Valve Reveals the Hackable, Touch-Enabled Steam Controller

Valve has revealed the Steam Controller, a wireless gamepad that features a touch screen flanked by two large trackpads

The game developer has finally announced its new product – the Steam Controller that’s intended to “bridge the gap from the desk to the living room.” Photo: Valve

After weeks of rumors, Valve finally completed its trilogy of announcements by unveiling the Steam Controller, a wireless gamepad that sports a touch screen in the center flanked by two trackpads, writes Gizmag.

“We’ve fooled those older games into thinking they’re being played with a keyboard and mouse,” Valve said in its announcement.

“Whole genres of games that were previously only playable with a keyboard and mouse are now accessible from the sofa,” Valve added. “In addition, games like first-person shooters that are designed around precise aiming within a large visual field now benefit from the trackpads’ high resolution and absolute position control.”

So, users will soon be able to enjoy not only the upcoming SteamOS and Steam Machines, but also a wide range of games, all played with PC-like controls.

When speaking of the just unveiled steam controller, it should be noted that its trackpads practically resembles the precision of a standard mouse, thus, allowing the gamepad to accommodate every genre of gaming.

“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,” said Valve.

“Each trackpad is fitted with a linear resonant actuator, which provides a high level of haptic feedback that game developers can use to enhance a player’s experience,” writes Gizmag.

The game developer insists that the trackpads can vibrate and even play some simple audio tracks, and they can also be pressed down to act as individual buttons.

The touch screen, located in the very center of the controller, show high-quality images and supports numerous motions, though to choose an action it will need to be clicked down like a button.

“This allows a player to touch the screen, browse available actions, and only then commit to the one they want,” said the game developer when announcing the device.

“Players can swipe through pages of actions in games where that’s appropriate. When programmed by game developers using our API, the touch screen can work as a scrolling menu, a radial dial, provide secondary info like a map or use other custom input modes we haven’t thought of yet.”

“In order to avoid forcing players to divide their attention between screens, a critical feature of the Steam Controller comes from its deep integration with Steam. When a player touches the controller screen, its display is overlayed on top of the game they’re playing, allowing the player to leave their attention squarely on the action, where it belongs.”

The controller has a “legacy mode” that converts it into keyboard-and-mouse mode so gamers “can use the configuration tool to create and share bindings for their favorite games” and then “choose from a list of the most popular configurations.”

The just unveiled steam controller is part of the same Steam Machines beta, and the device is promised to work with any version of Steam, not just Steam Machines.

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