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Valve says the controller for the upcoming Steam Machine gaming consoles will be delayed until 2015. The news is a setback for the Bellevue-based company and the third-party hardware makers attempting to bring PC gaming to the living room using Valve’s popular Steam game platform.

Steam Machines on display at CES this year.

In his post announcing the delay, Valve staffer Eric Hope said that the gaming company is hard at work tweaking the controller for its console, but those changes will push back its timeline. The controller, which features a pair of circular thumbpads in place of traditional analog sticks, has undergone a series of revisions since it was first unveiled alongside Valve’s console plans.

“Realistically, we’re now looking at a release window of 2015, not 2014,” he said.

He didn’t specifically say that the Steam Machines themselves will be delayed, leaving unclear how this setback will affect the 13 hardware partners that are developing Steam Machines. Companies like Falcon Northwest and Alienware could theoretically launch their hardware with a keyboard and mouse, instead of Valve’s tailor-made gamepad, although that would feel like a half-step to many gamers.

Of course, Valve is no stranger to delays. The company has a longstanding policy of not shipping any game until it has been successfully completed, and now it seems that extends to its hardware endeavors as well. In the long run, this wait may turn out to be good news for consumers, since the controller layout hasn’t been a hit among people who had a chance to try it out.

Consumers who want to try out the Steam Machine experience can still download and install Steam OS, a tailor-made flavor of Linux, on their own hardware.

We’ve reached out to Valve for further information about the delay and how it will affect third-party manufacturers, and we’ll update this post as soon as we hear back.

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