Valve Announces The Steam Controller

Valve had let us know last week that the company will make three major announcements this week. Out of the three, two (the first one made on Monday, the second one on Wednesday), had already been made. And we naturally expected Half Life 3 to be the third (like we always do each time Valve is about to make an announcement), but as it turns out (to our utter disappoint), it isn't the case yet again.

Moving on from our grievances, Valve has made their third and final announcement for this week (Friday), and it is the "Steam Controller" which is a controller for the company's recently announced living room based PC-gaming console. Instead of the traditional thumbsticks, Valve decided to put two trackpads, both of which are clickable and offer a resolution which comes close to that of a desktop mouse. The entire motive behind this is to make your PC games work just as well using a controller, while you sit on your couch and munch on Lays on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

"The trackpads allow far higher fidelity input than has previously been possible with traditional handheld controllers."

"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."

At the center is a high-resolution touch screen panel which can be used control and navigation through menus and Steam OS (we figured). Also, apart from packing haptic sensors to provide accurate haptic feedback to players, the Steam Controller has in total 16 buttons. As for the API that will let game developers map their games to be playable using Valve's new controller, it will be made available later this year when Steam Machines beta goes live. The good news is, it will be free to all developers.

The buttons have been laid out "been placed based on frequency of use, precision required and ergonomic comfort." So don't you just think that they haphazardly placed 16 buttons left, right and center. A lot of careful thought has been put in. Additionally, the Steam Controller has been "designed from the ground up to be hackable." Valve will assuredly make available tools "that will enable users to participate in all aspects of the experience, from industrial design to electrical engineering. We can't wait to see what you come up with." Sadly, the controller isn't wireless. Thus, you'll have to stay within a limited distance from your Steam Machine (depending on the length of the USB cable).

This is the last of Valve's three major announcements, all of which were scheduled for this week. Interested in beta testing the Valve Controller? Sign up for it right away using your Steam account.