Valve has been busy lately. Over the course of the week the company has made three separate announcements designed to tease and draw out the community with anticipation. The end result of the news is that Valve has created its own Linux-based operating system (SteamOS), is working on its own console (Steam Machine), and has even come up with its own controller (Steam Controller). The SteamOS and Steam Machine announcements were rather standard for the industry these days; the company wants in on the walled garden app store future that everyone else in the business has adopted in semi-response to Steam, but without its own hardware to call home, Steam is destined to be the also-ran of the PC gaming world once Apple and Microsoft formalize and lock in their native app stores on their own operating systems. SteamOS on a Steam Machine keeps Valve in the game (no pun intended) in the uncertain future.
The real wild card in all of this is the unusual Steam Controller. You've never seen anything quite like this. Sporting dual trackpads instead of control sticks or control pads, Valve's creation wants to bridge the gap between PC gaming with a mouse and console gaming with a standard controller. The ABXY buttons are spread all over the device. There's a touchscreen involved and the trackpads are clickable buttons. There's a lot of talk about haptic feedback. Since it's so unusual, the community is laughing at it and being cynical (and I can't say I'm above that today). I don't know if this design has a future, but Valve's clout should be enough to convince us to at least try the thing before condemning it. Valve wouldn't put this out there for the world to see if it didn't believe it was on to something. That said, I do like my traditional control stick, so I may have a hard time letting go of the familiar. What do you think of Valve's push to conquer the living room? Does any of this interest you? And what is your reaction to the Steam Controller?