Technology - our biggest friend and even bigger enemy
The biggest hurdle we have right now with consoles and the gaming experience in general being pushed beyond the boundaries of a slow-reacting controller is the TV. Refresh rates haven't really moved past 50/60Hz, thus, 50/60fps. There are, of course, some 120Hz screens (which I personally use, and cannot now go back to pre-120Hz days), but they are few and far between.
TVs are still lagging when it comes to input lag and refresh rates, but a different design in controllers could change this thought process. A mouse and keyboard is a great set to use for first-person shooters, but the input lag and lackluster refresh rates of TVs really holds gaming on the big screen back. This is why we've seen first-person shooters evolve into corridor-based, hide-behind-an-invincible-cardboard-box-to-regenerate-your-health first-person shooters.
They really have simplified the once-great FPS genre. "Take cover, you've been shot". Really, developers? Those bullets being fired at me, and the blood splatters on the screen (which represent my eyes) isn't enough to show me I'm shot/damaged/hurt? Thanks for the over-simplification of that.
Enter Valve's Steam Box. Right now it's merely a rumor, but Valve has also been reportedly filled patents for controllers, which is for a "Video Game Controller", featuring user swappable control components. This would let you change the style and placement of the bits on the controller itself.
The controller in question actually has some pretty nifty tech built into it, if it finds its way onto the Steam Box: biometric feedback. Oh, is that all? Well, considering it would be capable of monitoring the users pulse rate, galvanic response, gaze tracking, and more. Would this mean we'd see these features incorporated into future Valve games? One would think so.
Adding more credit to the rumors, we've had official announcements from Valve themselves regarding "Big Picture" TV mode for Steam. When this was announced, I thought it was going to just be for those who plug their TVs into their gaming PCs and play them on the big screens. But this is starting to make more and more sense, isn't it?
Valve now have a digital distribution platform, millions of users, Big Picture mode for TVs, patents filed for controllers with biometric sensors (and more), and then today comes the news from Razer, that their Hydra motion-based controller is now compatible with massive Valve titles such as Half-Life 2, Left 4 Dead 2, and Team Fortress 2. Not only that, it's backwards compatible with over 250 games available through Steam.
Is it that much of a stretch to think that Valve could release a living room-based PC? Let's talk hardware.