Valve Prepping Steam Controller for GDC Debut in March
The upcoming Game Developers Conference in San Francisco will give people the first real chance to see Valve’s long in-development Steam Controller, according to a report form GameSpot late last week. According to the post, Valve has finalized the controller’s design, and will have it available to try out at GDC in March. Maybe we gamers will actually have a shot at buying one later this year, too!
The post cites the wisdom of Kevin Wasielewski, the CEO of gaming PC maker Origin PC (not to be confused with EA’s digital game storefront, Origin, which competes with Valve’s Steam). According to Wasielewski, the controller’s current iteration is the result of getting feedback from hardware partners like Origin PC, and this one is the real deal:
“They came out with the controller, then they got some user feedback, and they had to revamp it; they got some more user feedback and they had to revamp it again. So they went through that like three or four times. And now their controller is finalized. So now they’re going to production and at GDC is when they’re going to announce more stuff.”
Readers with long memories may recall that we first caught a glimpse at Valve’s Steam Controller way back in September of 2013. Since then, the controller was revamped about a year ago, with its planned touchscreen removed from the design. A few months after that, Valve delayed the entire Steam Machine and Steam Controller initiative until 2015. Still in play, it seems, are the dual touchpads that provide haptic feedback instead of the traditional analog sticks on most other controllers.
That we’re finally going to see the new Steam Controller is pretty significant – but, as Wasielewski says, the Steam Machine concept as a whole may have faded away between its September 2013 announcement and today:
“I think that’s [Steam Machines] kind of pretty much dead. It’s like a living room PC – is now the new term. Living room PCs have been around forever. That’s not anything new either. But it seems like there’s a legitimate demand and push for living room PCs.”
At this point, most PC makers are pushing prefabbed living room computers with gamers in mind, either coming in a small chassis or simply being packed full of gaming-focused prowess. In fairness, the Steam Machine concept from Valve never seemed to be much more than general specifications for hardware manufacturers to follow to provide for optimal gaming via Steam OS and the Steam platform. It’s unsurprising, then, that Steam Machines as a concept hasn’t really gone anywhere. The only way that would’ve happened would be if Valve decided to make its own gaming PC with price and function in mind. That doesn’t seem to be happening (though I could be wrong on that), so for now, we have the Steam Controller to look forward to. Maybe Valve will surprise us at GDC with its Steam Machine – but otherwise, we may as well scrub the term from our lexicon.
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