downloads. You can also easily search your library or activate a product directly from the Link. Users can also readily view which games are installed (indicated by a green checkmark), so you don't have to individually check everything. Just like Big Picture proper, if you want to install something, you can do so from the Link. Also, the web and chat functionality is greatly improved thanks to the Steam Controller's added input methods if you don't have a keyboard handy. The only issue I've had so far is that the Link will sometimes have problems with the resolution, bumping it up to a ridiculously high level after my host PC pushes an update. To fix it, I just have to move the mouse a bit on my host. For now it's not that big of a deal since I have it in the living room right next to the Link, but I'm eventually planning on moving it into the basement, so I'll have to tinker a bit to see what's causing this (I would suspect my multi-monitor setup might have something to do with it). Other than that, it's been painless, and the stream quality is superb. Through a 50 Mbps connection I'm not getting any input lag. As a note, you'll want to opt into the Steam client beta (system settings panel, big picture UI) to gain access to all of the updates prior to the official November launch. Also, there is already a firmware update for the Steam Controller itself as of today -- you'll have to connect it directly to the host PC to get it, as the Steam Link cannot actually push firmware. You can, however, remotely turn off Steam Link, which reverts your host PC back to the standard Steam UI, and automatically shuts down your Link and Steam Controller. I'll be touching on the Steam Controller once I'd had more time with it, but I like how it interfaces directly with your OS. In other words, start is mapped to enter, and the right pad functions as a mouse. As for the pad itself, I'm really not digging the d-pad, especially for platformers, but I like that it's a multi-purpose unit that doesn't just cater to one genre. Valve also offers configuration options through Steam for titles that don't normally support controllers, though they obviously can't alter the hard-coded keyboard-specific tutorials. If you'd rather go the old-school route, Xbox controllers work as well (wired is best, but the current 360 wireless dongle works too). So far my Steam in-home experience has been rather smooth, which is good news since it's still technically in beta. I still need to put the Steam Controller through the paces, but I can recommend the $50 Link at this point. [This impressions piece is based on a retail build of the unit purchased by the writer.]
Steam Link photo
I'm surprised how painless it is
Although the Steam Controller and Steam Link aren't going to be available in wide release form until November 10, anyone who pre-ordered directly through Valve (myself included) is set to get them today. I immediately unpacked my shipment this morning and put them through the paces, and I'm pleasantly surprised with how the Link turned out.

Nvidia photo

New Nvidia Game Ready drivers will require an Nvidia account

They'll also require GeForce Experience
Oct 16
// Joe Parlock
Here’s a quick rundown of how development on big PC games often works. When a developer is working on a AAA game, a team or a person from graphics card producers Nvidia or AMD will often be embedded into the studio to h...
Amazon Fire TV photo
Amazon Fire TV

Meet the new Amazon Fire TV, same as the old Fire TV

But still worth picking up
Oct 13
// Chris Carter
Readers have become skeptical over the years regarding the blogosphere's opinions on Amazon, mostly due to partnership links and the like. I can't speak to anyone else, but my affinity for Amazon pre-dates my game writing car...
PS4 media remote photo
PS4 media remote

I could use a remote for PlayStation 4

Releasing this month for $29.99
Oct 08
// Jordan Devore
I've long since learned that as soon as I skip past all of the previews and everything else that gets in the way of watching a movie, it's time to turn off the DualShock 4. If I don't, someone or something will invariably tou...
Rock Bugs 4 photo
Rock Bugs 4

Are you having issues with Rock Band 4? You're not alone

Issues and some fixes here!
Oct 07
// Jed Whitaker
[Update: A Harmonix spokesperson reach out to us to issue the following statement:  “The Rock Band experience is as important to Harmonix as it is to our players. We are passionate about Rock Band, and we'll suppor...
Your favorite stores? photo
Your favorite stores?

Steam Controllers and Machines only available at select retailers this year

GameStop, EB Games, and Game UK
Oct 06
// Jed Whitaker
In a strange twist, it has been announced that Valve has partnered with GameStop in the USA, Game UK, and EB Games in Canada to be the exclusive non-digital retailers for Steam Controllers and Steam Machines through the holid...
HoloLens photo

HoloLens dev kits are $3,000 (apply now!)

