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'Steam Controller' is Valve's PC gamepad solution

'Steam Controller' is Valve's PC gamepad solution
September 27, 2013 | By Kris Ligman

September 27, 2013 | By Kris Ligman
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

Rounding off a week of announcements that began with the unveiling of the Linux-based SteamOS and continued with Valve's take on the home console, Steam Machines, the company today announced its Steam Controller, intended for full compatibility with any game available through its platform.

"The Steam Controller is designed to work with all the games on Steam: past, present, and future. Even the older titles in the catalog and the ones which were not built with controller support," Valve explains in its announcement. "We've fooled those older games into thinking they're being played with a keyboard and mouse."

The controller is designed with two trackpads, a central touchpad, and haptic feedback achieved through "dual linear resonant actuators," using electromagnets to deliver complex physical feedback for the player. Valve says the controller is "designed from the ground up to be hackable," with customizable key bindings and functionality.

"We have built in a legacy mode that allows the controller to present itself as a keyboard and mouse," Valve explains. "The Steam Community can use the configuration tool to create and share bindings for their favorite games [and] choose from a list of the most popular configurations."

Like Valve's previous announcement of Steam Machines, some of the Steam Controller's specs are not yet ironed out. It will undergo a hardware beta like its companion device (although a Steam Machine is not required to use the Controller), and those who sign up to participate in testing are enrolled for both betas. You can learn how to get involved here.

Below, some released mockups for the new Steam Controller, courtesy of Valve. The second illustrates a proposed key binding layout for Valve's Portal 2.

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