While gamers are still mulling over whether to pick up the PS4 or Xbox One has their last-gen successor, very soon a new contender will enter the fray. Well, a new contender was supposed to enter the fray very soon, but, unfortunately, that is no longer the case.
Earlier today, Valve broke the news that, in an effort to ensure the best possible experience for gamers, they have pushed the release of their Steam Machine to 2015. And as a result, the launch of the Steam controller has been delayed as well.
There aren’t too many details from Valve, but it sounds like the ongoing beta tests for the prototype Steam Machines (sent to a wide variety of gamers) have revealed more than Valve was expecting. In essence, an overwhelming amount of feedback (presumably with regards to the device’s controller) has led to a lot of potential improvements, and those improvements have made the proposed 2014 release for the devices unrealistic.
We’re now using wireless prototype controllers to conduct live playtests, with everyone from industry professionals to die-hard gamers to casual gamers. It’s generating a ton of useful feedback, and it means we’ll be able to make the controller a lot better. Of course, it’s also keeping us pretty busy making all those improvements. Realistically, we’re now looking at a release window of 2015, not 2014.
The Steam Controller has already gone through a few significant changes since its debut, adding more traditional buttons to the design and tweaking the form factor. What hasn’t changed so far, however, is the lack of joysticks — the controller still features dual touch pads as its form of digital movement.
Of course, this could all change now that Valve has added time to develop the controller. If they find that the reception to the touch pads is overwhelmingly negative, then it could be in their best interest to further retool the design, or scratch it altogether. They seem pretty committed to the touch pad design, though, so we wouldn’t expect too much of a radical redesign.
Valve is but one of about 14 companies that are developing Steam Machines for the market, but as the gatekeepers of all things Steam they are obviously in control of when exactly the devices will release. Major companies like Alienware, Origin PC, and iBuyPower all have Steam Machines in development, and at wildly different price points, but they are all at the mercy of Valve. And Valve wants a little extra time to make sure they get this thing right.
Are you disappointed to learn the Steam controller won’t be releasing until 2015? Can you handle the wait if it means a better Steam Machine experience?
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