Valve’s Steam Machines are preparing for release later this year. The Machines – available from a bunch of different manufacturing partners – have gathered a lot of early hype.
But ever since the Steam Machines were first revealed, there’s been one big question mark: the controller. Instead of going with the classic controller design of two joysticks, shoulder buttons, and directional pads, Valve decided to innovate and create something totally unique.
Early reviews of the Steam Controller weren’t great. Reviewers said the controllers showed potential but lacked the finesse and usability of either the keyboard/mouse or existing console controllers.
Valve has listened to criticisms and revealed to the world what the final Steam Controller will look like:
The major changes from the first controller include replacing the middle touchscreen with three buttons: a stop, play, and Steam button – much like the Xbox 360 controller.
The two track pads remain in place but are now complemented by twin four-button arrays underneath, which should make navigating menus and performing other non-shooting tasks significantly easier.
Every Steam Machine will include a Steam Controller out of the box, although users will also be able to purchase additional controllers through retailers.
Obviously, the Steam Controller has come a long ways since it first debuted. This thing looks like a monster compared to where we’re at now:
You’ll be able to buy the first Steam Machines later this year. Replacing the touchscreen on this Steam Controller will likely allow Valve to reduce the cost of its hardware significantly, so you can expect entry-level models of the Steam Machine to be priced similar to today’s consoles: $400 to $500.