The third and final of this week's Steam announcements is what many of us predicted: a new input method. It's funky looking, to say the least. The controller has dual trackpads, haptic feedback from dual linear resonant actuators, a touch screen, and physical buttons, of course. Despite how it looks, Valve says this will support the full Steam library through a legacy mode that treats the controller as a mouse and keyboard.
"Traditional gamepads force us to accept compromises," writes the company. "We've made it a goal to improve upon the resolution and fidelity of input that’s possible with those devices. The Steam controller offers a new and, we believe, vastly superior control scheme, all while enabling you to play from the comfort of your sofa. Built with high-precision input technologies and focused on low-latency performance, the Steam controller is just what the living-room ordered."
With this design, the intent is to make genres that were traditionally unplayable on a gamepad (or nearly so) work well, such as real-time strategy, 4X, and in-depth simulation titles. I'm eager to see what a first-person shooter would feel like on this gamepad. Forget the Steam operating system and Valve's living-room PC plans -- this is what I'm most interested in.
Update: some of our readers think it looks familiar.