Valve replaces Steam Machine controller touchscreen with physical buttons

Valve reveals a new mock-up at Steam Dev Days that gets rid of the touchscreen in favor of a more traditional design.

UPDATE: We acquired an image of the non-final controller being handed out to Steam Dev Days attendees. It's identical to the controller Valve demoed at CES. The area in the middle where the touchscreen would be is a grid of four buttons.

As you can see from the mock-up controller, the design is still going through a pretty radical change.

The new controller
The original design

The original story appears below:

Valve's Steam controller is getting a slight redesign and it isn't even out yet. According to posts from Steam Database, the Steam controller is eschewing a central touchpad in favor of two sets of physical buttons. You can see the new mock-up and the original design in the controllers above.

The controller will use two AA batteries, and the blog says that Valve is "keeping VR in mind while developing the controller."

Valve is currently hosting the developer-only event Steam Dev Days in Seattle. Attendees were given their own prototype controller in a goodie bag, and they will also receive a Gigabyte Steam Machine.

Written By

Senior Editor, Earthbound fan, and snazzy dresser.

Discussion

414 comments
devilzzz2014
devilzzz2014

Removing the touch screen? Was it done because of the lack of success with the Wii U?

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

I kind of like the look of the original design more, but those touch pads still weird me out.  Awaiting further review(s) and some hands-on experience with this crazy thing.

UKFX
UKFX

Stop trying to reinvent the wheel Valve... you failed the first time, failed the second time (this time) and you will fail again. A standard analogue stick controller is about as good as whatever you're going to make. The touch pads are nothing short of a gimmick and function more or less the same, since you haven't the space to swipe your thumb far enough for it to mimmick mouse movement (thus you must swipe, move your thumb back, and repeat) and Steam machines is just a cross between... well, a PC in a more space-saving size on an unproven OS. Valve don't even make them, so they take a slice of the money from Steam Machine sellers. Just like they do by ruining games like TF2 and CSGO. Taking other peoples' ideas and selling them off without actually creating anything new for themselves.


Mouse and Keyboard, another thing that doesn't need reinventing. A standard Xbox or Dual Shock 4 controller would be perfectly fine with a Steam Machine "console".

(Note, I like Steam, but I'm starting to dislike Valve as the business side of the company is showing itself more and more over the years).


wookiez
wookiez

ugliest controller ive ever seen. looks like a ghetto blaster with hand grips

SipahSalar
SipahSalar

Gaben is a billionaire, do you still like him fanboys?

bruta
bruta

does it vibrate when you think of Gaben ??

Slash_out
Slash_out

" Valve's Steam controller is getting a slight redesign and it isn't even out yet."

Isn't the time to redesign and experiment before the product is released? <_<

After all, they always said that the controller was a prototype... What's surprising about it changing over time?


Anyways, the redesign is better. The controller will have a longer battery life without a touch screen, and as they said, with VR it will be more practical, if players use the Occulus (for exemple) the touch screen will become un-useable since you won't be able to look at it, unless it is just one single button (so that no matter where you press it does the same thing).

So I'm all for it.

vadagar1
vadagar1

now they look like nipples :D

GameYakuza
GameYakuza

is valve becoming the vaporware company? first half life 3, then their VR headset that might never be released, now this controller that keeps going back and forth...

WA31988
WA31988

Dear valve, drop this whole steam OS/machine nonsense coz obviously you have no idea what you're doing and you don't seem confident with any decisions you've been making regarding that so far. 

Steam OS is only a Linux distribution that stream games of windows OS, with no real purpose so far except to push your big mode into the living room which fyi needs a LOT of work. Steam machines are regular over priced mini sized PC's with a "Steam Machine" sticker on it, might as well just go build your own to suit your needs best with a massively lower cost.


So, please just go home, and think of new ways to bring us better game deals and sales on your current service as it seems to me that is the only thing you've managed to do right. don't get cocky now getting involved in a market that is not your game to begin with. You might end up losing tons of money because of this and that will definitely reflects badly on your game deals.

LE5LO
LE5LO

Q: What the F$_% is the point of a 'Steam Machine'?To invade living rooms with big picture mode? We can already do that with 2 in one TV/PC monitors, currently the only downside is being stuck with a less compact box, however the more beneficial upside is I use my TV/PC monitor and PC for many other things besides gaming. I'm at a loss to see why I should get one. Looks like this is aimed at console kids that want a slightly more affordable upgrade than what I've mentioned above.


LE5LO
LE5LO

It still has those stupid damn pads on it that no serious gamer is going to dig,

please just put a couple of analogue sticks on it,

Lastly, "The controller will use two AA batteries"...oh gawd, I'll take the wired version any day because the latency matters to me.

It's like its been designed by hipsters with no damn idea...you cant reinvent the wheel.

Numbuh277
Numbuh277

you can use any controller with the steam machine...

this is another option


ThatAngryMan
ThatAngryMan

put a half life 3 sticker on it and everyone will go nuts on getting one, guarantee

Impaler722
Impaler722

If I could use a mouse and keyboard with the new steam machines, I would get one.

dlb2000
dlb2000

How come no one has copied & improved Sega Dreamcasts controller. That VMU was a sick idea

Phazevariance
Phazevariance

Xbone controller is top dog followed by 360 then ds4 then ds3 in that order!

kye-mc
kye-mc

Dualshock 4 is now officially top dog

flashn00b
flashn00b

I'm still worried about the right hand face buttons. Haven't we learned that virtual buttons were a bad idea on the Iphone? Do we really need a controller designed around this bad idea to send a message to the world that emulating buttons on a trackpad/touchscreen is a bad idea?

pa_amb_tomaquet
pa_amb_tomaquet

they still need to get rid of the the touch pad thumb pads and it might function as a controller.

helldragonzer
helldragonzer

The could have kept the touch pad, It's working for the PS4 so far, but my issue is the ABYX buttons, games that require the use of those in fast sequence might be an issue to play with.

