Running out of steam
When it arrived in 2015, the Steam Controller was an intriguing attempt to reinvent handheld controls through trackpads and highly configurable software. Judging by the patent, uncovered by Tyler McVicker (via PCGamesN), customization continues to be a focus for Valve. Filed in 2018 and published last month, it describes a system for interchangeable components.
A new patent has been published from Valve of a Steam Controller with swap-able components. pic.twitter.com/8X5IiKIHvm
— Tyler McVicker (@ValveNewsNetwor) April 11, 2020
The “dynamic swapping of controls for changing the configuration of the controller to meet the needs of different applications” is intriguing. This could mean swapping a joystick for a D-pad, or even differing heights for your joysticks. Such customization could even extend to rear of the controller.
This theoretical controller would also be supported by software, detecting which input type is used. “If a controller currently couples to a back cover having four buttons as opposed to two, then a gaming application or platform may recommend games that are compatible with … the four-button back cover,” the patent states.
Check your expectations
As with all patent filings, until we see a an actual product, it is still an idea. The original designs will likely have changed over the years as well. The idea of customizable gamepads is no longer new, but with Valve’s expertise, this could be something big. The company will likely want to put the failure of the original Steam Controller behind. A new, shiny Steam Controller 2 might just be the remedy.