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Valve’s Steam Controller and its haptic feedback could be a game changer

The Steam Controller is the latest from Valve Software. First was the announcement of Steam OS, followed by the Steam Machine. Now, is the turn of the Steam Controller, a futuristic game controller or gamepad designed to be a replacement for the traditional gaming keyboard and mouse.

The company has thus revealed all the tools it intends to use to give users a complete, end-to-end gaming experience built atop a Linux distribution. Whether the plan will be a game-changer – for the company and for users, is up in the air. But we should know that sometime next year.

The Steam Controller has several interesting features.

First are those two, thumb-operated and clickable trackpads that look like the eyes of an owl. They are designed to make it possible to play keyboard and mouse-type games from the comfort of your couch. And they will also provide haptic feedback as you use the gamepad to play your favorite Steam games.
Steam Controller Steam OS SteamBox Steam Machine Valve Software Linux Haptic feedback

The other feature is a touchscreen that sits right in the middle of the trackpads. Like the trackpads, it too is clickable. I think “tap” is the right word to use, but Valve seems to prefer “click,” so I’ll stick with it. Regarding this touchscreen, Valve says that:

In order to avoid forcing players to divide their attention between screens, a critical feature of the Steam Controller comes from its deep integration with Steam. When a player touches the controller screen, its display is overlayed on top of the game they’re playing, allowing the player to leave their attention squarely on the action, where it belongs.

I say that’s a great idea. For DIYer’s, the best part is that the gamepad is designed to be hackable. You may read all the details about the Steam Controller here.

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2 Comments

  1. Mike Frett says:

    I’m glad you actually mentioned Linux. Many “Journalists” seem to be leaving that part out now, effectively turning SteamOS into another Android unfortunately.

    It’s hard to say anything about the Controller until we get some feedback from real-world usage. it looks interesting though. Seems like everybody has the touchscreen for the Controller now, with Ouya being first, except poor little Microsoft.

    The Sega Dreamcast was the last Console I owned. It didn’t have a touchscreen, but a Visual Memory Card which you could take out and play Mini Games on. I loved that thing and wish I had not sold it.

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