Mraou
Mraou

It still looks so ugly, but I think it's so much better than the POS original design. I would actually consider buying one.

WeWerePirates
WeWerePirates

So like a regular controller for any of the consoles, with swipe pads instead of thumb sticks and inferior button placement...


Would have been easier, cheaper and more effective for Valve to pressure developers to support 360 pads.

wyan_
wyan_

The coolest and most interesting thing about this article is that they are "keeping VR in mind while developing the controller." Good! I love 3D on my 65", but I know VR will be far better. I can hardly wait for VR to gain some momentum.

Tremblay343
Tremblay343

@UKFX The point of the controller is to be able to play PC games that require a mouse and keyboard, it's not supposed to replace a regular controller, although I'm sure it'd be able to do that just fine.

mr_nee
mr_nee

@UKFX They do it to replace the mouse, otherwise there's no point

bloody-hell
bloody-hell

@UKFXI'm just curious, what did they fail with 2 times in your opinion ?

I'll reserve judgement about the controllers until I've actually tried them myself, but as I'm from time to time gaming on the notebook when I'm traveling and got used to using the touchpad, I see no problem with having 2 and them being built with gaming in mind.

You're right about the Steam Machines being PCs in smaller form factors, so what ? It's not like they weren't absolutely clear about that, they're not marketed to be some "magic supreme box" that makes everything more awesome - they're just PCs with SteamOS on them.

Not sure what you're targeting with "unproven OS" - If you mean SteamOS then well, no shit, it's barely even out yet. If you mean Linux, then there's quite a few IT people wanting to have a word with you.

As for controller choice, if you so insist in using a XBox, PS4 or 3rd party controller, then by all means do it, they'll work on the Steam Machine too. (XBox controller does already, not sure about the PS4 one but support for the rest should be in soon too)

silvertoof
silvertoof

@Slash_out yep. I agree, you need physical buttons, it sounds like a cool idea for a only a brief second until you realize you are 99% of the time not even looking at your controller.

Kunakai
Kunakai

@GameYakuza My guess would be that their just responding to consumer feedback. Valve haven't ever announced anything they've not released- not sure where 'vaporware' fits into this.

Lpedraja2002
Lpedraja2002

@WA31988 You lack vision mate.  If Valve had your attitude Steam wouldn't be what it was today and back then it was really a revolutionary concept, they did it right with their prices and have improved Steam beyond what was thought possible, you should show more enthusiasm, these guys know what they're doing.  Also, you need to read up more on the whole Windows 8 fiasco and why Newell reacted to it, then you'll understand their move to Steam Machines.

silvertoof
silvertoof

@Numbuh277 @LE5LOI know right, people cannot stand having options for some reason, it's either this or that, how stupid do you have to be, assuming they are not just trolling. Game pads are awesome for action games, but suck for RTS games, having the best of both is what I've always wanted, especially since I moved to Macs and don't give a flying po op about MS anymore.

LE5LO
LE5LO

@Numbuh277I hope so, if we're stuck with this atrocity (instead of one with two analogue sticks) they've lost my interest.

amafi
amafi

@flashn00b I really think they need to just get away from the whole idea of making it symmetrical. If lefties can't deal, make a leftie version of the thing.

bu3aDeL_Maz
bu3aDeL_Maz

@quickshooterMk2also, my finger always slips from the B button -.-

bu3aDeL_Maz
bu3aDeL_Maz

@quickshooterMk2i really don't know what you people see in the 360 controller. it hurts my hands when I play for a while, i like the analog sticks and the triggers tho, as for the rest, I prefer the ps3 controller.


and now PS4 controller is the best (didn't touch the xbone one yet)

jcknapier711
jcknapier711

@mr_nee @UKFX I saw a video that demonstrates how the touch pads can be used.  But I doubt that many developers would make use out of them.  It's kind of like how no devs used the analog buttons on the DS3 controller.   They sound good, but nobody made use out of them.


But there is a point, it's just that I doubt they will get proper use.  It's sort of the way Nintendo makes a controller that only they really make use out of it.  Also similar to the way driving games are really popular, but how many people actually buy the steering wheel controllers?

WA31988
WA31988

@Lpedraja2002the industry is going to the wrong direction and the main reason to that is everybody's getting greedy and the mislead gamers who think those firms actually care. Everybody just want a piece of everything and Steam's no exception. they just wanna a piece of the console market no matter how. I can't claim Steam machines will fail already but none of what they r doing will benefit the gamer no matter how they fancy word it.

Yes, i like the idea of windows being kicked in the balls, coz Microsoft is being one of the worst out there. But valve ain't gonna be much better IF what they try to force on gamers actually work. it's another windows-like-resitrictions OS, only it got valve logo on it and mainly streams games of windows and people r getting excited for that

amafi
amafi

@Lpedraja2002  You mean how Gabe was all "ehrmegerd, microsoft will only allow software sales through the app store!!" because he's retarded a little bit? It's been out for like a year now and still no hint of that shit happening. No hint before either. 

bu3aDeL_Maz
bu3aDeL_Maz

@davvyk@Pr0ving4Gr0undzduh! people will want to get a selfie with it when it's out....

amafi
amafi

@Impaler722 @darkrayne If it's got linux drivers you can use it with steam OS. If you install windows on the steam machine you can obviously use any peripheral that supports windows.

It's just a PC.