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Valve drops touch-screen from Steam Controller

Valve drops touch-screen from Steam Controller

Valve has altered the design of its Steam Controller to remove the proposed touch-screen and add in diamond-configuration face buttons, as seen in this image from Steam Dev Day attendee Leszek Godlewski.

Valve's much-vaunted Steam Controller, designed to make games designed for keyboard and mouse use more playable in the living room, has undergone a last-minute design change - and in doing so lost its central touch-screen.

Although prototype controllers provided to testers as part of the company's 300-strong US-only closed beta came with a set of four buttons in the centre of the controller, Valve's official design included a clever multi-function touch-screen portion which it promised would appear before the controller's retail release. Sadly, it has now backtracked with the decision to remove the touch-screen portion altogether.

The news was broken during Valve's Steam Dev Days event late yesterday, with Valve claiming that it was removing the touch-screen portion of the controller as a result of its recent implementation of 'Ghost Mode.' Designed to offer yet another means of flexible control from the pad, 'Ghost Mode' allows the user see his or her thumb outlined on the screen while prodding the central touch-sensitive surface. This ghost-thumb can then be used to highlight virtual buttons - a fact that Valve believes renders a dedicated touch-screen pointless.

An additional change to the controller's design announced during the event is a shifting of the face buttons, currently found at the corners of what was to be the touch-screen area, into the diamond-like configuration favoured of existing console controllers including Microsoft's Xbox pads and Sony's DualShock family. The company also hinted at the possibility of including a digital direction pad, but warned that a final decision has not yet been taken.

For those curious as to the redesign, attendee Leszek Godlewski snapped a shot of the proposed altered design, which includes a pair of diamond-shaped face button groups - one of which would double as the digital direction pad - and a hidden touch-sensitive area where the touch-screen was originally planned to be, and shared it via Twitter.

6 Comments

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GuilleAcoustic 16th January 2014, 13:09 Quote
Nice move. I'd hate to have to look at a touche screen, and thus getting my eyes off of the screen. Trust your fingers, they know where they are without relying on your eyes (no hidden meaning in this sentence :p).
schmidtbag 16th January 2014, 15:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuilleAcoustic
Nice move. I'd hate to have to look at a touche screen, and thus getting my eyes off of the screen. Trust your fingers, they know where they are without relying on your eyes (no hidden meaning in this sentence :p).

Agreed, it'd have been a pointless expense. SteamOS computers are already going to be a bit on the expensive side (and if not expensive, mediocre) so I don't think one of these controllers will really have an appeal if they end up costing more than $100 due to a touchscreen.
Snips 16th January 2014, 20:14 Quote
But wasn't this a selling point? The premise was good and a lot here including myself would have liked to see it.

Is it just me or are the stand out benefits of a SteamBox/Machine/OS starting to look a bit thin on the ground?
schmidtbag 16th January 2014, 20:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snips
But wasn't this a selling point? The premise was good and a lot here including myself would have liked to see it.

Is it just me or are the stand out benefits of a SteamBox/Machine/OS starting to look a bit thin on the ground?

No, the touch screen controller was the selling point of the Wii-U. The Steam controller's selling point was being able to play games that require a mouse and keyboard, and the fact there are no physical joysticks. Unless I misunderstood something, it seems the functionality of the steam controller's touchscreen is there, it just simply isn't a screen.
Corky42 17th January 2014, 10:51 Quote
Would like to know if the change from touchscreen to touchpad is going to have the same haptics as the circular ones.
Snips 18th January 2014, 09:52 Quote
I'm pretty sure they were selling it as a revolution in game controlling with the touch screen and the circle things that nipple twist gabe.

Kinda feels like an AMD scale let down to me.
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