Steam Controller Makes its Debut, Replaces Joysticks with Trackpads


What you see above isn't a prototype of a future controller, it's what Valve is calling the Steam Controller, a revolutionary input device thoughtfully designed to merge past, present, and future.

The Steam Controller will be included with all Steam Machines and the Steam Box and features an unorthodox design with two trackpads instead of analog sticks. Not only are the pads said to be incredibly precise—like that of a mouse—, but each also serves as a button. A trackpad has been inserted right in the middle which will function as an input for menus, game interaction, and more, similar to the PS4's DualShock 4.

Most odd is its button layout. So much real estate on the controller is dedicated to the trackpads that each button has been placed at the inner edge of the directional inputs. This will undoubtedly take some getting used to, but given their closer proximity than conventional controllers could prove revolutionary.

In order to allow the controller to play the entire Steam library, which includes legacy games that don't support gamepads, a legacy mode has been designed. In essence, it gives each input a keyboard or mouse equivalent operation so no game is exempt from working with the Steam Box's living room focused design.

It's certainly a bold design on Valve's part, but they've never been a company that adheres to the rules of other designers. With fewer moving parts the controller might also have more longevity than its counterparts.

So, what do you think? Let us know in the comments below.