The year 2013 was the year of the next-gen console, but 2014 is quickly shaping up to be the year of the Steambox. If you're looking to make the jump from console to PC, but need a little help transitioning to a mouse-and-keyboard setup, the Tivitas Sinister controller will let you do so at your own pace.
At CES 2014, Tom's Guide got to go hands-on with the Sinister, which may be out before the end of 2014, but has no set price yet. The controller gets its name from the fact that you use the mouse with your right hand and the controller with your left, or sinister, hand.
The Sinister mimics a traditional Xbox 360 controller in certain respects. It possesses ABXY buttons, two sets of triggers and an analog stick. However, the device doesn't look much like a traditional controller, opting instead for a central palm rest surrounded by buttons, much like a gaming mouse.
By default, a user can control the analog stick with his left thumb, and the ABXY and trigger buttons with his or her fingers. However, the Sinister is a totally modular controller, meaning that you can swap out the buttons and place them in different locations, even during gameplay. This will help neophyte PC gamers find a setup with which they're comfortable.
Although the device is optimized for PC games that support an Xbox 360 controller, users willing to dive a little deeper will be able to program the controller to work with any PC game. The Sinister will only offer Xbox 360-style buttons at first, but its modular nature allows Tivitas (and users) to come up with their own buttons and control sticks that may serve gamers even better.
In our experience, we found that the Sinister was comfortable and conforms well to almost any hand shape and size, due to its adjustable nature. Whether it's actually easier than taking the requisite time to learn a mouse-and-keyboard setup is harder to say.
The Sinister is currently in a pre-alpha stage, which explains the device's rough look. Tivitas hopes to have a prototype ready by E3 2014 in June, and to be able to put the Sinister in consumers' hands before the end of the year.