Valve’s spoiled us at this year’s GDC, with Steam Machines, HTC Vive and Source 2 getting us more than a little excited. The company also promised us a look at the final version of the Steam Controller, and while it wasn’t flaunting itself on the show floor, we were invited behind closed doors to give the new pad a whirl.
This is meant to be the final version, although Valve hinted that there might be a couple of tiny tweaks made before now and launch.
But this is pretty much the real deal, and will ship alongside the Steam Machines in November.
As you can see, Valve has kept its haptic feedback pads intact, while a more traditional thumbstick remains on the left hand side, adjacent to the face buttons. Then you’ve got two shoulder buttons, two buttons and then two “paddle” buttons on the inside of each wing.
Valve’s idea is that its controller emulates a mouse and keyboard. You’ll use the right pad almost like a mouse track ball – it even feels like one as you scroll your thumb across it – but Valve wants you to customise the controller as you wish.
Those pads take a little bit of getting used to. The left one has a D-pad indent, which, again, you’ll be able to map commands to.
The Steam Controller has been through a number of changes since it first showed up in 2013. We’re not yet entirely convinced the haptic pads will be the viable mouse replacement we’ve been hoping for, but we’re looking forward to being proven wrong when the controller lands later in the year.
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