Valve is promoting the future with the announcement of their new Steam controller complete with touch-sensitive pads, a touch screen, and hackable gamepad. The touchpads are clickable, introducing an interesting medium between gamepad and mouse controls.
In addition, Valve has “outfitted the Steam controller with advanced haptic feedback” which will deliver in-game information about “speed, boundaries, thresholds, textures, and action confirmations” to the player’s fingertips through bandwidth haptic information of any consumer product on the market.
One interesting feature is the touch screen. While it may slightly reflect the Wii U’s use of their gamepad controller, Valve has integrated a nice feature which will allow players to overlay the controller’s screen onto their TV with just a touch “allowing the player to leave their attention squarely on the action, where it belongs.”
Also, the controller will include a legacy mode which will allow it to be configured as a keyboard and mouse. A configuration tool will also be made available to the Steam community where players can create and share their own configurations.
While the controller itself seems odd without the inclusion of traditional thumbsticks and normally-placed buttons, but the attempt to create a merged console and PC experience is interesting and I’m looking forward to trying out the gamepads if only to compare them to traditional controllers. Fortunately for players that prefer their mouse and keyboard versus a controller, they will still be allowed to use their preferred input method.