Steam Controller- Steam Gets an Officially Licensed Controller (But Not From Valve)

For PC gamers, particularly those who have embraced the living room experience with Steam Link and Big Picture mode, the news of a new officially licensed controller is a cause for celebration.

Steam Controller- Steam Gets an Officially Licensed Controller
image by Hori

Nearly five years after the discontinuation of the innovative Steam Controller, Valve has partnered with Hori, a titan in the gaming peripheral industry, to deliver the Wireless Horipad for Steam. This collaboration marks a significant shift in Valve’s approach to controller support, potentially signaling a future filled with diverse options for PC gamers.

Designed with the Steam Ecosystem in Mind

Aesthetics and functionality intertwine beautifully in the Wireless Horipad. Its design draws clear inspiration from the Steam Deck, Valve’s trailblazing handheld PC. The button layout mirrors the Deck’s, incorporating dedicated menu buttons specifically tailored for the Steam Deck interface. This thoughtful inclusion ensures a seamless transition between handheld and controller play, fostering a more unified experience within the Steam ecosystem.

One of the most intriguing features is the inclusion of touch-sensitive thumbsticks. These innovative controls enable gyroscope functionality, a feature increasingly sought after by modern gamers. Imagine the added level of precision and immersion in first-person shooters or the intuitive control of camera movement in exploration-heavy titles – the possibilities for enhanced gameplay experiences are vast.

Customization for the Discerning Gamer

Steam Controller- Steam Gets an Officially Licensed Controller
image by Hori

The Wireless Horipad empowers players to personalize their control scheme. Hori’s ingenious software unlocks the ability to remap four buttons: two conveniently located on the back and two on the front. This degree of customization caters to players who crave a more tailored experience, particularly in genres that benefit from additional inputs. Competitive fighting games, complex strategy titles, and MMOs with a plethora of abilities all stand to gain from this level of control optimization.

While the Wireless Horipad shares a lineage with the Steam Deck, it carves its own path by focusing on specific functionalities. Notably absent are rumble feedback and the four rear buttons found on the Steam Deck. Perhaps the most significant omission is the lack of trackpads, a defining feature of the original Steam Controller. This decision caters to a broader audience who might be more comfortable with a traditional gamepad layout while still offering the benefits of Steam Deck-inspired design and customization.

A Glimpse into the Future of Steam Controller?

The arrival of the Wireless Horipad signifies a potential turning point for controller support on Steam. Statistics reveal a steady rise in gamepad usage, a trend that Valve is clearly acknowledging with this collaboration. The partnership with Hori hints at a future where Valve embraces a more open approach to controller support, similar to the bustling ecosystem found on Xbox consoles. This could lead to a wider array of officially licensed options, each catering to specific preferences and genres. Imagine a future where players can choose from controllers with unique features like trackpads, advanced haptic feedback, or an abundance of programmable buttons – a future that caters to the diverse needs of the PC gaming community.

Beyond the Launch: Potential and Speculation

The initial launch of the Wireless Horipad is scheduled for October 31st, 2024, and will be exclusive to Japan. This limited availability might leave some gamers outside of Japan feeling envious. However, the controller’s resemblance to Hori’s existing wired Horipad Pro for Xbox consoles sparks hope for a wider release in the future.

The price point of $50 USD positions the Wireless Horipad as an attractive option for budget-conscious gamers. The combination of affordability, Steam Deck-inspired design, and customization options paints a promising picture for the Horipad’s potential success.

A Note on the Legacy of the Steam Controller

While the Wireless Horipad might not be a direct successor to the revolutionary Steam Controller, it embodies the spirit of innovation and user empowerment that defined its predecessor. The original Steam Controller, with its unique trackpads and extensive configurability, carved a niche for itself amongst PC gamers seeking an unparalleled level of control. While its production ceased, its influence is undeniable, paving the way for a future where PC controllers offer more than just a standardized button layout.

The arrival of the Wireless Horipad signifies a new chapter in the saga of Steam controllers. It’s a testament to Valve’s continued commitment to evolving alongside the ever-changing needs of PC gamers. Whether the Horipad marks the beginning of a diverse controller ecosystem on Steam remains to be seen, but its arrival undoubtedly injects a dose of excitement into the landscape of PC gaming peripherals.

Also Read This: Steam Deck: Troubleshooting Common Issues and Getting Back to Gaming (2024)

Q&A Section

Q: What are the key features of the Wireless Horipad for Steam?

A: The Wireless Horipad features a Steam Deck-inspired design, Bluetooth and USB-C connectivity, four programmable buttons, and gyroscope support via touch-sensitive thumbsticks.

Q: When and where will the Wireless Horipad be available?

A: The controller is launching in Japan on October 31st, 2024, with no confirmed release date for other regions yet.

Q: How much will the Wireless Horipad cost?

A: The expected price in Japan is 7,890 yen, which is roughly equivalent to $50 USD.

Sophia Harper, a gaming news writer from Seattle, covers game reviews, industry trends, and esports events with clarity and depth. An avid gamer, she engages the community with authentic and relatable perspectives.

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