Shipping Q1 2016
Oct 06
// Jordan Devore
I remember hearing chatter that Microsoft's augmented-reality headset, HoloLens, would cost significantly more than an Xbox One. While we probably won't know the exact price tag for quite a while, the company has begun taking...
3DS cover plates photo
3DS cover plates

Nintendo has more New 3DS cover plates

Better late than never in North America
Sep 25
// Jordan Devore
If you've been thinking about upgrading to New 3DS but don't want the XL model, today is the day. The standard New 3DS is out now in North America along with some swappable cover plates. For the time being, the only way to ge...
Amazon Fire TV photo
Amazon Fire TV

Amazon Fire TV Gaming Edition comes with Shovel Knight

And a proper gamepad
Sep 17
// Jordan Devore
There's a new game-centric Fire TV bundle on the way and it sports a familiar controller. The Amazon Fire TV Gaming Edition packs in Shovel Knight, DuckTales: Remastered, a 32GB microSD card, and a wireless gamepad for $139.9...
Xbox cloud storage photo
Xbox cloud storage

Xbox 360 cloud storage bumped up to 2GB

Good news for backward compatibility
Sep 17
// Jordan Devore
Microsoft pushed out an update on Xbox 360 today that extends the console's cloud storage -- you'll now have 2GB of space for your precious save files. That's not all: Accept Terms of Use – You can now connect your Xbo...
Huge, bulky, cool photo
Huge, bulky, cool

ASUS' liquid-cooled laptop has a huge badonkadonk

Dat ass *bites lip*
Sep 02
// Jed Whitaker
ASUS announced what very well may be the world's first liquid-cooled laptop, the GX700, and it has some junk in its trunk. Currently not much is known about the laptop, as ASUS has only shown pictures of it and not released a...
Blue PS Vita photo
Blue PS Vita

The US is getting a blue PlayStation Vita

Only at GameStop
Sep 01
// Jordan Devore
After following a link to this aqua blue PlayStation Vita, I had to double check the time stamp -- what year is it? Oh, 2015. It is new. I'm as surprised as you are to see Sony acknowledge the handheld. It's a GameStop exclusive in the United States releasing this November. It'll be $199.99.
New 3DS photo
New 3DS

New 3DS headed to North America in September

Bundled with Animal Crossing stuff
Aug 31
// Jordan Devore
It's been an unnecessarily long wait, but Nintendo is bringing the New 3DS to North America. The handheld with swappable cover plates launches September 25, 2015 in a bundle. For $219.99, the package includes a white New 3DS, Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer, two cover plates, and a lone amiibo card. You'll have to continue waiting if you don't want those mandatory pack-ins.
Vive photo

Expect a 'limited quantity' of Valve's VR headset Vive

Most of us will have to wait until Q1 2016
Aug 28
// Vikki Blake
Valve's virtual reality headset, Vive, will only be available in a "limited quantity" when it launches later this year. "Larger quantities" will be available from Q1 2016.  "Vive developer kits have been available f...
Racing photo

Can video games make you a better driver?

It works for F1 drivers
Aug 27
// Vikki Blake
F1 driver Max Verstappen has been honing his driving skills by way of racing sims. By using simulators like Assetto Corsa, iRacing and rFactor 2, Verstappen's been able to familiarise himself with the F1 c...
Nintendo photo

Is global voice chat finally coming to Nintendo consoles?

