Valve seems to be dolling out the announcements, and today is no exception. Soon after the reveal of the SteamMachine they’ve announced the Steam Controller, which is designed to work with any and all Steam games.
The controller features dual trackpads that function as an ultra precise version of the more traditional analog sticks in other game controllers. They are compatible with any PC-only games, and have a resolution the approaches the kind found in a computer mouse.
Trackpads use a technology called haptic feedback that employs dual linear resonant actuators (a type of electro-magnet). They are attached to each of the dual trackpads and are capable of delivering a wide range of force and vibration, allowing precise control over frequency, amplitude and direction of movement (they also function as clickable buttons). The purpose of such features is to give the player in-game feedback such as on speed, boundaries, thresholds, textures, action confirmations or any other events.
Then there’s the touchscreen (also clickable), which is used to compensate for the lack of keyboard by letting the player carry out various touch-based actions. A cool feature allows for the monitor screen to overlay on the touch screen, preventing the player from having to constantly look at both displays.
There are 16 buttons in total and half of them are accessible to the player without requiring thumbs to be lifted from the trackpads, including two on the back. All of them have been placed symmetrically. Players can create their own preferred configuration through a legacy mode and the controller is completely hackable. Valve will be releasing tools to let the community contribute to the controller’s design. You can check out all the info, as well as an FAQ, by going here.