Bottom line: A recently published patent from Valve details a revised Steam Controller design with interchangeable parts on the front and back for added customization. Although the development doesn't guarantee the arrival of a new model, it does reveal the company's internal efforts with the hardware in what could potentially become the Steam Controller 2.0.
The Steam Controller wasn't exactly the huge success that Valve (and gamers) hoped it would be, and was ultimately discontinued in late 2019 after being on the market for nearly four years. There is, however, the possibility of a second attempt from Valve with an updated version that features swappable parts like those found on the Xbox Elite controller.
Microsoft's handheld design has arguably become somewhat of an industry trendsetter, with Sony's upcoming DualSense controller strongly resembling the fang-like grip handles of its counterpart and Valve borrowing the idea of using interchangeable components for added customization.
A new patent has been published from Valve of a Steam Controller with swap-able components. pic.twitter.com/8X5IiKIHvm— Tyler McVicker (@ValveNewsNetwor) April 11, 2020
Although the patent was filed in late 2018 when Steam Controllers were still being made, it was published only last month and reveals some of the interesting abilities of an updated model that Valve has possibly had in the works for resurrecting the gadget.
While the new version still looks decidedly like a Steam Controller in the patent drawings, the description suggests that in addition to swapping the joystick for a D-pad, users will also be able to customize the controller's trackpad and rear paddles to suit their gaming needs, with software that will detect the type of input and communicate with "a gaming application or platform" for recommending compatible games for the installed accessory.
The idea seemingly builds on the original's vast mod potential as well, and Valve's second iteration - if it ever comes - could pack a host of meaningful improvements that gamers can truly appreciate this time around.