Valve’s divisive Steam Controller is officially no more. Not only has the company confirmed it’s no longer manufacturing the device, all remaining units are rapidly being snapped up following heavy discounts during the current Steam Autumn Sale.
The Steam Controller initially launched back in 2015 (after much revision), as part of Valve’s rather half-hearted Steam Machine initiative. Branded Steam PCs have long been a thing of the past following its unceremonious demise, and now its weird – but, as far as I’m concerned, genuinely wonderful – input device is defunct too. Valve has confirmed to The Verge that the current lot of Steam Controllers will be the last ever batch to be produced.
It’s true that the Steam Controller got several things wrong; it felt cheap and flimsy compared to its established console counterparts, and it was never really all that good for playing games designed with two analog stick in mind – ie. the huge number of console ports now on PC. That’s because Valve, in an ambitious bid to controller-fy the PC’s mouse-and-keyboard interface, ditched one stick in favour of two trackpads.
Despite its problems though, the Steam Controller is a mini marvel of configurability, with Valve’s accompanying software offering a huge amount of flexibility in terms of customisation. It’s got shoulder bumpers, buttons, haptic feedback, gyroscopic aiming, two wonderfully handy rear paddles, all of which can be combined and assigned in myriad useful, even invaluable ways – and a game’s community can share its configurations on Steam too.
For someone like me, whose PC gaming set-up is, through necessity, entirely based around a sofa and living room TV, it’s been an absolutely essential addition, and I wouldn’t have been able to play half the mouse-driven games I’ve enjoyed over the last few years without it. And I’m genuinely a little sad to think that when my Steam Controller eventually shuffles off to device heaven in a tiny sigh of defeat, there may be nothing similar to replace it.
Yesterday, as part of its Steam Autumn Sale, Valve discounted its last remaining Steam Controllers by 90%, reducing the price from £39.99 to £4.00 (although delivery costs £7.40). Demand, it seems, was high – the Steam page has intermittently reported the controllers as out of stock throughout the day, although I did randomly manage to grab one a little earlier.
Those hoping to secure a weird little piece of gaming history (or just, you know, a replacement unit in case of future mishaps) might want to keep an eye out, should more stock come in.