Posted on September 27, 2013, Phil Owen Valve Unveils Steam Controller, Half-Life Fans Trolled Again
The third of three “big” announcements from Valve occurred this morning, and it didn’t involve Half-Life or Portal or even Source 2 at all. Instead it was “just a controller,” seen above.
Obviously, Valve isn’t interested in keeping with the current standard templates for gamepads. Instead of sticks it has clickable touchpads. Instead of a d-pad it doesn’t have a d-pad. Instead of putting the face buttons next to each other, it puts them on the corners of the centerpiece, a touchscreen.
The touchscreen is intended as a sort of proxy for a mouse, and touching it activates Steam’s overlay and shows a cursor. Clicking the screen, then, is analogous to clicking the left mouse button. The touchpads will feature haptic feedback (think vibrations as you move your thumbs around on them to simulate resistance)
The pad has 16 buttons all together, with four face buttons, four shoulder buttons, the three below the touchscreen, the touchscreen itself, the trackpads and two on the backside for your ring fingers.
Valve is building into Steam a “Legacy Mode” for the controller that will attempt to make current games not designed with the strange new controller in mind playable by turning the gamepad into an analog for a keyboard and mouse. Naturally, you will be able to remap control schemes to your heart’s content.
Finally, the Steam Hardware Beta they discussed Wednesday will also incorporate the controller, and so if you want to get your hands on a prototype you need do nothing more than what was necessary to make you eligible for a Steam Machine prototype.
If you don’t know what to think about this contraption just yet, you aren’t alone. A smart GAFer used this gif as his response, and it feels appropriate until we can actually try it out.