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Steam Controller won't be ready until 2015, Valve says
Steam Controller won't be ready until 2015, Valve says
May 27, 2014 | By Christian Nutt

May 27, 2014 | By Christian Nutt
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

Today, Valve's Eric Hope posted a blog in the Steam Universe group saying that thanks to feedback from playtesting, the Steam Controller will not make it out in 2014 as it is being reworked. "Realistically, we're now looking at a release window of 2015, not 2014," he wrote.

The controller is Valve's attempt to make a control device that works well for both PC and console-style games, and has already been substantially iterated since its debut outside Valve late last year.

The controller is one facet of its Steam Machines initiative, which should see third-party manufacturers supplying game-oriented PCs using its Linux-based SteamOS sometime this year -- though now without Valve's controllers, which it has said it will supply to them.

It is unclear from Hope's blog post if the delay in the controller will affect the overall Steam Machines initiative, though the post seems to suggest it might: "Obviously we're just as eager as you are to get a Steam Machine in your hands. But our number one priority is making sure that when you do, you'll be getting the best gaming experience possible. We hope you'll be patient with us while we get there."

Third-party PC manufacturers recently expressed concern over multiple aspects of the Steam Machines initiative, though they do still plan to support it. Valve shipped beta Steam Machines to testers starting in December 2013, and distributed beta units to developers that attended its Steam Dev Days in January of this year.

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Bob Johnson
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Wake me up when its ready for primetime. Then I'll give it another look see.

But as it stands...not terribly interested.

I'm only interested in STeam OS as a pc gaming OS replacement so I can forgo paying $100+ per machine for windows. For that to work though you would need all games also out on SteamOS. But that's the catch-22. No one is interested until all the games are on it. And all the games won't be on it until everyone has it.

But maybe Valve can jump start it with HL3. And a few deals with others. If you could get Blizzard on board and Battlefield. And Bethesda and Elder Scrolls. Well maybe you jump start it.

The controller in the living room well, I hate to rip it because i haven't tried it, but....just not seeing it.

Mike Griffin
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The first thing that comes to mind is lining up manufacturing and production, which takes time, and having to shift that hardware production time up as the device is reworked, based on focus testing and developer feedback.

In turn, that begs the question: Are major parts of the controller going to be redesigned or use different materials? A change like that takes time.

And the time Valve is targeting is now 2015.
Coinciding with late 2015 releases of consumer VR game HMDs.

If they're also selling Steam controllers separately, and with VR gaming suddenly becoming rather high profile (with an opening for hybrid controller ideas), Valve may be slightly tweaking the controller to support certain elements of VR game control -- for the HMD and controller variety of VR games.

With Valve's interest in VR (despite losing some key staff), and the new Oculus scenario (where those key staff went), it might be wise to let VR at least slightly inform elements of the controller's design.

Even the Dual Shock 4 incorporates forward looking made-for-VR features, like the light bar.

As an aside, if Oculus and Facebook wanted an open source 'box' to ride for its branded VR micro-console that drives the HMDs, partner with Valve and use SteamOS, and use Steam delivery for Oculus/Facebook 1st party VR games in Steam's recently opened SteamVR mode.

Okay, I went too far.

Maria Jayne
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Probably for the best, hopefully they will refine the controller some more. I was never completely sold on the idea of a Steam machine for the living room but that controller definitely looked like it was a less than attractive prospect for PC gaming.

Alan Barton
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All consoles take years to develop. What's different about Steam Consoles from a hardware development point of view, is that its development is way more open than any other console.

From a games developer point of view, that openness is very good news to be able to get early info on the console design.

The sooner developers can get more info, the sooner games can be designed to work well on the console which is good for everyone.

Merc Hoffner
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Yeah, but from a platform partner point of view it's atrocious: Companies just designed a whole load of machines to various specs, planning on an approximate launch period: Now the project is delayed. Yeah the partners could release anyway, but without the controller, and without Valve's backend/frontend ready to go, that unified standard won't be there - which was the whole point! By the time the platform launches for real, all those machines will be utterly outmoded and in need of redesign, essentially burning a launch generation on their partners' dimes. With tiny margins already, you could bet they won't come around for seconds; which for Valve would now be firsts!

You're right, console launches do take years to develop. The evolving platform always creates a moving target for the launch software developers - in reality there's no difference here with traditional console development, as while traditional platform iteration is usually hidden behind the curtains, the launch developers are usually invited behind those curtains - the only difference here is that the public are seeing the dirty laundry in real-time.

However, most console manufacturers do the courtesy of assembling their own machines, so when they balls-up the schedule, hardware-wise it's only their own necks on the line. Valve's blasé attitude demonstrates a lack of respect for the challenges of a hardware pipeline, both their own and their partners, and serial delays neatly demonstrate that they underestimated the task at hand, and undervalued what makes a great console controller. It's good that they're determined to get it right, but also dangerous that they were purporting to turn the industry on its head while going in with something so half baked.

Alan Barton
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Iteration of designs happens in hardware design just as it does in software design... The difference is it often costs a lot more to iterate hardware, (and can also take longer) which is why big hardware projects can burn tens and even hundreds of millions and take years to get released. So a new hardware change delay is frustrating & expensive, but not unexpected.

jin choung
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what valve needs to do is this:

- analog stick on the left like a traditional controller.
- d-pad on the left like a traditional controller.

and then the rest, including the touchpad on the right would be great.

a touchpad on the left side simply doesn't do anything better than a dpad or an analog stick... the left is used for movement and a touch control doesn't improve that.

the touchpad on the right though is GENIUS and would indeed make playing FPSs much easier... i would say in terms of game performance by the same person, keyboard and mouse would still be the best, then the steam controller second and a traditional controller last.

come on valve! by innovating, you discovered the benefits of a touchpad... now you just have to pull back a little bit.