http://cdn3.store.steampowered.com/public/images/promo/livingroom/rljKewyz3M/controller.jpg
http://store.steampowered.com/livingroom/SteamController/

As you can see from the pic, this is different from every other controller paradigm we've seen, with dual trackpads instead of sticks, and buttons arranged around a central touchscreen.

In addition, Valve's new controller uses haptic feedback to simulate force and vibration in a different way than the usual rumble we get from common controllers.

The big reveal, for me, is that it seems Steam OS can simulate a keyboard/mouse without any work on your part, just configuring how you want to control it, and you can share your configurations with others.

So it wasn't Half-Life 3, but it's still very interesting, and I look forward to getting my hands on this-- literally-- when it launches.

beansmyname   Supporter wrote on 09/27/2013 at 05:38pm

I'm absolutely glowing right now. This announcement confirms that Steam Machines are the only next-gen system worth getting...and I might even be able to run it for the cost of the controller!

Ok. Hyperbolic, sugar-fueled excitement aside. Here are my absolute plusses:
๐Ÿ˜น Symmetric design so southpaws (like myself) can switch orientation with no detrimental effects
๐Ÿ˜น Touch-screen overlay will also go to television so you don't look away
๐Ÿ˜น No physical sticks, reducing damage from wear and tear
๐Ÿ˜น Haptic feedback from various parts of the controller instead of just "rumble"
๐Ÿ˜น Any game can be played with the controller even if the game didn't know controllers were a thing
๐Ÿ˜น Even Valve admits they're not sure what can be done with the built-in touchscreen
๐Ÿ˜น Sharing configs can be done via Big Picture for any game
๐Ÿ˜น The Steam community (us - as in we, not as in USA) will be involved in the design and functionality of the controller

Remember, too, that this is just the announcement. So, the look of the controller is likely to change by next year when my sweaty hands can touch one. As will some of the functionality, as well. Much like Big Picture and Steam for Linux over the past year, it can only get better.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 09/27/2013 at 05:44pm

I agree, this is pretty great news. I was wondering how Valve was going to handle keeping compatibility with a Keyboard and a Mouse. Initially I thought they'd add a sort of small trackpad to the traditional controller ALA Ouya, but it seems they had other more awesome plans in mind.

I know to some this might seem really strange and totally crazy but I think this is the most compelling controller in the upcoming console cycle. It's really different and keeps pace with the past. Far more evolutive than anything Sony or Microsoft are doing for sure. That said, it seems the people doing radically different stuff in the controller space are now Valve and Nintendo.

I want to try this out before I get it, but if it's as good as it seems to be, I will happily buy this. That said, I still have my traditional USB controllers and those will still work with SteamOS so for people that are not as excited, we still have that option.

Travis   Admin   Post Author wrote on 09/27/2013 at 06:20pm

"I know to some this might seem really strange and totally crazy but I think this is the most compelling controller in the upcoming console cycle"

It IS strange, and it IS totally crazy, but that's why I find it so compelling. The fact that it's Valve and they've done so much research into it and they feel good about what they have is reassuring to me. And it doesn't seem way off in left field, it seems like there's a good reason behind all of their decisions.

Perhaps I just sound like a Valve fanboy at this point. I'm ok with that.

beansmyname   Supporter wrote on 09/27/2013 at 07:10pm

There's an enthusiasm behind this that doesn't just feel like media hype. It feels like Valve is committed to making the Steam Machines and SteamOS the premiere gaming platforms. And hell...you can even DIY if that's your gig.

I don't get the impression from these announcements that Valve is trying to attract investors or repair shareholders' broken confidence. That's because Valve doesn't have either of those things to worry about. Valve appears to be seeking partners, corporate or otherwise. The Steam community itself is a partner that Valve is already reaching out to.

Sony, Microsoft and even Nintendo seem to be apologizing to gamers for the decisions they've made in the recent past and hoping that their newest trinkets will sate your desire for shiny new things and make you forget their thinly-veiled lock-in attempts. Valve instead seems to be looking forward to the future by allowing customization and personal builds, even to the point of 3D printing your own controller.

Travis   Admin   Post Author wrote on 09/27/2013 at 08:37pm

"It feels like Valve is committed to making the Steam Machines and SteamOS the premiere gaming platforms"

That's how it seems to me. It makes sense for them to, just in terms of their own profits. It just seems that they're more interested in making something good for their users than most of the other big players.

beansmyname   Supporter wrote on 09/27/2013 at 11:09pm

This is what competition in the marketplace was supposed to be before the big guys started tipping everything in their own favor, creating an unbalanced playing field. Until the rise of indie games, this may not have been possible. Until there was money flowing outside the grasp of the large players, could Valve attempt something like this.

