Here's the latest Steam Controller prototype

Valve's latest prototype includes Xbox 360-style A,B,X,Y buttons.

The controller on the left is the new one

Today Valve released a new image of the latest iteration of its Steam Controller prototype. It remains similar in form factor to the version originally announced in September, but now two diamond-patterned button layouts have been added to the area previously reserved for a touch-screen display.

That's not to say the Steam Controller's touch functionality has gone away. It hasn't. The new analog buttons now complement the controller's two touch pads. How the new button layout affects ease of use remains to be seen.

The new Steam Controller prototype will be on display at Valve's booth at the 2014 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco next week. We'll be sure to try it out.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

214 comments
naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

I'm not saying it's going to be great, but I'm really, really interested to try it out.

praneet1
praneet1

Why are they trying to not make this look like the Xbox controller? Just copy the layout already!

jimmy_russell
jimmy_russell

Something that really bothers me about Xbox controllers, too. Using English letters for buttons is so stupid, what about the 100's of other languages that people know? Better off using symbols like Sony did with their controller, that would have been a lot more thoughtful.

jimmy_russell
jimmy_russell

Wow, this thing looks cheaply made. I thought PC gamers were all about the highest quality. Just look at those buttons compared to the average console controller. They look cheap.

groowagon
groowagon

i'm not feeling the "D-pad" on this. seems like it works as a random inventory-fiddler as it's used in most modern games, but it might not work so well in legacy-style fighting or platfoming games.

Nepti
Nepti

The controller is a good effort to get it practical to play PC games on the couch. But if the industry bends toward the whole idea of a 'PC Gamebox' I fear game input will be reduced to what the controller has to offer rather than what a Keyboard/Mouse can offer. Playing Skyrim with this controller might not be too bad. But is there a tilde button on the controller so you can access the game's console? Stuff like that *might* be hard to replicate on a controller with far fewer buttons than a keyboard+mouse.

PS2fweak
PS2fweak

A tackpad can be extremely precise, especially with your thumb, so I don't mind that on the right. I don't understand why there would be one on the left though? I rather have a traditional thumbstick for movement. 

bunchanumbers
bunchanumbers

I would have preferred if a trackball was in the right touch pad but otherwise I like the design.

DrKill09
DrKill09

Still looks like a boombox.

jark888
jark888

I only worry about how practical the new directional buttons would be. Xbox One's D pad seems ideal.


XNEXUS666X
XNEXUS666X

Trying to reinvent the wheel, just wait, the final version will have thumb sticks.

cracka123
cracka123

If you're that serious about fighting games, look into getting an arcade pad.

I'm hoping it works well with FPS/RTS. I think the success of the controller will depend not only on the hardware, but also on the game developers. If they really like it and create a control scheme focused around it, this could succeed.

It'll be really interesting to see how it pairs up with the Oculus Rift.

Joe51187
Joe51187

I really like the look of the controller and I really want it to work great and succeed but I just don't see it taking off; and it doesn't look comfortable to hold either.

fillup0
fillup0

The directional buttons would be better as a Nintendo style Dpad

gamefreak215jd
gamefreak215jd

No problem with the touch pads but I think the other buttons are awkwardly placed.

TheLordsbeacon
TheLordsbeacon

Smart.  Now you can play 2D games without track-pads.

Fabian85
Fabian85

Dont expect it to work well for fighting games. But should be better then 360 controller for almost everything else. Really hate thumbsticks so inaccurate.

Maverick6585
Maverick6585

I feel like the touchpads are good for a lot of games, but not so much for shooters. Feels like you won't know when to stop, like when you're playing a shooter on your phone

ECH71
ECH71

Over 15 years of mouse + keyboard accuracy supremacy -- I don't think a gamepad with trackpads is going to suddenly top that.


Still not 100% convinced it's a game changer.

NoodleFighter
NoodleFighter

I wish they kept the touch screen but still added the buttons, touch screen could of been really useful for MMOs and games with tons of commands.

bluedeathking
bluedeathking

What is with most people hating the track pads? I think they might be great and maybe better then analog sticks. We scream we want innovation but yet when someone try something new we are screaming at them that they should stay with something that is old and familiar to us. Then you guy don't understand why CoD is selling so well.

