In creating the Steam Controller, gaming development company Valve has its work cut out: The hardware needed to be intuitive enough for traditional console gamers to maneuver, yet seamless enough to use with games that rely predominately on the mouse and keyboard.
Valve released a demonstration video that shows a prototype Steam Controller in action across various games currently available on Steam now — each with very different play styles.
While Steam Machines will come in many flavors and varieties — and will likely be modifiable and upgradable to boot — the unifying feature is the Steam Controller. It’s definitely the piece that makes the console uniquely Valve’s, and it’s meant to help bridge the gap between PC and console gamers. From the demo above, it appears that the controller is efficient at mimicking the effects of a keyboard and mouse while adding efficiency to first-person shooter games like Portal 2.
This flexibility will be key in enticing gamers to pick the controller over the mouse and keyboard (both are supported fully on every Steam Machine), provided there isn’t any extensive programming involved on the user’s end. All in all, it’s a promising look at the key piece of Steam’s console/PC hybrid strategy, and an exciting peek into just how Valve expects its community to play with consoles.