The third and final promised Valve announcement is out: the Steam Controller.
Believing that current gamepads are not good enough, Valve took it upon itself to redesign the peripheral and replace the conventional thumb sticks with dual trackpads. The controller is also designed specifically for PC, so it comes with an option to disguise itself as a keyboard + mouse.
"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," explained Valve. "We've fooled those older games into thinking they're being played with a keyboard and mouse."
At the center of the Steam Controller lies a clickable high resolution touch screen. And by clickable, we mean that the screen itself can be pressed down like a button. This allows a player to touch the screen, browse available actions, and only then commit to the one they want. In order to avoid forcing players to divide their attention between screens, when a player touches the controller screen, its display is overlayed on top of the game they’re playing.
According to Valve, Steam Controller's haptic feedback has been reengineered as well. "The Steam Controller is built around a new generation of super-precise haptic feedback, employing dual linear resonant actuators. These small, strong, weighted electro-magnets are attached to each of the dual trackpads. They are capable of delivering a wide range of force and vibration, allowing precise control over frequency, amplitude, and direction of movement."
Steam Controller works with any PC and is not bound to Steam Machines. The controller is currently in Beta and will be released early in 2014.