Steam Developer Days is in full swing at this point and the first major announcement we’ve learned is that Valve has redesigned its Steam Controller. Specifically, the central touchscreen has been dropped in place of two grids of four buttons each. Good thing for beta releases, eh?
The touchscreen was one of the distinguishing features of the Steam Controller when it was first revealed back in September. The plan was to provide game developers with an API to make the most of the real estate. Valve said it allowed an infinite number of discreet actions to be made available to the player without requiring an infinite number of physical buttons.
Ultimately, however, the design didn’t stick and Valve went with traditional buttons instead. Sources say the changes were made to help with backwards compatibility issues with older titles. What’s more, the company felt the touchscreen distracted players as they were constantly looking down at the screen and away from their televisions.
Another plausible (but unconfirmed) reason for the change could be cost. Valve previously said they wanted the controller to be competitively priced with others already on the market. Adding in a fancy high-resolution touchscreen that’s also clickable would no doubt drive up manufacturing costs.
Elsewhere, we are also hearing that the controller will rely on low latency Bluetooth for connectivity and use two AA batteries for power. It’ll feature the same (well, probably modified now) API as before to allow devs to get the most out of the controller.