Going through the Motions: DOTA 2 and the Steam Controller

SteamController
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by
on January 12, 2014
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On the first day Valve had a great idea, ‘let’s make a gaming platform called Steam, on which users can purchase games and play them with their friends.’ Steam was born, and it was good.

On the second day, Valve created SteamOS, a Linux-based operating system that emphasised gaming over pretty much everything else. SteamOS was born, and the folks at Valve thought it was pretty awesome, so things were good.

On the third day came the Steam Machine (or Steam Box); built to compete with Microsoft and Sony’s consoles, the machine will run on the SteamOS – allowing the user to play many of the games featured in Steam’s extensive catalog. The machines are not available yet, but I’m pretty sure Valve’s happy with it, and I can imagine them being quite good.

Then, on the fifth day Valve made a controller for their darling new console, and it looked a little odd with it’s concave trackpads and little square touchscreen, but it looked like a controller, so we we were happy and all was good.

Then, on the 8th of January, in an interview with Polygon, Jeff Bellinghausen hinted that Valve’s multiplayer online battle game DOTA 2 will be playable from the coach, through the new boggle-eyed controller:

“[It] would also be really exciting. To be able to play DOTA from the couch is a really neat opportunity [...] it’s also something that’s pushing the performance and resolution of the trackpad.”

Great, except DOTA 2 is one of those complicated mouse and keyboard games which require lightning fast reflexes and twenty fingers if you want to play it at a competitive level. Bellinghausen has it covered; “you’re not going to take [pro player Danylo 'Dendi' Ishutin] and have him play at his level with the controller [...] certainly something like DOTA has a sophistication to it that it going to be challenging. We’re thinking we’ll get 90 percent of the way there.”

Hmmm, I’m not sure what to think of that. As an occasional DOTA player and heavy Starcraft II user I can’t imagine myself wanting to shift from the keyboard and mouse experience to an inferior one on the controller… Bellinghausen? “Team Fortress 2 players who are really happy with their mouse and keyboard, we’re in no way saying that’s changing or going away, what we’re trying to do is find a way to get close to that performance, but kick back on your couch.”

Fantastic, so Danylo ‘Dendi’ Ishutin if you’re listening, you’re safe, and I’m sure you’ll find playing DOTA with the new controller very satisfying. Things will be good.