Dual trackpads and a touch screen form the center of the radical and open controller design.
Valve has followed up their earlier announcements of the SteamOS and Steam Machines with the Steam Controller, and the new controller is more radically in design than most would have thought. Instead of the standard dual analog stick design familiar to most controller users, the Steam controller hosts dual trackpads, which are meant to mimic the precision of a desktop mouse. In lieu of the normal feel of analog sticks, the Steam Controller delivers input feedback for the trackpads using haptic feedback.
The controller's haptic or better than rumble, rumble, is implemented using weighted electro-magnets in place of traditional axis weights. "As a parlour trick they can even play audio waveforms and function as speakers."
The controller is USB-based and supports wired and wireless modes. The controller has a small, high-resolution, clickable touch screen in the center, as well as a total of sixteen buttons. The symmetrical configuration of the controller is intended to aid fully customizable controls.
The controller can emulate a keyboard and mouse and thereby supports Steam's entire existing catalogue. The controller is meant to be "hackable" and is partly considered a drawing board for the Steam community.
The controller is set to be part of the previously announced Steam Machine beta, which may be a con for some. The beta versions of the controller will have four buttons in place of the center touch screen and will not be wireless. "By all means keep using whatever input method makes sense for you. Rest assured, we won’t abandon you. We love mice and keyboards, too."
Author: Brian Hoss