Steam Files Patent for Unexpected Controller Feature

There's a lot of excitement surrounding Valve's upcoming handheld PC, the Steam Deck. The Steam Deck will launch in December 2021 as a completely standalone device, however, it'll be compatible with a number of docks, adaptors, and controllers. It begs the question as to whether Valve will be releasing its own Steam Deck controller, akin to the Nintendo Switch's Pro Controller. A newly published Valve patent indicates just that, as well as a very exciting new controller feature.

The patent, published September 9, shows a graphic featuring a stripped-down Steam Controller with two offset joysticks, a trackpad, and four controller buttons. Imagine the Xbox controller only with the joysticks on each side swapped to be lower/higher. The controller also has two shoulder buttons on each side, as well as three buttons at its center. The lack of a d-pad is a curious choice, but Valve has shown confidence in its upper-left trackpad before with the original Steam Controller.

As for the specific intent of the patent, it's regarding a unique motion controls detection feature. More specifically, it's a patent for a finger-detection system that would allow for finger movement to activate certain motion control features. For example, a touch sensor that could sense the proximity of the user's finger and would use that data to then display the controller user's hand in different configurations in-game.

This type of feature isn't entirely new. Virtual reality controllers use a similar feature. Resting fingers on several buttons in some games will hold the player's in-game hands in a fist, while removing them from the buttons will open the hand or extend fingers. Pressing buttons can then create in-game hand gestures.

However, what Valve appears to want to do is much more in-depth. It's unlikely to be implementing hand gestures, of course. Rather, a more useful function would be, say, the opposite of a button push. For example, holding down a button opens a menu, but also removing a finger from that same button could open a different menu. Or, perhaps more simply, pressing a button uses a basic type of grenade, but can be augmented for different grenade types depending on another finger's positioning.

The most significant problem with a Steam controller is that games made for PC don't always work with controllers. Valve, to its credit, created a better controller for the PC experience. It was unfortunately not a huge success, but that doesn't mean Valve stopped its efforts. This new patent could offer a glimpse at the next iteration of Valve's plans for the Steam Controller and the Steam Deck.

Valve's Steam Deck releases in December. No new Steam Controller has been announced.

Related Forum: PC Gaming Forum



"Steam Files Patent for Unexpected Controller Feature" :: Login/Create an Account :: 0 comments

If you would like to post a comment please signin to your account or register for an account.

Gaming Headlines