A few days ago we brought you news that Valve maybe developing a next-gen console, one that will compete with next-gen competitors on the market. This console is rumored to be capable of running Steam, Origin and any other cloud-based distributor. Today we have designs of what could be the controller for this device.
The idea of Valve creating a console is exciting enough, though what the controller is designed to do is even more intriguing. The patents for this controller were filed in 2009 and the device is said to have "user swappable control components."
This means that in theory, the user could swap out the joysticks for another peripheral. In this patent there's a picture that indicates a trackball could take the spot that was once occupied by a joystick. See the rest of the photos below:
These interchangeable parts could prove to be more beneficial to the gamer than a standard controller. For those who tend to run their controllers into the ground, a damaged joystick could be replaced instead of buying a whole new controller. On the other hand, the connectors for these parts could be weaker than that of regular controllers and could break easier.
Games on Steam are primarily PC-based with several console ports mixed in. Some games benefit from a mouse and keyboard, and others with a controller. Switching out a joystick for a trackpad will make the controller more versatile for different types of games.
The Valve controller is also said to have the ability to collect biometric data, though the patent's main focus is on the swappable components. This is understandable since Nintendo's own peripheral, the Vitality Sensor, didn't fair so well.
While the idea that this controller possibly collecting even more personal data may not be exciting to gamers, the idea of a Steam-powered console is. This is also something other console makers should pay attention to, especially Microsoft. Right now, Valve has about 40 million users on Steam which rivals that of Xbox Live. Imagine an Xbox experience combined with the awesome Steam sales.
This patent was filed in 2009 and it's unclear if this will come to fruition. Rumor has it that Valve may reveal this console at GDC, which is happening right now in San Francisco, or at E3 2012 this June.
Be sure to keep your eyes here for any developments in this story.
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