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Valve is confident Steam Deck won't have stick drift issues

The team has worked to ensure the Steam Deck has quality parts and that they're tested under various conditions.


Stick drift on thumbsticks is a problem that has plagued the industry in recent years. With Valve about to step into the handheld market with its Steam Deck, a device that has thumbsticks, users are no doubt curious what the company has done to ensure stick drift isn’t going to be an issue. As it turns out, the problem of stick drift – and the quality of the parts overall – has been on Valve’s mind throughout the process and it’s confident the Steam Deck won’t have stick drift woes.

steam deck stick drift

In an interview with IGN, hardware engineer, Yazan Aldehayyat, and Steam Deck designer, John Ikeda, shed some light on stick drift and the decision-making process for the parts based on those technical problems.

According to Aldehayyat, the team has done a significant amount of testing on reliability, with different inputs and environments. However, no amount of testing in a laboratory will be able to account for every situation in the real-world. Aldehayyat continues, “Obviously every part will fail at some point, but we think people will be very satisfied and happy with [the Steam Deck].”

It seems as if the engineers have worked hard to ensure quality parts make it into the final build. Ikeda touches on this, “We purposely picked something that we knew the performance of, right? We didn't want to take a risk on that, right? As I'm sure our customers don't want us to take a risk on that either."

At the end of the day, technology will no doubt wear down and break, but it’s good to know that Valve is working to avoid stick drift issues with its Steam Deck. It certainly wouldn’t want to find itself in the situation Nintendo faces with class action lawsuits over Joy-Con drifting. Be sure to keep it locked to Shacknews for the latest on the Steam Deck, which you can pre-order now.

Guides Editor

Hailing from the land down under, Sam Chandler brings a bit of the southern hemisphere flair to his work. After bouncing round a few universities, securing a bachelor degree, and entering the video game industry, he's found his new family here at Shacknews as a Guides Editor. There's nothing he loves more than crafting a guide that will help someone. If you need help with a guide, or notice something not quite right, you can Tweet him: @SamuelChandler 

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    July 19, 2021 6:15 PM

    Sam Chandler posted a new article, Valve is confident Steam Deck won't have stick drift issues

    • reply
      July 19, 2021 8:07 PM

      I'm super excited about this. Can't help it.

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        July 20, 2021 4:05 AM

        Same, I don't need it at all, but when it comes to anything gaming especially new portables I just can't resist

        I love playing around with this stuff so much

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      July 20, 2021 3:16 AM

      Please correct me. Part of why the Switch is a success is Nintendo publish 1st party games designed to work on the Switch with all the tricks and compromises to produce the best fidelity and frame rates.

      The Steamdeck is just gong to run native PC games to a lower resolution, so you're going to have to play around the graphics settings extensively to tune graphic settings to get best results on a small screen. And it won't be just resolution but tuning things like filtering, shadow detail and it will rely on drivers being continually supported for a linux OS?

      I dunno it seems a bit of a nightmare to me and makes me think it might've been better for Sony or Xbox to produce a handhold.

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        July 20, 2021 3:58 AM

        It's a custom APU they ordered from AMD - the driver support would be included and they've confirmed they've worked with them closely on that to do things you just can't do on Windows right now, like suspend/resume for games.

        I also suspect you'll see pre-set configurations for many games as they have a fixed hardware config and they reiterated over and over how important the "pick up and play" console like experience is for them.

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          July 20, 2021 4:09 AM

          Didn't valve basically leave it to the community to develop profiles for the steam controller?

          I hope their support for Deck is really good but their track record ain't too great in this regard

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            July 20, 2021 4:33 AM

            Not exactly managed to get much support for there VR or do much with it except make Half Life Alyx.

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              July 20, 2021 4:51 AM

              That's...a really bad take, frankly.

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                July 20, 2021 5:21 AM

                Not when you compare it to how Sony or MS get third parties to support their consoles. Has been very few big third party VR games. And yet we're expecting third parties to relying third parties to almost exclusively be the ones that are supporting the Steamdeck.

                Don't get me wrong it's still an interesting niche product if you're just playing native PC games on it, I just don't think people realize how it's going to be a hassle configuring games on it if it's not supported correctly.

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              July 20, 2021 5:18 AM

              Wait, what, without Steam VR and everything they've done for it I'm not even sure where we'd be, relying solely on Oculus or the WMR home thingy? That would be the worst.

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                July 20, 2021 5:35 AM

                They've released a good product and not tied it behind a walled garden which is amazing. But they haven't thrown their money behind it to third parties. Why don't Valve do things like giving discounts to developer store costs if you release a VR version of your game, or a steamdeck version.

