Valve Normalises The Steam Controller
When we first saw the Steam controller it looked really, really strange and unorthodox. However, the minute you saw the controller mapped to a game’s controls it all made perfect sense and suddenly the Steam controller was more next-gen than anything Sony or Microsoft were doing.
According to SteamDB‘s round up of Valve’s Developer Days event, the controller is undergoing some changes based on beta feedback.
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The biggest alteration is the loss of the front touchpad. It’s not unlike the one on the DualShock 4 but would have replaced face buttons and the D-pad entirely. Players or developers could have assigned specific gestures to different controls. However, in a bid to increase backwards compatibility it has been dropped in favour of a conventional D-pad and face buttons.
The final version is also set to use conventional AA batteries which I do not agree with. It was an awful way to go for the Xbox 360 controller. I’d rather have the controller come with built-in rechargeable batteries.
The Steam API has support for up to 16 Steam Controllers at once, apparently; a cover version is already available in the latest Steamworks SDK.
When first announced, Valve boss Gabe Newell mentioned the promise of using the controller to capture biometric data in order to enhance your gaming experience. However that won’t be happening as it was determined that the hands are not the best place to capture this sort of data from. Instead, Valve is future-proofing the controller with VR in mind.
Personally, I would’ve liked to see the touchpad stay but can understand the need to make the controller compatible with more of the back catalogue of games. Not to mention how empty that space in the centre now looks.