Steam’s Autumn Sale is now underway and along with all the exciting deals on fun games, there is a somber $5 (plus shipping) final sale for Valve’s Steam Controller. Valve has confirmed that this sale will be the last time they make the Steam Controller ever again. There have been reports and discussion that seem to indicate that due to limited quantities some regions are receiving rolling availability updated every hour or so. If you get a “sold out” indicator it seems waiting an hour and trying again might do the trick.
While the Steam Controller has some great ideas behind it like using trackpads where the control sticks normally would be, back paddles so you never have to move your thumbs from the pads, as well as its almost limitless customizability. Unfortunately, those features couldn’t save the Steam Controller from being overshadowed by more comfortable traditional controllers that can be remapped however you like as well. Also, the fact that you can use an Xbox One controller with your computer as well as your normal Xbox One whereas the Steam Controller doesn’t work with other consoles, means that if you aren’t flush with cash there wouldn’t be much utility in buying a Steam Controller.
The Steam Controller is another of Valve’s since discontinued hardware products. Joining Steam Machines and Steam Link (which lives on as an app) in Valve’s hardware graveyard of ultimately failed products. Steam Machines were Valve’s attempt to pivot Steam itself into a pseudo home console environment with SteamOS. This was done out of concerns of Windows becoming less open, and more restrictive, something that has dialed back in the time since. However, partly due to having no actual set box (instead having other hardware companies like Dell create their own Steam Machines), causing it to be a confusing offering, especially when you could just connect your PC to your TV already with an HDMI cable, Steam Machines never took off and in April of 2018 Valve removed the link to Steam Machines from the front page of Steam.
For now, what remains on Valve’s hardware side of things is their VR aspects which they are committed more to with the SteamVR software and the recently announced Half-Life: Alyx. The Valve Index, the HTC Vive which they collaborated on, the Valve’s Index controllers and the Valve Index Base Station.
How do you feel about Valve discontinuing the Steam Controller? How do you think Valve could ever make another foray into the gaming hardware arena?