Steam Controller: A new way to play
If your head has been in the ground all weekend you might have missed Valve’s third and final announcement for the next stage of their distribution service turned gaming platform Steam. We brought you updates on the announcements of both the SteamOS and the Steam Machines, and our speculative Triforce gets its final triangle with the Steam Controller. Aw geez, we wanted Half Life 3 as well.
For some time now, the public have suspected Valve of developing a next-gen controller, something to revolutionize gamepads forever. It seems we finally have that product. The Steam Controller aims to bring the functionality and precision of a keyboard to the palm of your hands . . . and the floor of your living-room it would seem. To get around compatibility issues arising from the current Steam catalog, the team at Valve have designed the Steam Controller to react like a keyboard and mouse, meaning all games will be able to configure the controller in their respective in game settings screens.
The controller is comprised of two large clickable trackpads, replacing the traditional thumb sticks. It also features a high-resolution touch screen in its middle, which is also clickable. The controller claims to be truly ambidextrous with the ability to switch between left and right hand preferences. Valve recognize the need for some feedback stronger than the lovable rumble unit in previous designs, so both trackpads feature “dual linear resonant actuators”, which provide highly sensitive levels of haptic feedback, adding to degree of accuracy and precision players can execute commands in game. This means genres such as FPS and RTS are no longer to be left in the realm of the keyboard and mouse.
Knowing full well that the Steam community will be just jumping at the opportunity to get tinkering with their controllers, Valve have stated that the devices were built to be fully Hackable, both in hardware and software. In other words, let the hacking begin. If you’ve signed up for the Steam Machine Beta, yes the controller is included but unfortunately it will be one of an earlier design. The only real differences are wireless support, and the touch screen, which will be replaced by four buttons.
It would seem that while our three tastes of Steam’s future are over, there is still so much more in stall for the Steam Universe. Valve have stated that while the big updates are over, they’ll be releasing further information and details as time progresses. If you haven’t yet signed up for the Steam Machine Beta, you can get onto it here. My name will be on the list and I suggest you all get yours on it as well. The Anti-Grav team are very excited about the future of PC gaming, and the evolution of Steam is sure to be the first in a long list of developments Valve will be bring us.