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Summary:

Valve has announced the third and final piece to its living room initiative: an open and programmable controller.

SteamController
photo: Valve

With the Steam OS as the software and the line of Steam Machines providing the hardware, it’s not that surprising that indie game company Valve would unveil a proprietary controller to bridge the gap between the two. The Steam Controller is hackable, programmable, and apparently works with all games available on Steam, the company announced Friday.

From an aesthetics point of view, the Steam Controller doesn’t look much like any traditional console peripheral — for one, there isn’t a joystick. Instead, the controller relies on two trackpads that allow for freer movement and haptic response. The sixteen buttons on the controller include two that flank the inner sides of each track pad and two on the back of the peripheral. Finally, a touch screen similar to the one offered on the Ouya controller is in the center, enabling users to make certain multitouch actions within the game.

SteamControllerPrototype

Valve claims that the Steam Controller will work on all games available on the Steam platform — including the ones that currently do not support one. The system has a “legacy mode” to act like a keyboard and mouse, as well as a binding tool that enables users to configure the buttons on their gamepad to their own liking. Valve has also promised that the Steam Controller will be hackable and open, so developers can reprogram it easily.

While Steam OS and Steam Machines are essential to bringing the PC/console hybrid experience to life, it’s clear from the announcement how much time and effort Valve has thrown in to the Steam Controller. While Steam Machines are handled through multiple third-party partnerships, that controller will be the unifying element to it all — which means a lot is riding on it.

My tiny hands are cramping just looking at the design, but using it will be believing. It seems like the wrong thing to save for last, as everyone has kept their eye on the consoles, but the Steam Controller will be what makes the devices a Valve product.

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  1. Indie game company? Valve?!

  2. Actually, the touch-screen is nothing like the Ouya controller. The Ouya controller has a (pretty crappy) touch-pad, this device has a touch-screen.

  3. Horrible title. They specifically stated that you are welcome to use mouse and keyboard with any of their products.

  4. an indie game developer Sunday, September 29, 2013

    Seriously? Please stop with the misinformation.
    A) bad title, you don’t need one at all
    B) valve is a lot of things, but indie game company is not one of them. They make billions in revenue
    C) the Ouya controller just has a touch pad, no touch screen. Wii u is the console with the touch screen

    1. Actually Valve is Indie, yeah they make a lot of money but the publish their own titles, that’s what makes them independent. They don’t rely on a big firm like Sega or Activision, or EA.

      1. They ARE the big firm.. they publish millions of other games along with their own software.

        Calling Valve and Indie is almost like calling Sony Pictures and Indie

        1. They’re still independent, which, last I knew, was what ‘indie’ meant. I agree that it’s kind of an odd term when applied to Valve, but it isn’t technically inaccurate.

  5. Also you can use the Steam OS for free on your own PC

  6. Yeah calling Valve an Indie gaming company destroys any credibility she wished she had.

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