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Did Valve Redesign The Steam Controller Again?

Image: ValveTime

Waiting to get your hands on an official Steam Machine but have been waiting for the controller to ship? Us, too. Over a year has passed since the introduction of the Valve-designed Steam Controller, which is a key ingredient in the Steam Machine recipe. Vendors can't ship a Steam Machine without it, thus they're forced to release their solutions early and packed with an Xbox controller or similar solution.

So when will Valve's Software's controller be ready for the masses? As it stands now, the device may never see the light of day. The controller was originally set for a 2014 release, but thanks to tons of feedback from the beta participants, Valve decided to delay its release to 2015. The controller also saw its first redesign in July, and now an image supplied with the most recent Steam beta shows yet another design change.

According to the previous layout, the controller included two touch pads, an analog stick on the left and the four ABXY buttons on the right. Also included were Stop and Play media buttons, two shoulder buttons, two trigger buttons, and two buttons on the sides labeled "LG" and "RG." The new layout doesn't stray far from that design.

On Tuesday ValveTime reported that it discovered a new image of the controller in the latest Steam Client update. The site points out that the left touch pad now includes a four-point directional guide. The image doesn't label the new feature, so its official purpose is unknown as of this writing. However, we assume that the left touch pad will offer a more accurate means to in-game movement than if the company merely offered a standard D-Pad.

Valve's quest to make a revolutionary controller seems to have taken a step back, becoming more like an Xbox controller as we get closer to 2015. Sure, the touch pads are unique to the controller form factor, but given that we don't have access to the "beta" device, we can't say this type of input is better than what's already offered on store shelves. The addition of an analog stick shows that we're not ready to discard the designs we've been accustomed to for decades.

Given that it's the end of 2014, we expect to see the controller undergo even more design changes before it's released to the masses in 2015. Based on the most recent image, the controller looks like it should be done and ready for gamers. However, the beta participants may disagree.

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  • Lutfij
    The good; we get a refined product

    The bad: more time waiting
    Reply
  • iam2thecrowe
    The good; we get a refined product

    The bad: more time waiting
    using logitechs f710 wireless controller and works just fine....
    Reply
  • T_h_e_S_k_u_l_l
    Any asymmetric design is total c**p AFAIC, this is why i hate XBox controllers (i'm left handed);
    Reply
  • Lutfij
    iam2thecrowe,
    I personally own two wired (xbox and razer) and 1 wireless xbox controllers and they are perfect for what I do, I'm also right handed but what threw me off was the two touch pads...I was amazed by the demo's and I wanted it bad.

    Only time will tell how this will shape up ... :'(
    Reply
  • ubercake
    I like the touch idea for the main controls. Sticks on the Xbox and other consoles are so clunky compared to a mouse. It seems like the touch pads on the Steam controller would give you more mouse-like precision. I will definitely pick one of these up once they are released if for nothing more than the science of it.
    Reply
  • DokuroKM
    Any asymmetric design is total c**p AFAIC, this is why i hate XBox controllers (i'm left handed);
    That is something I never understood. I'm left handed myself, as are some of my colleague. Only one of us actually uses the mouse with the left hand and even he hasn't a problem with the asymmetric layout of todays controller...

    Can you describe what your problem is?
    Reply
  • dovah-chan
    I'm left handed as well. I use my mouse with the right hand and find the 360 controller to be very comfy.
    Reply
  • Lutfij
    Ubercake,
    My sentiments exactly! :)
    Reply
  • Haravikk
    I'm still confused by the product; it now has two touch-pads plus an analogue stick… why? If you need to put an analogue stick on then it implies the touch-pads aren't any good which sends a bit of a mixed message.

    I'm also disappointed by the traditional button placement; since you're using your thumb tips to move it should be possible to place buttons below each touch-pad to be squeezed with the "heel" of your thumb, eliminating the need to lift your thumbs from the controls (with practice and the right engineering behind the buttons you may not even interrupt control at all). This could also let them enlarge the touch-pads.

    I'd also like to see the triggers on controllers be the topmost of the front buttons (for use with index fingers) with other "shoulder" buttons lower down, ideally at least two on each side (as I can use my middle and ring fingers separately), or even three per side, as less common controls could still be used by moving a finger.

    But yeah, a good controller shouldn't require you to lift you fingers/thumbs from controls to press other controls, except maybe for things like media and menu buttons of course.
    Reply
  • ubercake
    14841295 said:
    I'm still confused by the product; it now has two touch-pads plus an analogue stick… why? If you need to put an analogue stick on then it implies the touch-pads aren't any good which sends a bit of a mixed message.

    I'm also disappointed by the traditional button placement; since you're using your thumb tips to move it should be possible to place buttons below each touch-pad to be squeezed with the "heel" of your thumb, eliminating the need to lift your thumbs from the controls (with practice and the right engineering behind the buttons you may not even interrupt control at all). This could also let them enlarge the touch-pads.

    I'd also like to see the triggers on controllers be the topmost of the front buttons (for use with index fingers) with other "shoulder" buttons lower down, ideally at least two on each side (as I can use my middle and ring fingers separately), or even three per side, as less common controls could still be used by moving a finger.

    But yeah, a good controller shouldn't require you to lift you fingers/thumbs from controls to press other controls, except maybe for things like media and menu buttons of course.

    The additional stick would likely control its own set of options like a D-pad on the 360 or One controller.

    I definitely do like the idea about putting the trigger higher than the bumpers. Seems more practical. You could fire with your index finger on shooters and still have the middle finger ready with bumper/button option. Good idea.
    Reply