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Steam Controller Announced

The Steam Controller is the third and final announcement in Valve's promised three-prong assault on the living room. They say their goal was to create "a new kind of input technology," which has them proposing a haptic, dual-trackpad controller they say is "driven by the player's thumbs" (what will they think of next?). They also invite the community to get cracking on this when it is released, saying it "was designed from the ground up to be hackable." Here are details on the major new feature, the touchscreens:

In the center of the controller is another touch-enabled surface, this one backed by a high-resolution screen. This surface, too, is critical to achieving the controllerís primary goal - supporting all games in the Steam catalog. The screen allows an infinite number of discrete actions to be made available to the player, without requiring an infinite number of physical buttons.

The whole screen itself is also clickable, like a large single button. So actions are not invoked by a simple touch, they instead require a click. This allows a player to touch the screen, browse available actions, and only then commit to the one they want. Players can swipe through pages of actions in games where thatís appropriate. When programmed by game developers using our API, the touch screen can work as a scrolling menu, a radial dial, provide secondary info like a map or use other custom input modes we havenít thought of yet.

In order to avoid forcing players to divide their attention between screens, a critical feature of the Steam Controller comes from its deep integration with Steam. When a player touches the controller screen, its display is overlayed on top of the game theyíre playing, allowing the player to leave their attention squarely on the action, where it belongs.

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