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About Face (Buttons): Steam Controller Overhauled

So long, touch screen

Steam, monopolizing all the news? What are you talking about? STEAM IS THE NEWS. The two have become one, a pulsating mutant announcement machine - or announcemutant for short. The latest and greatest? Word from Steam Dev Days is that Valve's revealed the first big overhaul of its (somewhat finicky) beta controller. Say goodbye to that touch screen that never actually saw the light of day. Its variable button approach was interesting, but perhaps not in the best interest of backward compatibility. So it's out. Don't expect any biometrics either. At least, not initially.

Valve revealed the revision to a hungry throng of developers, many of whom had taken to devouring one another in their lust for sweet, sweet deets. SteamDB summarized the session, noting that the new controller will replace the touch screen with a d-pad and ABXY buttons.

Biometrics also won't be in the first version of the control pad (apparently taking that data from hands is pretty tough), but Valve is keeping its options open with other Future Tech like VR.

The final version of the controller (which this probably isn't) will use AA batteries, and recharging will also be an option. As of now, Steam's API allows for 16 controllers at once, so probably buy a new house with a gigantic living room and then bulldoze it and replace it with just, like, a really big living room.

On the upside, the Steam controller still looks a lot like that creepy robot owl that's been showing up in all of my dreams since I was six, and I'm glad because I've really come to like that looming specter of my eventual fate over the years.

Seeing as the touch screen apparatus wasn't functional when I went hands-on with the first version, I can't really say if this is a big loss. Face buttons and a d-pad are reliable gamepad staples, though, and I certainly won't miss the way buttons were previously arrayed around the touch screen. What do you think of the new Steam controller?

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About the Author

Nathan Grayson

Former News Writer

Nathan wrote news for RPS between 2012-2014, and continues to be the only American that's been a full-time member of staff. He's also written for a wide variety of places, including IGN, PC Gamer, VG247 and Kotaku, and now runs his own independent journalism site Aftermath.