New Steam Controller Design Adds Analog Stick -- Report

A new image suggests that the Steam Controller will get a traditional analogue stick in addition to its innovative track pads.

An image of a new design for Valve’s Steam Controller suggests that it will include an analogue stick.

Previous versions of the controller we saw included only buttons and its signature dual circular trackpads that players will manipulate using their thumbs. The trackpads are also clickable, turning the entire surface into a button. In the image above, an analogue stick replaces the four directional button beneath the left track pad.

The image, first spotted by Steam Database, wasn’t confirmed as an official design by Valve. However, it seems credible seeing as how the image surfaced following a Steam client update. If you’re participating in the Steam client beta and downloaded the latest update, you’ll be able to find the image on your computer under the Steam\tenfoot\resource\images\library folder.

The last time we saw the in-development Steam Controller, it hadn't changed much from the initial prototype we saw last September. The controller is rumored to go on sale sometime this fall, though Valve has yet to confirm its availability.

If the latest Steam Controller design looks like the image above, we might get to see it at Gamescom 2014, which takes place August 13-17 in Cologne, Germany. A listing on the Gamescom website states that "Valve Corporation" will have a presence at the show, and that its booth will include "controllers."

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg and Google+.

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Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer in search of the Citizen Kane of burritos.

Discussion

140 comments
vegasdan30
vegasdan30

There's a lot of things that can be done best with a joystick.  I get the 4 extra buttons, but with macros and dual button mapping I think it could handle a lot without having to move your thumb to the d pad.  This ain't for people who love the key mouse.  This is to bring in new customers who like couches. There is an army of dudes testing this everyday, so I'm willing to reserve judgement at least until I get to see the damn thing in action.


BlendThree
BlendThree

After watching reviews if the original design by beta testers on Youtube, maybe this isn't such a bad idea after all :\  Sounds like the ringed circles alone left a lot to be desired... even if they did make the thing look conspicuously like Nite Owl's ship in Watchmen.

bu3aDeL_Maz
bu3aDeL_Maz

whats the use of the left track pad if an analog stick is there?


they should drop the analog stick and add a D-pad, i prefer using the D-pad in menus and in fighting games like MK. 

in the end, I will keep using my PS4, PS3, X360 and Xone controllers  whenever a keyboard and a mouse does not fit a certain game... again like MK. 


Yes I play MK a lot on my PS3 and PC and yes I use each of those controllers

squall_83
squall_83

I think this is a smart move. Using that track pad for movement just seems like a really bad idea. I would only want to use it for mouse look.

MHzBurglar
MHzBurglar

Valve, just ditch that stupid stick, replace it with a D-pad that's as at least as good as the one on the Xbox One controller and you'll have yourself a winner. (though aim for pre-Gamecube Nintendo D-Pad quality if you can.)


I'm willing to buy your concept that the trackpads can be used as analog inputs at face value for now.  Just give me some proper digital control, please!  This analog stick is not only redundant, but makes it look like you have no faith in the very concept upon which this controller was originally designed.

Sophette
Sophette

With every new iteration, this controller becomes less unique and more in line with a standard console controller.

quickshooterMk2
quickshooterMk2

buttons,buttons buttons! 


more buttons, the more options 

i like it! 

Gamer_4_Fun
Gamer_4_Fun

I prefer they sticked to what they were doing which was innovative and different. As this design makes it just like any game controller.

hotwog21
hotwog21

terrible, thumbstick is too far away from the edge to be comfortable.

obsequies
obsequies

OK..that's crap. It needs a d-pad. What if the thumbpads were able to move on a joint to simulate stick resistance? It's a far stretch but it's original 

ecurl143
ecurl143

lol - this almost looks like a 'design by committee' product with neither side being able to decide in which direction to go in.

I do wonder how much money has been spent 'redesigning' this gamepad when the end results looks pretty standard.

Crazy stuff.

XNEXUS666X
XNEXUS666X

Looks good, I still like analog sticks and don't need a mouse to make aiming easier for me, but hoping this improves on the current controllers and maybe even revolutionize.

PS2fweak
PS2fweak

I would rather have an analog stick where the left tackpad is and a traditional d-pad, or even just buttons(previous design) where the analog is on the current design. A touchpad manipulated by the thumb is actually extremely precise and as close to a mouse as you're going to get, but I only like it for camera control/aim. Movement with an analog stick works perfectly, so I just don't get why they would have another trackpad for the left side. 


The combination of analog and trackpad on the left seems redundant anyways. Games require the use of so many buttons, so it's hard to see why we need two dedicated movement inputs, when the d-pad or buttons could do double duty much easier IMO.  

gamefreak215jd
gamefreak215jd

Hopefully it'll look better than the first prototype.

mdign
mdign

This controller is going to be a handful... it's starting to remind me of the Nintendo 64 controller.

archav3n
archav3n

It's looking more sexy day by day...

Veenox
Veenox

I hate gamers unable to evolve, we're going in cercles since the PlayStation 2 Era... Nintendo have always tried to be different but in the end look where they are now...

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

Well, if we're just gluing analog sticks to things now, why not try putting one on a mouse... I'll bet with a few more buttons on the side you could play most games one handed... leaving the other hand completely free to type horrible messages to each other.

jinzo9988
jinzo9988

Honestly I would've preferred a d-pad over a joystick... but I'm sure I'm the minority here.  Actually my preference would be two sticks and a d-pad, but whatever.  I respect them trying to deal with games that work better on a keyboard and mouse than they do on a gamepad, especially considering that it's pretty much the same platform as far as peripherals go, but please recognize that for people who are busting out gamepads for PC games right now, they're doing that because they want a joystick and/or d-pad and buttons because it plays better that way.  That doesn't need to be refined.  The joystick helps, but it would certainly drive me nuts not having a d-pad for a 2D platformer or something like that.

