As the last announcement of the past week, Valve revealed their new PC Steam Controller for the company’s new SteamOS and Steam Machines on Friday, September 27th. The controller is unlike many current console controllers because of its unique button layout, shape, and movement controls.
One of the main features of the Steam Controller is that it uses two trackpads as opposed to the two analog sticks commonly found on most console controllers. The trackpads, as Valve states, are “a new generation of super-precise haptic feedback, employing dual linear resonant actuators.” Because of these advanced actuators, the trackpads are “capable of delivering a wide range of force and vibration, allowing precise control over frequency, amplitude, and direction of movement.”
Also, the new PC Steam Controller possesses a touchscreen between the controller’s two trackpads. This screen allows players to open up a transparent overlay above a game screen to access a number of different commands and actions. Because the touchscreen has no fixed purpose, the different ways it could be used in a game are almost limitless. Valve asserts that, “The screen allows an infinite number of discrete actions to be made available to the player, without requiring an infinite number of physical buttons.”
Furthermore, Valve’s Steam Controller includes a built-in “legacy mode” and shared configuration bindings. Legacy mode causes the Steam Controller to work as a keyboard and a mouse, allowing players to play games made before the creation of the controller. Also, the shared configuration bindings allow members of the Steam Community to create their own button bindings and share some of the most popular ones with the rest of the community.
Overall, the Steam Controller was created to be compatible with the entire Steam game library. With the controller’s trackpads, touchscreen, legacy mode, and sharable configurations, Valve hopes that, “Whole genres of games that were previously only playable with a keyboard and mouse are now accessible from the sofa. RTS games. Casual, cursor-driven games. Strategy games. 4x space exploration games. A huge variety of indie games. Simulation titles. And of course, Euro Truck Simulator 2.”