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Valve has finished its week of announcements by revealing the Steam Controller. Designed to be used with the previously revealed Steam Machines, it works with all Steam games (including those without controller support).

The controller features two trackpads, in place of analogue sticks, that have been touted as approaching the precision of a desktop mouse.

To explain its reasoning for the design, Valve highlighted the range of genres that feature on its gaming service, and those that will soon be able to be played with the Steam Controller:

"Whole genres of games that were previously only playable with a keyboard and mouse are now accessible from the sofa. RTS games. Casual, cursor-driven games. Strategy games. 4x space exploration games. A huge variety of indie games. Simulation titles. And of course, Euro Truck Simulator 2."

Rather than follow the Xbox or PlayStation controller model, Valve is focusing on the group of games already on its service that require more accurate control. The trackpads are clickable so the entire surface doubles as a button, along with 14 other inputs. The Half-Life developer is also confident that the pads offer "far higher fidelity input than has previously been possible with traditional handheld controllers."

On Wednesday Valve hinted that as well as multiple devices, there would also be a selection of controllers to choose from, so a more traditional iteration may yet come to pass. Like the Steam Machines themselves, the controller will also be 'hackable', allowing users to have their own say on how it functions.

A Steam Machine beta, for 300 Steam users, is planned for later this year.

Source: Steam

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User Comments

Batmamerc's Avatar


The main problem with steam for the general market is it's only on pc, I've got a powerful rig which so far hasn't let me down with any game I throw at it with full settings, but, I have however had problems with trying to get wireless controllers working and wifi working for ages which has put me off pc gaming other than for sim city/tropico type games. I love the idea of steam, I love the bargains on steam and Ive got quite a big catalogue I'm still yet to play through it thanks to humble bundles, the thing is I'm a sofa gamer like many other gamers are, I like playing on the big screen and the current consoles give me that, my pc is on the kitchen table I have to sit on a dining chair and use the tiny 42" lol, the steam box and this hideous controller will finally allow a whole load of ppl and me to be able to use steam on the sofa that hadn't been able to before, when the mainstream and media pick up on this I think it could actually be a current gen and even next gen console beater.
Posted 18:41 on 30 September 2013
AdesteFideles's Avatar


I think the first thing to remember is that this is first and foremost a replacement for the m/kb setup for couch playing.

Now, I wonder what the pricing will be like.
Posted 13:59 on 29 September 2013
Ghost5's Avatar


Click for Image

I Like it tbh. Althought I'll just stick with the good 'ol Mouse & Keyboard combo :D
Posted 12:23 on 29 September 2013


So here's the thing. From people who've tried it, those 4 physical buttons are not really for gameplay.
They are more like the Start and Back/Select buttons.

The main buttons are actually part of the track pads.

Look at the right track pad and imagine, if you will, the traditional diamond layout of buttons rather than the whole trackpad acting as a single 'stick click' button.
That's how it works.

One of the first design changes you can expect to see is the introduction of subtle little nubs on the track pads to indicate where the virtual 'buttons' are.
Posted 06:36 on 29 September 2013
CCastiel's Avatar


I love using the big picture mode but it's very limited in terms of the games that you cant play because of the 360 controller hopefully this bridges the gap, should be interesting.
Posted 13:01 on 28 September 2013
AdesteFideles's Avatar


Looks pretty radical to me. I guess it's one of those things you will have to try before you really make your mind up.

One concern is the placement of the XYAB buttons. For 3rd person games you would have to move your thumbs off the left track pad to access the X and Y buttons and would therefore be standing still while doing so.

Still, one would hope that they have working drivers for the Xbox 360 pad for those games best suited to it. Choice is everything.
Posted 23:07 on 27 September 2013
Llamazoid's Avatar


It looks like someone rammed the front of CD player into a controller shell. Jesting aside it will be interesting to see how it handles.
Posted 21:55 on 27 September 2013
FantasyMeister's Avatar


What is it with ABXY, why not 1234 or ABCD? ?? ???

Aside from that, I like the innovation of getting rid of sticks. Whether it works or not is another matter but regardless, I like it.
Posted 21:36 on 27 September 2013
MJTH's Avatar


This controller... I guess it could be very good for genres not possible on traditional controller, but the trackpads look terrible for platformers.
Posted 21:27 on 27 September 2013
timidmeow's Avatar


Could be revolutionary, or could be just cumbersome.
I think it looks cool actually, the idea of using trackpads. The button placement looks a bit awkward, and the whole damn thing really looks awkward, but trackpads.
Posted 19:48 on 27 September 2013
headless_sky's Avatar


This is the sort of thing Sony and Microsoft could never get away with because gamers would hound them out of the business for changing "our" controller. I have no idea how successful it will be, but I applaud Valve for trying something this innovative. I think its long-term success depends on PC compatibility though. I don't see the Steambox as a big seller.
Posted 19:08 on 27 September 2013
CM22's Avatar


Valve is doing doing the type of bold innovation that I remember Simon talking about with the X-box one. They're doing things no one would have really expected them to do, and steam fanboys aside a lot of people are going to be very critical and skeptical of it, and a lot of their choices are going to look mainstream counter intuitive and for a while they probably will be. I can't see the steam box itself being a huge day 1 seller, the controller will probably do well enough though. But long term Steam has the capital to spend and I think they're going to win people over with these bold moves, which they'll tweak and change to fit the needs (not the wants like Microsoft seems concerned with) of their audience and grow. It's going to be a very interesting future for Valve and Steam.
Posted 18:54 on 27 September 2013


It looks... well, just look at it. What in the World is that?
Posted 18:28 on 27 September 2013
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