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Valve's Steam controller given another makeover

Tom Morgan
24 Jul 2014
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Design document pulled from latest Steam client beta shows a redesigned controller with analogue stick for the first time

Valve has apparently redesigned its upcoming Steam controller a second time, with new leaked images suggesting the company has gone for a more traditional configuration than was originally suggested by its first outlandish prototype.

The images, pulled from the most recent Steam client beta by @SteamDB, show a controller layout diagram which will likely be used to help owners set up their buttons when using the controller in-game. The controller appears to have exchanged the four button D-pad for an analogue stick, which should come as welcome news to anyone wary of using the tactile thumb pads for movement. It still has the same left and right triggers and bumpers, and left and right buttons on the underside of the controller first shown off in the original concept, but now has start and select buttons in the center of the controller - labelled as Play and Stop on the diagram. Finally, a button in the middle looks set to behave like the Xbox Guide or PS Home button, taking gamers to the Steam in-game overlay when tapped.

If the image proves accurate, this won't have been the first time Valve has overhauled its controller. When it was first revealed in September last year, the initial prototype had a touchscreen display surrounded by four face buttons. That idea what jettisoned in January, when Valve revealed it had swapped the display for a D-pad and four face buttons - much more like a traditional Xbox or Playstation controller. The new 3D printed prototypes were shown to developers at the company's Steam Dev Days event in Seattle, but little has been seen of it in public since. Initial impressions weren't completely glowing, so it seems Valve has taken criticism on board and made some changes.

A redesign would explain why Valve was forced to delay the controller's release until 2015, although the company has yet to make an official announcement regarding the leaked images so it's possible this was merely a leftover from an earlier point in the design process. Unless Valve reveals the final controller ahead of time, we'll have to wait until next year to see what changes have actually been made.

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