After the announcement of SteamOS and Steam Machines over the course of the week, it’s only natural that Valve release a controller to go along with their latest venture into the living rooms of gamers. The Steam Controller is (at least in its current presented form) a sleek-looking controller for Valve’s upcoming line of gaming/living room consoles.
The Steam Controller features dual trackpads whose resolution “approaches that of a desktop mouse”, which makes games “playable with a keyboard and mouse are now accessible from the sofa”. The trackpads sport haptic feedback mechanisms attached to them while a square touchscreen sits in the center of the controller’s front.
The high-res touchscreen itself is mounted on a click mechanism, allowing you to use it as a button to confirm actions you’d like to perform. Touching it also brings up an overlay on your main display (TV or monitor), so players won’t have to constantly look down at the controller’s display.
Eight of the Steam Controller’s 16 buttons are accessible without the player having to move their thumbs away from the trackpads. The controller has an ambidextrous design since all of the buttons are placed symmetrically, allowing it to be accessible to both left- and right-handed users.
The Steam Controller will be ‘open’ to allow user modification (Official photo by Valve)
Valve is also doing something different from the likes of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo as they’ve made the Steam Controller itself an open device which was “designed from the ground up to be hackable … from industrial design to electrical engineering”. The Steam Controller will be usable on both Steam Machines and other PCs that run Steam.
While the final product will be wireless and include said high-resolution touchscreen, Valve will be giving out some prototypes that are wired (USB) and have 4 buttons in place of the touchscreen. Steam Controllers will be handed out in the same beta program as Steam Machines. The actual finalized product will only be on sale in 2014.