If it looks like something is missing, well, there is. The controller does not come with traditional analog joysticks and uses circular trackpads instead. These pads, meant for your left and right thumbs, are clickable and makes the entire pad a button.
“The trackpads allow far higher fidelity input than has previously been possible with traditional handheld controllers,” Valve writes. “Steam gamers, who are used to the input associated with PCs, will appreciate that the Steam Controller’s resolution approaches that of a desktop mouse.”
The trackpads were designed in a way to allow games that typically required a keyboard and mouse to be played with a console controller. There is also an advanced type of haptic feedback that Valve built with dual linear resonant actuators.
“These small, strong, weighted electro-magnets are attached to each of the dual trackpads,” Valve wrote. “They are capable of delivering a wide range of force and vibration, allowing precise control over frequency, amplitude, and direction of movement.”
The controller, which features 16 buttons, also has a high-resolution touchscreen in the middle that developers can use to show additional game information. The controller can also function as a speaker.
Friday’s news was the final of three scheduled announcements for Valve’s plan to bring PC gaming into the living room. On Wednesday, Valve unveiled plans for Steam gaming machines built by “multiple partners,” as well as Valve itself. And on Monday, the company unveiled a free Steam operating system designed for living rooms and based on Linux.
Valve will announced spec information for its own SteamOS hardware next week.