Valve has shed light on the new Steam Controller model, complete with a D-Pad and face-buttons akin to an Xbox controller.
With the new Steam Controller design, Valve has put functionality and compatibility first and innovation second. The device has kept its namesake sans analog-stick design, but the two noticeable additions make backwards compatibility possible.
Valve hinted at this design earlier this year with the announcement that they were nixing the touch screens
The revised model is quite akin to an Xbox controller in terms of overall design, but the parallel placement of the face-buttons and D-Pad is a big difference. It is a curious development to be sure, but since the Steam Controller is completely programmable and customizable, there’s a multitude of possibilities to be explored.
It’s refreshing to see Steam retain their unique design while also catering to the traditional control schemes that have been established over the course of the last generations of console gaming; players may have some trouble getting used to the strangeness of a full-on touch-screen controller without many interactive buttons.
Feedback from the beta version (seen above on the right) helped shape the refined model (see left), and most of the complaints centered around the devices lack of buttons. In a way the barren–yet innovative–beta version was too ambitious, and Valve has bridged that gap with a balanced layout that favors both the functional and abstract realms quite well.
The new model will be showcased at Valve’s booth at GDC 2014, and it will be interesting to see if this new model is the final variant or if the company will have to continue to make changes.