Here's how you'll use the new Steam Controller

Steam Controller
You see Vader too, right?

The hot, steamy PC console updates just keep coming in. Today Valve released a new video on exactly how you'll be using that new controller, which reminds very much of Darth Vader's face.

To start the demo, a Valve employee shows off the Steam Controller by using it in a so-called "legacy mode" for games that haven't been modified for the controller, like Portal 2. Because the gamepad is completely reconfigurable, you can reassign its trackpads to act like inputs from a keyboard.

The left pad is spit into four sections (up, down, left and right) to work just like the virtual D-Pad on any number of mobile games. Meanwhile, the right pad can deliver some much more accurate "1:1 control."

The right pad is able to pinpoint where your finger lies and can translate this spot to direct the in-game camera. Valve says it's much better than a joystick, which translates how far you push the stick to accelerate camera movement.

Have we seen this before?

If there's one take away from the video, it's that the Steam Controller isn't all that different than any other third-party PC gamepads as far as the software is concerned. You're still mapping controls to in-game key bindings.

But that's legacy mode. Valve has yet to show off what the Steam Controller can really do with a game completely tuned for its "super haptic" technology.

AMD-powered Steam Machines

In another bit of Steam hardware news, Valve slipped Forbes a comment that AMD graphics hardware will be powering Steam Machines next year. The news comes as a bit of a surprise because specs released just last week listed that these PC boxes would come packing Nvidia graphics cards.

However, Doug Lombardi with Valve PR, set the story straight:

"Last week, we posted some technical specs of our first wave of Steam Machine prototypes. Although the graphics hardware that we've selected for the first wave of prototypes is a variety of Nvidia cards, that is not an indication that Steam Machines are Nvidia-only.

"In 2014, there will be Steam Machines commercially available with graphics hardware made by AMD, Nvidia, and Intel. Valve has worked closely together with all three of these companies on optimizing their hardware for SteamOS, and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future."

This falls directly in line with Valve's credo to be as open as possible, offering Steam Machines with as many specs variations as there are pixels on a screen. Why exclude a chip maker when you can choose between three?

Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee was a former computing reporter at TechRadar. Kevin is now the SEO Updates Editor at IGN based in New York. He handles all of the best of tech buying guides while also dipping his hand in the entertainment and games evergreen content. Kevin has over eight years of experience in the tech and games publications with previous bylines at Polygon, PC World, and more. Outside of work, Kevin is major movie buff of cult and bad films. He also regularly plays flight & space sim and racing games. IRL he's a fan of archery, axe throwing, and board games.