Death of the analog stick


Valve’s Steam controller has received a lot of criticism for its omission of analog sticks.

But I believe this is just the natural evolution of game controller design, the same way that laptop trackpads eventually replaced this thing:


That little blue “nub” between the “G,” “H” and “B” keys may look familiar to some of you who used or saw laptops back in the 90s. It’s called a “pointing stick” and in essence it acts as a tiny little point you can use to move your cursor around the screen without letting your fingers stray too far from the keyboard for typing.

Unfortunately, pointing sticks can be a little impractical to use for your average consumer and as touch-sensitive technology improved over the years, trackpads came to completely replace these little colored bumps in the middle of our keyboards. You will be hard-pressed to find a keyboard today that still incorporates this design and I think the reason for that is very simple: for the vast majority of users and purposes, a trackpad or mouse are much better input methods.

In the same way, I think we in the gaming community have to recognize that analog sticks are an old technology we no longer need. Trackpads are the future, and Valve has done exactly what Microsoft and Sony largely failed to do at E3 this year: provide consumers with some REAL controller innovation.


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