After announcing a new Linux-based operating system, Valve has recently presented the hardware for the "expansion of the Steam universe".
On the one hand, the company has explained its hardware strategy for the coming game devices „Steam Machines“ for the living-room. On the other hand, a new innovative controller to control these "machines" has been presented.
While term "Steam Machines" reveals the fact, that there won't initially be a SteamBox from Valve in the near future, the new game console-similar devices will come from a number of manufacturers in 2014. In the meantime, Valve invites you to sign up the beta-test of a prototype. To qualify for the beta test, you have to register and to comply with the following conditions until 25 October:
- Join the community group „Steam Universe“
- Accept the beta testing conditions
- Make at least 10 friends on Steam
After this announcement, it's clear that Valve leaves the design and the selection of the hardware to its partners. Nevertheless the company encourages beta testers to help by the selection and test of the hardware.
After announcing an operating system and a hardware strategy, Valve has presented, in own opinion, the most important part of the new device, a new innovative controller. The new controller is a kind of gamepad and should help to close the gap between the PC for the table and the game console for the living-room.
To achieve this goal, the new controller have to become a proper replacement for the mouse and the keyboard, and have to ensure better precision over conventional gamepads. Therefore, the gamepad sticks were replaced with two trackpads with a precision of a mouse in the new controller. In addition, the new controller contains, aside from 16 different buttons, a touch screen in the center of the controller which can be used for the additional functionality such as input surfaces or an information display. With these features, the new controller should be suitable for the entire Steam library.