Valve wrapped up up their week of living room–related announcements today by revealing the Steam Controller.
As you can see in the above picture, the Steam Controller is a marked departure from what we’ve come to know and recognize and expect from videogame controllers—chiefly in the absence of any analog sticks. In their place, the Steam Controller features two high-resolution circular, clickable trackpads.
“The trackpads allow far higher fidelity input than has previously been possible with traditional handheld controllers,” reads a description on Valve’s official Steam Controllers webpage. “Steam gamers, who are used to the input associated with PCs, will appreciate that the Steam Controller’s resolution approaches that of a desktop mouse.”
Because trackpads are “light touch” devices that doesn’t provide visceral feedback like joysticks and analogsticks do, Valve has implemented “super-precise haptic feedback” in the Steam Controller’s trackpads, which “are capable of delivering a wide range of force and vibration, allowing precise control over frequency, amplitude, and direction of movement.”
At the center of the controller is a high-resolution touch screen, another clickable button. The touch screen can also serve as a scrolling menu, a radial dial, or display in-game maps. To prevent the touch screen from distracting players from viewing the main screen or monitor or TV, the Steam Controller overlays the touch screen’s display on top of the game.
The rest of the Steam Controller is made up of more traditional button configurations—two bumper/trigger pairings, and four face buttons at each corner of the touchscreen.
The Steam Controller reveal wraps up a week of Steam-related announcements pertaining to gaming in the living room, following Valve’s Steam Machines announcement on Wednesday and SteamOS announcement on Monday.