Valve has officially released the first video of their upcoming Steam Controller in action. They show off the controller with a number of games, including some that you wouldn’t necessarily consider using a controller for. While Portal 2 and Counter-Strike: GO make sense with the controller, Valve showed some of the Steam Controller’s unexpected range by using it to play Civ V and Papers, Please. I’d say that the controller certainly has some potential.
The Steam Controller has been in a state of seemingly constant evolution since it was first unveiled in September 2013. It’s gone from two touchpads and a touchscreen to something resembling a PlayStation controller with touchpads. Now, Valve is believed to have made another change that brings it a little closer to the status quo. Now, the left touchpad will have a directional guide that makes it look a lot closer to the classic D-pad.
The Steam Controller was one of three new Steam-themed projects that Valve announced last fall and it’s undergone a lot of testing and revising since the initial announcement. While it hasn’t been officially revealed, the latest Steam client beta was mined for data and it looks like the next iteration of the Steam Controller prototype will swap out the d-pad for a thumbstick.
Just when PC gamers were getting the next-gen controller experience that console gamers aren’t getting with their next-gen consoles, Valve told everyone to hold their horses. Valve updated the Steam Universe group with announcement that the Steam Controller won’t be publicly available until 2015.
While Valve’s upcoming Steam Controller had been much-anticipated by gamers for its revolutionary design, it looks like some of the more unique aspects of the controller will disappear. The touchscreen and surrounding buttons at the centre of the controller are being eliminated in the latest design iteration for the traditional controller face buttons.
Christmas is coming early for 300 Steam users who were notified Wednesday that they are among the lucky chosen few to get their hands on prototype versions of the Steam Machine consoles and the Steam Controller. Valve announced that the Steam Machines and Controllers were heading out the door today and they’d be releasing an early version of SteamOS to the public.
In 1997, Sony completely changed the way that controllers were designed and console games were played with the launch of the Dual Analog controllers. From there, we’ve seen some tweaks to controller design but very little in meaningful controller innovation outside of the recent move to motion controls.
While Valve’s announcement of Steam Machines was a bit underwhelming, their third announcement was a definite game changer. Their new Steam Controller looks to be the first big change in controller design in the last sixteen years.