Come out with a second model with the traditional two sticks and a d-pad and I'll be a happy camper.

Joe51187
Joe51187

A big step in the right direction!

Guest1001
Guest1001

Those track pads look really unpleasant to me. I can picture all kinds of input problems with those compared to analog sticks.

XBlade1X
XBlade1X

If this is real, good choice, you have now made your controller great for many more genres of games than it was originally designed for.

I will be keeping my eye out for this for sure.

mattcake
mattcake

Still looks like an owl's head.

jigar7
jigar7

@squall_83 yep... ever since they announced it... I was just wondering how tedious it would be to just keep pushing the thumb over & over again to move in a particular direction (FPS/Third person etc).. don't know why no one noticed it till now... shows how "talented" these designers are!

Dragon_Nexus
Dragon_Nexus

@Gamer_4_Fun Innovation is one thing, but if it doesn't improve functionality it's useless.

There's a reason we've stuck to the analogue stick for nearly 20 years.

xbr85
xbr85

@robbiejones The right trackpad will probably substitute for the missing stick. It has the potential to be a much more precise way of aiming in FPS games than a regular stick.

play-doh_25
play-doh_25

@ecurl143 The controller design is getting better and better. The physical controllers we've seen have still been prototypes. They've just been showing us the concept which looks really interesting and unique. When the final is released, it will be of a greater quality and look more polished.

Acillatem1993
Acillatem1993

@ecurl143 Probably not as much as the xone controler which apparently cost millions or billions to design.

xbr85
xbr85

@PS2fweak It might play a big role in RTS games where one trackpad quickly moves the screen and the other moves the cursor.

mr_nee
mr_nee

@Veenox gamers will evolve when evolution offered is better than what we have now

thesilverape
thesilverape

@jinzo9988 The touch pad could be used like a D-pad. If they come out with a traditional two stick then what's the point?

elheber
elheber

@jigar7 @squall_83 That's not how it works. You just hold your thumb in place to move in one direction. Or were you being sarcastic?

elheber
elheber

The reason we've stuck with analogs for so long is because nothing better had been invented. Once something better does, will you also still insist on dual analog?

K+M is arguably better than dual analog for the types of games that are usually exclusive to PC. Steam's controller was to be K+M in a gamepad. We are losing "keyboard keys" for a function already present in the trackpad. I don't need two analog inputs for one thumb when playing FTL.

MHzBurglar
MHzBurglar

@thesilverape @jinzo9988

The touchpad will never function as a proper D-pad as it's an analog input and a D-pad is digital.  That's like saying that the left stick on a PS3/PS4/X360/X1 controller can be used like a d-pad.  Sure, it can move your character around, but it's an analog input and therefore isn't as responsive or accurate.  By their very nature, analog controls are lousy for platformers and fighters as those games require a static on/off state from a specific directional input rather than an approximate direction at a certain pressure.  The design and feel are also important.  You need your d-pad to be solid, not shifty.  You need it to be clicky and responsive, not soft and slidy.  The tactile response is also very important and neither an analog stick nor a trackpad can provide that to the same degree. (for reference, the Xbox360 D-Pad is considered by many to be lousy because it lacks some of these tactile traits.)

jigar7
jigar7

@elheber @jigar7 @squall_83 Ooops! My bad... wasn't being sarcastic.. never thought it could be used as a 4 way controller by holding down along the circumference... but it would still be a lot easier to push the D Pad in a particular direction rather than holding down the thumb...

Dragon_Nexus
Dragon_Nexus

@elheber Personally I'm not convinced by the touch pad thing. You need some kind of feedback to understand the differences in movement instead of smearing a thumb around a disk.


The control stick pre-dates the dual shock, even, with RC cars. There's a reason James Bond driving a car with a touch pad was a freakin stupid idea.


Resting my thumb on a certain point on a touch pad to signify motion feels like needless tinkering to me. We already have something that does that job and I doubt the touch pad will do it better. If I'm wrong, hey, I'll admit to being wrong. But as of right now, I really don't see the benefit other than "Ohh, it's new!

elheber
elheber

@Dragon_Nexus @elheber I'm not convinced either, D_N. But if they've invented something they believe in, they may as well go all-in with it. We have consoles with analog sticks. We have controllers with analog sticks. Nobody needs the Steam Machine to be all things to all men, we just need it to play PC games (especially PC exclusives) in a console form factor.


If you want to play with analog sticks, all you have to do is plug in a PC gamepad that has dual analogs. But if I want to play FTL, StarCraft 2, Wildstar or any other PC exclusive that has tons of key bindings, then I've just lost buttons I could have mapped to key commands and gained nothing for the new analog stick.

Dragon_Nexus
Dragon_Nexus

@elheber @Dragon_Nexus Thing is, if you're saying games that don't benefit from KB/M setup, like platformers for example, would benefit from a controller, we already have the 360 controller. For anything else, wouldn't people prefer a KB/M? Pretty sure top Starcraft people aren't going to switch to this.

elheber
elheber

@Dragon_Nexus @elheber Definitely. But you don't have a K+M when sitting on a couch in front of your TV. That's where the Steam controller comes in.