Valve has made its third announcement this week, after first announcing the SteamOS and the Steam Machines. Today it has announced the Steam Controller, which will be used to control the Steam Machines. Steam Machines are basically modified PCs which will allow people to play games on their TV, while competing with conventional consoles like the PlayStation and Xbox in the process. Steam Controller looks like a normal controller, except that its not. It has two clickable trackpads with resolution which “approaches that of a desktop mouse.”
The controller has been designed to work with all past, present and future Steam games. So titles which weren’t built with controller support will be playable as well, they’ll be fooled into believing that the they’re being played with a keyboard and a mouse. There’s a high resolution touch screen in the center of the Steam Controller. The entire screen is clickable, so it acts as one large button. It can also be programmed by developers using the API to use it as a scrolling menu, radial dial and to provide secondary information like a map. The controller also has haptic sensors which offer “super-precise” haptic feedback. According to Valve, not only do the sensors relay physical information, they’re also capable of playing audio waveforms and function as speakers. Valve Steam Controller has 16 buttons which game developers can configure according to their needs. The API will be provided for free to developers when Steam Machines beta goes live later this year.