Bhemont
Bhemont

Kind of prefer standard analog 

obsequies
obsequies

the d-pad is made to look like the face buttons..it LOOKS nice that way but how does it feel when a person is playing? Not saying it feels worse but it could be possible. I'd try my hardest to rip-off the playstation d-pad if I were them or make the face buttons shaped like a d-pads ha

DarthMallrat
DarthMallrat

I already knew I wasn't buying this, but thanks for reinforcing that fact, GameSpot.


This thing is a joke. Valve is trying way too hard. It should be crystal clear at this point, to any company creating a gaming platform, that all we want is a well crafted, traditional controller.

shinspikes
shinspikes

Wish it had a real Dpad, similar to playstations, instead of 4 buttons resembling a dpad.

Gegglington
Gegglington

id rather have a system of intricate levers n pullys

Aletunda
Aletunda

@praneet1  Although I do agree that the Xbox configuration is the best, I think what Valve is aiming for is an ambidextrous controller, one that caters for both left and right handed players and not swaying towards one or the other

VastGameMaster
VastGameMaster

Sure, and they can go and get their lawyers ready to go to court while they're at it.

Nibroc420
Nibroc420

@jimmy_russell A, B, X and Y are not "English Letters" they're letters from the roman alphabet. Used by hundreds of languages.


You might as well be asking why all currencies have Arabic numerals, when there are hundreds of other languages.

groowagon
groowagon

@jimmy_russell  if you mean the old proto, yes. the new proto is on the left, and i think it looks about the same quality than any controller that new consoles have. that said, it's still just a proto.

DrKill09
DrKill09

@jark888  ...XBone's D pad is far from perfect.


Sega Saturn model 2 controller.  The best D pad around.

Meta_Dragon
Meta_Dragon

@cracka123  Track pads don't provide the best accuracy for RTS games. If you saw in that valve video demo where he is playing Civ 5, he has to move the mouse every so slight across the small buttons so he can actually press them. Not exactly intuitive. 

thesilverape
thesilverape

@fillup0  Maybe in fighting games like MK or SF it'd be easier, but with the "one piece" (or nintendo) dpad you run the risk of (and prolly will) clicking the wrong direction or clicking more than one direction at once. It's less precise than a Dpad with individual buttons.

Meta_Dragon
Meta_Dragon

@Fabian85  Thumbsticks inaccurate? Analog sticks provide the best feedback and best accuracy in any game controler. There is a reason why trackpads are not in style right now.

Gallowhand
Gallowhand

@ECH71   I don't think it is meant to supplant mouse and keyboard at all, but offer a more accurate alternative to existing gamepads, and at least make genres like RTS/TBS playable on a gamepad for people who want to sit back and chill.

MetalDragon199
MetalDragon199

@NoodleFighter two words: Roccat powergrid
turns your phone into one of those expensive keyboard with a screen for macros there are already a lot of grids for it and u can always make your own

Gallowhand
Gallowhand

@bluedeathking   Well, I'm looking forward to the track pads.  I've often thought that trackballs would be better than analogue sticks, but track pads might work just as well.

Shin_Gallon
Shin_Gallon

@shinspikes Playstation? Real d-pad? AAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAno. The Playstation d-pd has always been a thumb-destroying meat tenderizer. Japanese Sega Saturn pad, now THERE was a real d-pad.

jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

@VastGameMaster  No, it is not that bad. Yes they cannot copy the controller down to the screws but any input device can be shaped and molded just about any way imaginable including close forms. Now stuff like battery, wireless, rumble tech is still copyprotected but cannot sue someone for making a baseball glove that looks like your baseball glove, or an ax that is shaped like an ax. Nor can someone sue you because your phone has buttons in the same spot at anothers. or make a guitar in the same shape as a guitar.  


If all valve does is make a controller very similar to the 360 in the same shape, buttons etc it will be fine. but if they copy the design down to housing, screws, wires then yeah that is court ready. 

HasH101
HasH101

@groowagon @jimmy_russell  really...can you judge the quality of the buttons based on a picture of a prototype that was made in Maya or cinema 4d. Impressive.