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Posted by Chuck Corbin on Sep 27, 2013

Valve’s Third Announcement: The Steam Controller

Normally, the announcement of a new controller isn’t any big deal. After all, they’re all the same thing, right? Two joystick, maybe a D-pad, roughly 4-6 buttons and a couple triggers? Well, with Valve, nothing is sacrosanct, including this tried-and-true design as they revealed their latest controller today.

The biggest different between Valve’s Steam Controller and most other controllers is that it’s completely gotten ride of the 4 buttons in a diamond pattern and the joysticks in favor of two large track pads. The pads are clickable, so they can act as a button, and have a “far higher fidelity input than has previously been possible with traditional handheld controllers.” It’s been designed so that games that normally won’t work with a controller can now be played at a level you can get with a mouse and keyboard configuration.

The controller also comes with a high-resolution touch-enabled screen right in the middle that is also clickable, and besides the trigger buttons and the bumper buttons on top of it, the controller also contains 2 more buttons on the very back right where the tips of your fingers would normally be when you’re holding the controller. All in all, there are 16 different buttons on the controller, with 8 of them easily accessible without having to lift your thumbs off of the trackpads. What’s more, the controller is symmetrical, and can be configured for right-handed and left-handed folks. The Steam Controller won’t be just for Steam Machines either: indeed, you’ll be able to use it for any version of Steam.

I have to say this controller design shocked me at first, but after looking at it for a bit I have to admit that it looks like it could work really well in a way that many other controllers do not. Instead of going for the same-old same-old, Valve may have ushered in a new wave of controller design if it ends up working out. We’ll just have to see next year when it is released to the public.

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