Valve’s Steam Controller

I spend a lot of time, and way more money than I wish to admit, on Steam. I love and enjoy playing games on the PC, but I grew up with consoles, and feel more comfortable with a controller in hand, than a mouse and keyboard. I’ve also spent obscene amounts of time trying to bastardize the point-and-click control schemes with Xpadder, or fool games, like Skyrim, that my generic PS3-esque controller is actually a 360 controller. The mouse and keyboard community may scream blasphemy, but all I want to do is play PC games from my couch.

Valve is hoping to change all that with the release of their Steam Controller. It is still in the design and beta phase, but what’s been revealed so far is pretty remarkable. It promises to work with every single game in the Steam library, past, present, and future, regardless of the control schemes. The Steam Controller will fool games into thinking your using a mouse and keyboard.

The interface is both similar, and oddly unique. As you can see in the various images, it’s gone through a few different alterations, but the current version now has console type buttons. It has the sleek, black look of PS3 controller, Xbox-esque bulk and Y, X, B, A buttons, a diamond configured keypad, and two flat, circular surfaces in place of the standard thumbsticks. To remedy the obvious lack of physical feed back that standard thumsticks can offer, they’ve also incorporated something known as Haptics.

The Steam Controller is built around a new generation of super-precise haptic feedback, employing dual linear resonant actuators. These small, strong, weighted electro-magnets are attached to each of the dual trackpads. They are capable of delivering a wide range of force and vibration, allowing precise control over frequency, amplitude, and direction of movement.

Valve will be displaying their new prototype at this years Game Developers Conference!

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