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Well-thumbed: the Steam Controller has grown an analog stick


The Steam Controller, as it was first pitched to us, was a totally alien way to play a game. Two flat radar dishes, resembling the subwoofers in the back of a an 18-year-old’s car, represented the promise of mouse-controlled games on the couch. A touch screen at its centre stood in quiet tribute to the Dreamcast. Possibly.

Nowadays it looks much more familiar. Four Xbox port-friendly letters sit below the Steam Controller’s pause button, and a thumbstick – a new addition – in place of the last prototype’s d-pad.

SteamDB turned up the image of the controller’s latest revision in the new Steam client beta. The space-age touchpads and the keys surrounding it remain in the position they were. But four directional buttons beneath the left touchpad have been pulled off, and replaced with the analog stick as we’ve known it since the PlayStation 2.

Valve’s game, then, is to provide all the tools for control revolution – but not force players to switch back to their Xbox 360 pad when they want to play GTA V on their Steam Machine.

The Steam Controller touchscreen was removed back in January in favour of a new focus on backwards-compatibility.

Last we heard, the Steam Machines had been delayed into 2015, and Valve promised the controller would be “much better for it”. This is presumably what they meant. What do you lot make of the switcheroo?