Steam Machine

Valve Shows off It’s Funky New Game Controller

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Steam Controller

Owl Eyes Pad

Following on from their announcements of SteamOS and the new Steam Machines Value have given us a glimpse of the controller we’ll be using with the new consoles. The pad is revolutionary in that it has two track-pads instead of thumb-sticks, which would be found on a current traditional control pad, giving the controller the features of an owl!

It will certainly be interesting to try out how the track-pads work and feel. The creators of the pad admit that the track-pads give much less of a ‘physical feel’ for the user over the thumb sticks, but to counter act this the track-pads will give what is known as haptic feedback to the user. This basically means that sensations will be sent through the pads to provide feelings and information about the gaming environment, things likeĀ  boundaries, thresholds, speed, textures, action confirmations, or any other in game event. The controller has 16 buttons and thankfully it is also designed to be backwards compatible with all of our old Steam games and software too!

I’m quite looking forward to see how this goes now, and has many people have said, I reckon that Valve must be working hard on a Marquee title to launch the console with. Maybe the next Half-Life perhaps?

Valve trials new ‘Steam machine’ out on some lucky customers

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Early glimps of Valve's Steam Machine

Roughly 300 members of the public will receive a high quality prototype of one of Valve’s new ‘Steam Machine’ gaming device which is due to be released some time in 2014. Valve have said that a number of those chosen were given the opportunity based on their past contributions to the Steam community but the vast majority will be chosen at random! To be in with a chance though we need to complete the Eligibility Quest on Steam.

It is not the norm for console manufactures to allow pre-testing of consoles before release but Valve are after much needed feedback. The trials will also enable the company to deal with any bugs prior to launch.

The Steam Machines are set to be Linux based to keep things open source and are set to run on Valve’s own SteamOS (Operating System) which is focused on and based around gaming. It is being billed as the multimedia experience for the living room. Valve’s software is compatible with other manufacturers hardware but the company is also now keen to enter the hardware market itself. The plan is for a number of different machines to be released with different specs to fulfill specific customer’s needs.

Certain people within the industry are questioning who the actual console will be aimed at. PC gamers already have their PCs for both gaming and acting as all in one multimedia players and obviously Sony and Microsoft are well established in the console world,which is a valid point. Could Valve add something extra though? Gabe Newell, the founder of Valve has been out and about providing updates on how the hardware projects are progressing and has spoken about a new controller they have in development for the system It is to use sensors to detect the body’s physiological state and monitor things such as stress and excitement levels. They then want the game to change and respond to suit the players mood! Sounds pretty revolutionary.

I know I’m excited to see how SteamOS in particular pans out. The company continue to give new information as the project progresses. More to follow!

Advertising for Valve's SteamOS