Valve: Changes are coming to Steam Controller, but overall look will be similar

Steam Controller
Tracks pads, size and hand grips. Check

Valve unveiled 13 Steam Machine partners at CES 2014 this week, but some of the most intriguing questions surfaced around its very own Steam Controller.

The company plans to sell the pad separately on top of having Steam Machine partners produce their own. While Valve has said the current version is an early model due for modifications, two Valvers informed TechRadar the controller's look will be close to what it is now.

"Yeah, it will be quite similar," Greg Coomer, a product designer who was involved with decisions about the controller, told us.

"Ergonomically, the controller needs to stay very close to what it is right now because the most important component are the track pads, and we worked a lot on figuring out the optimal position and shape of the hand grips and the overall size of the controller. So yeah, it will pretty much look like what it is now."

Coomer said the company is in the final phases of design revisions before the version 1 controller heads to mass production.

Louis Barinaga chimed in that the company is eying changes such button placement, developing a wireless version and battery positioning.

The precision question

No matter what design tweaks Valve implements, the contention exists that a controller will never match a keyboard and mouse when it comes to accuracy.

We posed the question of whether a controller could ever match mouse and keyboard precision to the two.

"It's the Dota question," Barinaga said. "Are we every going to get anything that's got enough precision to do Dota? That's our target. I think for some segments we probably can get it where there's good overlap between that, but the real hardcore, precision, championship Dota players, it's pretty tough to see a controller match that."

"We don't have an answer that is the equivalent of that desktop experience for those games," Coomer added. "You can play Dota, and actually you can play every game in the Steam catalogue, but Dota is one of the most challenging in that regard. It's the extreme circumstance."

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.