Valve launches Steam Controller with PC-like trackpads
Last Friday Valve launched the Steam controller – a newly designed wireless device with dual trackpads that are meant to translate the feel of a mouse and keyboard to a handheld controller geared toward big-screen playing.
"We realized early on that our goals required a new kind of input technology -- one that could bridge the gap from the desk to the living room without compromises. So we spent a year experimenting with new approaches to input," Valve said in a statement on its Web site. The device has been designed using a new generation of haptic feedback, a technology which allows for motion input and vibration in standard controllers.
According to the company, the controllers will provide a wider range of more precise vibration and force through which game developers can deliver new modes of information to players "about speed, boundaries, thresholds, textures, action confirmations, or any other events about which game designers want players to be aware."
"It is a higher-bandwidth haptic information channel than exists in any other consumer product that we know of. As a parlor trick they can even play audio waveforms and function as speakers," Valve said.
Valve's beta test of its new Steam Machine prototypes will involve 300 users who will get their hands on machines later this year. The company is now working with an undisclosed number of hardware partners on finalized Steam consoles set to come to market some time next year, though it's unclear whether Valve will market its very own console or is simply using custom hardware for the testing phase.