With the Linux-based operating system and hardware already in the public ether, Valve added the third and final piece to its bold plan to blur the lines between PC gaming and the living room space. That piece was the dedicated Steam controller; a minimalistic gamepad that favours touch-sensitive UI as opposed to traditional controller input methods. The company made the announcement via its website and detailed some of the ideology behind the mouse-cum-gamepad.
“We’ve made it a goal to improve upon the resolution and fidelity of input that’s possible with those devices. The Steam controller offers a new and, we believe, vastly superior control scheme, all while enabling you to play from the comfort of your sofa.”
The design of the controller itself features a front-facing touchscreen and incorporates haptic technology through the dual trackpads to deliver game-related feedback to the user through touch. Valve has since confirmed that the gamepad will be compatible with both existing titles in the Steam library and future game releases and believes the input method will ease in the transition from the age-old keyboard and mouse interface.
“We realized early on that our goals required a new kind of input technology–one that could bridge the gap from the desk to the living room without compromises.”
This is undoubtedly of paramount importance for Valve if it is to convince the PC community that its new peripheral is a viable and indeed effective means of play. The company also elaborated on the clickable dual trackpads which will reportedly offer a “higher fidelity input” in comparison with other more traditional controllers. What’s more, the front-facing screen – which will display in-game information thereby acting as a means of feedback – will allow users to transmit the information from the controller’s high-res display onto the TV screen; allowing players to keep their attention “squarely on the action, where it belongs.”
We understand that Valve will initiate a beta test for the Steam Machine console, which will require players to meet a series of set goals before the October 25th deadline. Additionally, the controller itself falls under this beta and the selected 300 players will receive a wired prototype when the testing process begins later this year.
It’ll be interesting to see how Valve’s controller is perceived; after all, condensing over a hundred buttons and keys and the responsive feel of a mouse into a single controller is a considerable feat. Nevertheless, we’ll just have to wait until 2014 when the Steam Machine launches with its dedicated controller to find out.
What do you think of the idiosyncratic Steam gamepad? Are you intrigued by the boom-box design? Be sure to check out the gallery for a closer look and drop all your thoughts in the comments below.