                They take big cuts from the PC similar to how Sony and MS do on their products but they seem slow to throw that money back in the same way Sony or MS do.

                • reply
                  July 20, 2021 5:39 AM

                  I can't disagree with that last statement more. Steam provides a huge amount of resources for that cost.

                  There's room to argue about how big their cut could be, but it's not just disappearing into the void.

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            July 20, 2021 4:50 AM

            They did, sure. I wouldn't say that isn't a good track record, though.

            That was a solid way to handle the Steam Controller - there's so much individual variation in how people are going to want that sort of thing to work.

            They've also done a huge amount with SteamVR that I don't think you're giving them a ton of credit for. It's probably the VR platform with the best overall support for various hardware from different vendors that all pretty much works like native.

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              July 20, 2021 4:55 AM

              So solid the whole thing flopped becasue a lot of people dodnt want to tinker with control setups instead of just sitting down to play with something that worked.

              Engineering a new product is fun and exciting and flashy. Supporting it is boring.

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                July 20, 2021 5:14 AM

                Because there is no "something that just works" when you're adapting a control mechanism to an entirely different input device.

                You often can find a config that works just fine with no fuss; the community configs came pretty fast and at least for the games I tried were pretty good.

                But you STILL have to learn how to use it.

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                  July 20, 2021 5:16 AM

                  I'm glad you're passionate and excited for this but you might be the only person on the planet who is fine with how the steam controller was supported.

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                    July 20, 2021 5:36 AM

                    The Steam controller works great if you take the time to learn it. The thing is I'm not sure there's any real way around that learning period.

                    It takes you a long time to get good with mouse and keyboard, too, it's just that we've all already done it.

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                      July 20, 2021 5:38 AM

                      The controller was fine. The whole approach of 'here have a new controller. Figure it out I guess k bye' was not

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                        July 20, 2021 5:46 AM

                        That wasn't my experience. I was already a big picture user, maybe that makes a difference, but my experience was to click on a game in my library, tap the button for controller config, select the top configs based on number of users, tweak it, and go.

                        When I started from scratch it was because I wanted to try new things like building out custom pop-up menus.

                        I now have configs for basically all my favorite first person games that work great with it - all the Thief and Deus Ex games, System Shock 2, etc.

                        But the thing is that each game really does need serious consideration to make the most of. When I toggle the scope in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, it also tweaks the sensitivity for gyro aiming so I can make precise sniping shots.

                        There is no way to set that up in some automatic way; it requires both per-game consideration / configuration and using that config for a while to learn it.

                        • reply
                          July 20, 2021 5:48 AM

                          Why do you think it failed and valve gave up on it then?

                          • reply
                            July 20, 2021 5:51 AM

                            Well for one, every feature of it is present in the Steam Deck, so I'm not sure I'd say they gave up on it entirely.

                            But as I said: it requires a learning curve. If playing first person games from the couch isn't worth that "hassle" to you, you're not going to bother with it.

                            The other issue is that the omission of a d-pad meant that it couldn't replace an existing controller for many people - it was asking to be a new, second (or third) device in your living room, a compliment to your existing game controllers.

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          July 20, 2021 4:27 AM

          It's going to be such a niche product though, I can't see third parties spending much time making configurations for it. Look at the effort MS have put into making sure the Xbox S gets the correct support. Way that designed it has same CPU as the Series X for example.

      • reply
        July 20, 2021 5:14 AM

        this is not a switch competitor. even if it worked amazingly well (and keep in mind we're banking on windows emulation in linux for their primary offering) - the potential base for this is 1/50th of the switch and that's likely generous.

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        July 20, 2021 5:59 AM


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      July 20, 2021 4:01 AM

      milleh this thing looks a wrist pain waiting to happen right? Like the switch makes my hands hurt without a grip and the steam deck is heavier and bulkier

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        July 20, 2021 4:02 AM

        Definitly, im worried about it, even though I'll probably still get one :/

        My carpel tunnel wrists will hate me even more

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          July 20, 2021 5:44 AM

          We've all had that experience holding a controller and suddenly thought 'this would be a lot better if it weighed three pounds and my hands were twelve inches apart'

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      July 20, 2021 4:05 AM

      What's the fastest microSD we will be able to get for this, and how much slower would it be than the built in nvme?

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        July 20, 2021 4:27 AM

        fastest MicroSD cards are "only" 100MB/s or so I believe, so any NVME drive will annihilate them in raw transfer speeds. access times are still pretty good though.

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          July 20, 2021 4:43 AM

          Hmm yea, I guess worst case scenario we're talking switch load times from that

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