Valve has and will continue to have a healthy revenue stream for years to come and this guarantees it. One reason is that the cost of the OS is...well...zero. Another is that you're not forced into buying one. If you're already playing on Steam, just keep calm & keep on paying. Or playing.

Since the OS costs nothing and anyone can run it, tweak it to build their own and run it on their own hardware means that interested parties will hack away at it. Even if they buy very little, they'll bring exposure to those that will. Additionally, those that do use Steam a lot can run it on the hardware they already have. Sure, there may be some bells and whistles that may only be available on a Valve-branded box but we're not there yet.

The low-key, by comparison to spending hundreds of millions of dollars (http://adage.com/article/digital/xbox-playstation-prep-bruising-ad-spending-battle/242141/), marketing campaign by Valve also disarms knee-jerk skeptics like myself. It does so by suggesting that you don't even have to buy one to be included. Valve's aim is to sell, but it doesn't matter if it's games via Steam or Steam Machines themselves, so long as you're spending through Valve.

Valve's been good to me so far and since coming to Linux, they've only made things better. They've worked with players from all distributions to try and provide as comfortable a ride for whomever cares to ride along. That experience working with so many distributions may prove to be vital as they build their own.

montanaskibum wrote on 09/27/2013 at 11:56pm

The overall design of the controller looks good, the area of concern for me is the center "touch-click" screen (anyone remember the Blackberry Storm?). One pissed off click (we all know it happens) and it will look like the majority of the storms did, fractured glass.
Just my 2ยขโ€ฆ what do you think?

beansmyname   Supporter wrote on 09/28/2013 at 12:15am

I think that may be part of the reason that a) Valve has asked for the community's involvement and b) the prototypes aren't shipping with screens. Flexible touchscreen with a physical button underneath?

jdodson   Admin wrote on 09/28/2013 at 02:06am

"The low-key, by comparison to spending hundreds of millions of dollars (http://adage.com/article/digital/xbox-playstation-prep-bruising-ad-spending-battle/242141/), marketing campaign by Valve also disarms knee-jerk skeptics like myself. It does so by suggesting that you don't even have to buy one to be included. Valve's aim is to sell, but it doesn't matter if it's games via Steam or Steam Machines themselves, so long as you're spending through Valve."

You know that's a really great point(beyond the many other great points you made). In fact, Gabe has said in a few speeches that when you company gets to a certain point and has the good will of the community it needs to spend nearly nothing on marketing. Which I think is entirely stated in how these set of press releases have gone. Valve has no huge prescience at PAX or E3 yet they make waves with every step they take. And I like Marketing people same as the next guy, but when you are not spending 100 million on marketing you are spending it in other places, like engineering. Clearly this kind of focus can create a great company and product as seen with Valve but it requires that you build a company worth respecting over time.

@monatnaskibum: That's a good point and one I considered too. I think it will work akin to the Macbook trackpad. It's a single pad and you swipe it for the mouse thing. It's also one huge button and it works really well for what it is. I imagine the new controller will work similarly well.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 09/28/2013 at 05:13am
jdodson   Admin wrote on 09/28/2013 at 05:36am
beansmyname   Supporter wrote on 09/28/2013 at 03:32pm

Could do a complete write-up on that or Tommy Refenes' (Super Meat Boy's hacky genius) reaction and comparision to the 360 controller: http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/TommyRefenes/20130928/201219/My_time_with_the_Steam_Controller.php

jdodson   Admin wrote on 09/28/2013 at 06:14pm

HAHAHA, I love the candor of Ryan Gordon.

"I love all the comments on my Gamasutra interview. Hur, hur, there's no money in Linux games. Okay, haters. http://pic.twitter.com/Gt6tMMuWfB"

https://twitter.com/icculus/statuses/384016680156155904

beansmyname   Supporter wrote on 09/29/2013 at 04:47pm

His comment feeds right to the heart of the most annoying FUD regarding Linux gaming: There is no money to be made there. More nonsense.

Is there less money to be made? Yes. Is there no money to be made? No. The money is there, just not in the volumes it is for Windows.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 09/30/2013 at 12:15am

Right, there is clearly money in the Indie Bundles, in fact more people pay on Linux than any other platform. This isn't insignificant.

There is money in selling Linux ports too, it just might not yet be a 50 million dollar venture for a triple A title. Yet anyway.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 10/05/2013 at 04:28am
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