Valve Announce Game Changing Steam Controller

Written by Jon Sutton on Fri, Sep 27, 2013 6:32 PM
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Valve has announced its very own proprietary controller for Steam that aims to bridge the gap between conventional controllers and the keyboard + mouse combination.

The ‘Steam Controller’ sets out to bring an entirely different experience to how you play a game, combining aspects from many varied controller mechanisms into an intriguing new device all of its own…

First and foremost, the new Steam Controller will be compatible with all Steam games past and present, whether they provide support for traditional controller support or not, through tricking the game into thinking it’s being played using a keyboard and mouse.

The ‘Steam Controller’ looks radically unlike anything we’ve previously seen in the gaming world, the focus being on high-precision inputs that can match a mouse’s accuracy, combined with low-latency for increased responsiveness.

Valve has decided to do away with the traditional analogue sticks which have become a staple of console controllers since the Nintendo 64 introduced one on its retrospectively bizarre controller.

Rather than analogue sticks there two large trackpads that are operated using the player’s thumbs. The entire surface of the trackpad is clickable in a similar manner to most modern analog sticks, providing another input.

Valve claims that the controller has a higher fidelity than that of any other controller input, rivalling the humble mouse for accuracy. This essentially translates to making traditionally mouse driven genres such as strategy games, equally as playable from the comfort of your sofa as sat at a desk. The mouse and keyboard is the FPS connoisseurs weapon of choice for high-resolution responsive input, but Valve believe they have matched this level of control with the new device.

The ‘Steam Controller’ will also come with a rumble feature that appears to be very similar in nature to the Xbox One’s haptic feedback. Precise rumbles will be able to give the feeling of movement, opening another channel of information for the player. For example, when you get shot in an FPS game the rumble will be able to accurately indicate the direction the shot came from.

In keeping with the PS4’s DualShock 4 and the Wii U Gamepad, the Steam Controller will feature a touchscreen in the centre of the pad, which Valve makes the rather dubious claim that it “allows an infinite number of discrete actions to be made available to the player, without requiring an infinite number of physical buttons.” A bold claim indeed… Similar to the trackpads, the touchscreen will also be clickable, allowing you to scroll through options before clicking on the one you want.

So there you have it, the SteamOS, the announcement of Steam Machines, and now finally the Steam Controller. It's certainly been a big week for Valve, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions about a lot of these products. It's certainly piqued everybody's interest, so for now we must play the waiting game until them beta kits get sent out.

What do you make of this new controller from Valve? Is it a case of jack-of-all trades, master of none?

Is this the final step needed to drag PC gaming kicking and screaming into the living room?

Let us know below!

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15:27 Oct-12-2013
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22:23 Sep-30-2013

I think that the trackpads will work like thumbsticks. Simply move your thumb across slightly and the whatever will move too. If it does, it's a deffo buy, since it is much much more ergonomically better in theory.

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23:57 Sep-29-2013

WANT.NEED.

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22:18 Sep-28-2013

i think these trackpads will be ultra sensitive unlike a simple laptop trackpad were you have to drag your finger over it again and again to get to the other end of the screen. we will have to wait and see. this could go really well or fail really hard...

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09:17 Sep-28-2013

Can I buy it use it on my PC?
Thank you

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10:35 Sep-28-2013

probably, but it's only for steam games.

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07:32 Sep-28-2013

Looks awkward to be honest, not and like Crypto92 said, Trackpads aren't exactly the most precise controllers in the world, and may actually be a step back depending on how this controller is executed, but honestly, it couldn't be in better hands, well unless Carmack was on the case xD

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09:15 Sep-28-2013

Exactly. Imagine taking a head shot on FPS games.
If its an analog stick, you hold the stick in one direction until you reach your target.
If its a mouse, you simply move the mouse to point at the target.
If its a trackpad, you keep scrolling with your thumbs (getting tiring & annoying) & never get a head shot?
Or use the index finger to aim for the target?
I mean, most people don't play on their laptop without a mouse.

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09:23 Sep-28-2013

And they claim that they could put trackpads on their controller & make it better to compete with mouse & keyboard?
Lol.

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11:00 Sep-28-2013

It's not because it's like a trackpad that it will react in the same way. It definitely won't beat the accuracy of a mouse, but I'm quite sure it can be an improvement over the analog sticks.

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11:32 Sep-28-2013

"It's not because it's like a trackpad that it will react in the same way."
It might react the same way or react just like a virtual gamepad on a tablet PC. Either way, I don't really believe that trackpads can be an improvement over analog sticks.
But its too soon to say.
Lets wait until we could get our hands on it.

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06:01 Sep-28-2013

sounds like great

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05:05 Sep-28-2013

"Trackpads that are operated using the player’s thumbs."
Trackpads can never be as good as keyboard & mouse.
I think that trackpads might be worse than analog sticks.
I mean its not comfortable to use them when compared to mouse & keyboard.
Of course valve has designed this controller for the living room where you sit 6+ feet away from your TV. But an analog controller is more comfortable than trackpads.

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05:10 Sep-28-2013

depends on how much control they can give
they might turn out to be better than the analog sticks or miserably fail doing that
but yeah, no controller can match a mouse's control

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05:13 Sep-28-2013

Yeah, you are right.
We should wait & see what they can do with that controller.

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04:40 Sep-28-2013

looks very interesting

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01:48 Sep-28-2013

I'm not gonna buy this. ITS SALEE TIME. NOOOOO MY MONEY

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00:41 Sep-28-2013

I probably will buy this if it does not cost a ridiculous amount of money...

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00:30 Sep-28-2013

Looks quite cool BUT I would buy it only if:
1) NOT ONLY STEAM games will be supported. I want a full support of all games; since it's supposed to trick the game it is a keyboard+mouse, it should be able to do so with all games.
2) The touch screen needs to be bigger, or only 4-6 buttons will be present, while i 'd like 8.
3) Fair Price
I also hope it could be used in either the new or old consoles, but that is rather tricky...

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11:10 Sep-28-2013

Valve said you can hack it to all your glory. This means that at some point, it will probably be hacked to support all games.

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21:57 Sep-27-2013

You really need to read this to get some idea out of this. But it looks cool and seems like it's better responsive than normal controllers so that's a plus.

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21:47 Sep-27-2013

strange button placement..

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21:07 Sep-27-2013

Since I don't currently have a gamepad for my computer, I might pick this up when it comes out, depending on the price. Looks interesting.

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21:41 Sep-27-2013

same here bro

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20:56 Sep-27-2013

Love it! Just one concern: PRICE

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20:51 Sep-27-2013

Looks... unique to say the least. I'll probably try one when it comes out just to see how this thing could possibly work

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20:25 Sep-27-2013

the controller looks cool, and I imagine Valve won't disappoint, but it could fail, I doubt it though XD Although personally for shooters I prefer a mouse and keyboard, but if this is as responsive as they say, that may change.

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20:37 Sep-27-2013

Valve never disappoints ;D

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20:01 Sep-27-2013

I really do want to have a gander at this! Looks like something very interesting, since I'm not a huge fan of current controllers with analogue sticks, they tend to cause a lot of fatigue. I also hope the pricing is right, then I'd test one deffo and then buy if I like.

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19:40 Sep-27-2013

I will only say anything about the actual product when I have tested it out, for now.... It looks interesting.

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