Valve Unveils a New Type of Controller

Valve promised a trio of announcements this week. The first announcement was the developing of a Lenox-based “cooperating system” called SteamOS. The second revealed plans to make several different types of Steam Machines with different partners as well as the passing out 300 beta units to Steam users later this year. Today, Valve unsurprisingly unveils their own Steam Controller.

Steam Controller front and back

The most prominent elements of the Steam controller are its two circular trackpads. Driven by the player’s thumbs, each one has a high-resolution trackpad as its base. It is also clickable, allowing the entire surface to act as a button. The trackpads allow far higher fidelity input than has previously been possible with traditional handheld controllers. Steam gamers, who are used to the input associated with PCs, will appreciate that the Steam Controller’s resolution approaches that of a desktop mouse.

In the middle of the controller is a little touch screen, also clickable. It allows for extra browsing for available actions, swipe through pages of actions where appropriate. The touch screen can “work as a scrolling menu, a radial dial, provide secondary info like a map or use other custom input modes we haven’t thought of yet.”

Steam Controller skeleton
Like the Steam Machines, the Steam Controller is totally hackable.

Screen Shot 2013-09-27 at 2.57.42 PM

The controllers also contain a “legacy mode” that allows it to work as a keyboard and mouse while playing existing Steam games, none of which ever had a controller in mind when being developed. Players and create configurations that work for them on their favorite games and then share them with the Steam Community where other players and can pick and choose.

Well, that about does it for the big announcements for Valve. Are you excited about this? Will the SteamOS, et al, change how we game in the future? Feel free to let us know in the comments below! And for further information on the new controller, click here.

The Author

Christina Janke

Christina Janke

Host of "Intro to Geek" on Her love of all things Mass Effect knows no bounds. She also carries an obsession with comic books, video games, and quirky television shows. Her heroes are Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, and Gail Simone, and hopes to be just like them when she grows up.

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