Steam’s 3rd Announcement: the Steam Controller

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Steam has promised to reveal 3 big news this week. On Monday they announced the SteamOS a new operating system based on Linux technology on Wednesday they announced the Steam Machines. Now the time has come for the final announcement: The Steam Controller.

Steam Controller is “a different kind of gamepad”. When Steam first started developing the living-room experience, they already knew how to build the user interface, the machines and even the operating system. But they knew they were missing one of the most vital links- the controller. They realized early on that they would be needing a new kind of input technology – one that could bridge the gap from the desk to the living room. So they spent a year experimenting with new approaches to input till they finally managed to create something worth sharing.

steam controller

The Steam Controller is designed to work with all the games on Steam: past, present, and future. Even the oldest titles in the catalog and the ones which were not built with controller support in mind. Built with high-precision input technologies and focused on low-latency performance the controller offers a new and vastly superior control scheme.

Trackpads, by their nature, are less physical than thumbsticks. By themselves, they are “light touch” devices and don’t offer the kind of visceral feedback that players get from pushing joysticks around. Which is why the Steam Controller is built around a new generation of super-precise haptic feedback, employing dual linear resonant actuators. Which basically means that the trackpads are capable of delivering a wide range of force and vibration, allowing precise control over frequency, amplitude, and direction of movement.

Every button and input zone has been placed based on frequency of use, precision required and ergonomic comfort. There are a total of sixteen buttons on the Steam Controller. All controls and buttons have been placed symmetrically, making left or right handedness switchable via a software config checkbox.

The Steam Controller was designed from the ground up to be hackable. Steam is planning to make tools available that will enable users to participate in all aspects of the experience, from industrial design to electrical engineering.

To find out more about the steam controller and view the FAQ, visit the official announcement here.