Dell Working on Game Controllers: Although the Steam Deck has been a boon for Valve’s hardware ambitions, the Newell family has long harbored a desire to control your television set as well.
Since cloud gaming has become the norm, other companies are stepping in to carry on Valve’s dreams, despite the failure of the Steam Machine, the physical Steam Link, and the Steam Controller.
At last year’s CES, Dell unveiled the Concept Nyx, a prototype home gaming server that acts like a private GeForce Now to transmit games throughout your house via a network.
Though Dell did not make Concept Nyx commercially available last year and the server’s inner workings haven’t changed much since then, the company did give us a sneak peek at a new controller it is testing (which is also not for sale) this year.
Even now, it seems like it has the potential to become one of the most feature-rich and hassle-free methods of operating a computer from the convenience of a couch.
Dell’s new concept controller takes cues from the success of the Steam Controller, which featured two haptic touchpads. It uses the standard four-button, two-stick configuration, and it even has the same rear paddles found on high-end controllers like the Dualsense Edge.
However, the directional pad has been swapped out for a single haptic touchpad that is said to have extensive functionality. You can think of it as a radial menu. The touchpad can be used to access a customizable shortcut menu of up to eight PC settings with the press of a button.
The idea is to let you configure in software which PC settings the radial menu will access. Although Sony’s controllers feature touchpads, the Concept Nyx’s two scroll wheels, located directly beneath the analog sticks, provide the same functionality as a mouse’s scroll wheel.
In addition, Dell is considering incorporating a fingerprint sensor to speed up logins, and the controller’s back paddles can be used as shift buttons to temporarily switch to new mapping schemes.
The controller’s shoulder buttons are its crowning achievement; they provide haptic touch feedback and can be used in a manner analogous to a scroll wheel. You can easily erase them by running your finger across them.
Additional complex features, such as adjusting the thumb stick’s resistance to your personal preference, are still in the works. Unfortunately, I was unable to test the controller’s adaptive triggers, which are designed to provide varying degrees of force depending on the game’s context.
This week I’m working on reviews for
– Hitman III
– ROCCAT Leadr
– Dell Curved QHD HDR Monitor
– PDP LVL50 Headset
– PDP Wired Controller for Xbox Series X
– Arcade 1UP Marvel Vs Capcom
– Override 2
I’ve got more than this as more products & games are rapidly incoming. pic.twitter.com/KGpSfIHRGg
— Mekel Kasanova (@MekelKasanova) January 25, 2021
However, I was unable to verify the controller’s claim that it can identify its owner and immediately return them to its last saved game (possibly using a fingerprint reader). The ideation here is promising, especially for those who prefer to play games like MMOs with a controller or who find it difficult to use a wireless keyboard and mouse on a television-based personal computer.
Personally, I fit into both categories. Despite being impressed by the Concept Nyx controller’s sturdy construction, I was only able to hold it at a demo event hosted by Dell and did not actually use it to play any games.
Additionally, when I tried out the haptics, scroll wheels, and scrolling shoulder buttons, I found that they all functioned as advertised, with the addition of a distinct virtual notch each time I brushed my hand across the shoulder button.
Now let’s see if this controller ever goes on sale. Concept UFO is evidence that many of Dell’s ideas never make it past the brainstorming stage. However, the challenge has been issued to those who believed the current controller design was optimal.
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