Patent hints at new external device
Aug 27
// Vikki Blake
Nintendo may finally be introducing voice chat to its hardware. Though it's unclear if this relates to current or upcoming systems, Nintendo has filed a patent for an external device designed to enable in-game voice chat. 
Intel unboxing photo
Intel unboxing

Watch me unbox (and break) the Intel Box Master System

Including an i7-6700K and 750 series SSD
Aug 21
// Jed Whitaker
Intel decided to send us two giant boxes full of things, including its hot new 8-bit Intel Box Master System featuring wood side paneling to unbox on video. I couldn't possibly do a straight unboxing video -- that isn't my s...
iOS controllers photo
iOS controllers

The Gamevice is the best controller I've used for iOS devices to date

Only for iPad mini though
Aug 18
// Chris Carter
MFi (made-for-iOS) controllers have been around for almost two years now, and slowly but surely, they've risen above their once niche appeal. Previously they were only available for a few devices, and could run upwards of $10...
Logitech G29 photo
Logitech G29

Logitech's G29 Driving Force PS4 wheel is expensive, but functional

Just be aware of the lack of PS4 racers
Aug 06
// Chris Carter
I've only had one racing wheel in my life outside of the one Logitech just sent me for testing. It was really cumbersome unit for the original PlayStation, and as a kid, it was tough to find room for it long term. By the time I left for college, it was lost to the void. During the past week or so I've been re-introduced to wheel life, and my god, the tech has come a long way.
Xbox Elite App photo
Xbox Elite App

The Xbox Elite controller's app lets you customize everything

But when will we get sexy colors?
Aug 06
// Jed Whitaker
At around 38:33 in the video above, we get our first in-depth look at the Xbox Elite's controller app, and it looks awesome. The app allows you to configure your controller in basically every way imaginable from stick sensit...
Xbox One photo
Xbox One

Seagate's 2TB external Xbox One drive works like a charm

It's also not outrageously priced
Aug 06
// Chris Carter
Yesterday, Microsoft announced its first official HDD for the Xbox One in the form of a Seagate 2TB external. Although most units around that storage capacity are priced at $80 or so, the $110 pricepoint isn't too bad, especi...
Xbox One HDD photo
Xbox One HDD

Microsoft announces first official 2TB external HDD

From Seagate
Aug 05
// Chris Carter
The Xbox One's onboard 500GB limit is woeful. After Wolfenstein hit, games reached the critcal mass of 40GB for the average AAA title, which cleaned out my space in seconds. Publishers are now expanding upon their planne...
Xbox One chatpad photo
Xbox One chatpad

Lovely Xbox One controller gets an ugly chatpad

Function, not form
Aug 04
// Steven Hansen
I mean, hey, it works. Anyone type enough on the Xbox One that they're picking this bad boy up when it launches in November?
Shield recall photo
Shield recall

Nvidia Shield recalled over fire hazard

That thing'll kill ya!
Jul 31
// Steven Hansen
Have you had more money than sense over the last year (July 2014-July 2015) and bought an Nvidia Shield gaming tablet? Well, it could literally kill you. Nvidia is urging users to check which battery their Shield uses to see ...
Sony photo

Sony sold more PS4s than Xbox One and 360 combined last quarter

That's 25 million PS4s sold since launch
Jul 30
// Vikki Blake
Sony sold 3 million PlayStation 4 consoles between April and June 2015, with more than 25 million PS4 sales since the console launched in November 2012.  According to the latest Sony financial report, that's up from 2.7m...
PS4 PC-style controller photo
PS4 PC-style controller

PlayStation 4 is getting a keyboard/mouse controller

Courtesy of Hori
Jul 27
// Jordan Devore
With a name like Tactical Assault Commander 4, you know shit's about to get real. Hori is creating another PC-style wired controller for consoles following its hybrid keyboard/mouse controller for PlayStation 3. This new one,...
Red PS4 photo
Red PS4

Blood red Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain PS4 up for pre-order

Exclusively through GAME in Britain
Jul 23
// Steven Hansen
That Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain special edition with the robot hand and the limited run blood red PlayStation 4 are up for pre-order through GAME, bundled any which way you want it. Unless you want it for North Amer...
Pro Evolution Soccer photo
Pro Evolution Soccer

PES 2016 will run at 1080p on Xbox One

PES 2015 was 720p
Jul 23
// Vikki Blake
Konami has confirmed that Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 will run at 1080p on Xbox One. Despite its predecessor PES 2015 running at 1080p on PlayStation 4 last year, its Xbox One sibling could only muster 720p.  Now, it ...

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