Gabe Newell is a hard guy to nail down for an interview, so when the Nerdist Podcast managed to snag an hour of his time, they had our complete attention. Sadly Half Life 3 wasn’t on the agenda, but several questions with regards to the company’s upcoming steam box were answered, including what they have in mind as an input device.
Unless you're talking tumors or processors, the general consensus seems to be that "Bigger is better," and the Guinness Book of World Records built itself into a household name on the back of the axiom. The publication definitely stuck with its bread and butter for the release party of the Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition 2012. Most launch events are actually kind of boring, consisting of ceremonial ribbon cutting and some hors d'oeuvres if you're lucky -- but Guinness brought the big guns in the form of the world's largest controller, a massive NES gamepad.
The age-old war of mouse-and-keyboard versus gamepad has claimed yet another casualty. According to Voodoo PC founder Rahul Sood, Microsoft was attempting to bridge the gap between Xbox 360 and PC “many, many months ago” with a larger initiative that would have allowed gamers on both sides of the great divide to bond in the best way possible: by blowing each other into bloody chunks in games like Unreal and Gears of War. So basically, think the now long-deceased Shadowrun revival, but, you know, with matches that actually have other people in them.
So, what happened? This:
“I've heard from reliable sources that during the development they brought together the best console gamers to play mediocre PC gamers at the same game... and guess what happened? They pitted console gamers with their 'console' controller, against PC gamers with their keyboard and mouse,” Sood wrote on his blog.
“The console players got destroyed every time. So much so that it would be embarrassing to the XBOX team in general had Microsoft launched this initiative.”
Sood's not entirely sure if that's the sole reason Microsoft decided to burn its bridge, but it's his best guess. He also speculates that triple-A PC game development could've gotten a new lease on life had the initiative not bitten the big one.
Granted, perhaps tossing all its easily shattered eggs into a first-person shooter-centric basket wasn't such a great idea on Microsoft's part. After all, that's kind of mouse-and-keyboard's bread-and-butter. Even then, though, there's a simple solution: mouse-and-keyboard support for the Xbox 360. That definitely would've evened the playing field. Or how about specific servers/playlists for people with mouse-and-keyboard and those without?
Regardless, we're guessing other complications were the nail in this initiative's coffin, or Microsoft pulled the plug because the idea clashed too much with its current business model. Either way, it's a damn shame.
In a lot of PC publications, it’s the CPUs, video cards and other internal hardware that gets all the attention, with input devices relegated to a few pages here or there in the reviews section. But why should that be the case? Input devices are, after all, your point of connection to your machine. As keyboards, mice and game controllers have evolved over the years, so has the way we control and interact with our computers. That’s why we’ve chosen to give them the respect they deserve—by compiling a list of 50 of the most important, memorable, or just downright wacky input devices from the past, present and future of computing.
We’ve arranged our retrospective into logical sections: mice, keyboards, game controllers, and miscellaneous peripherals. Within each section, we’ve arranged the input devices chronologically, so read through from the beginning to get a sense for each devices history, where it’s at today, and where it’s going in the future.