Despite being sold at a fire-sale price of $5 and ultimately being discontinued last year, Steam may be planning to re-introduce its unique, track-padded controller back into the market – but with substantial upgrades. Published just over two weeks ago, Valve News Network’s Tyler McVicker has spotted a patent describing the Steam Controller, but with swappable controls.
It appears that Valve is taking a page out of premium peripherals such as Microsoft’s Xbox Elite Wireless Controller, which allows users to swap between multiple types of directional pads and thumbsticks. The patent shows a Steam Controller with an analog stick that can be switched out for a D-pad, and vice versa.
A new patent has been published from Valve of a Steam Controller with swap-able components. pic.twitter.com/8X5IiKIHvm— Tyler McVicker (@ValveNewsNetwor) April 11, 2020
“Described herein are, among other things, handheld controllers that include housing having one of more receiver portions for detachably coupling to one or more controls,” the abstract reads. “For example, a house of one such controller may include, on a front surface of the housing, a receiver that is configured to detachably couple to one or more joysticks, one or more d-pads, one or more track pads, one or more buttons, and/or the like. In some instances, a user may swap a first control for a second control based on a current application (e.g., game title) that the user is playing, based on comfort of the user, and/or for any other reason.”
It isn’t clear whether Steam is actually planning to resurrect its controller – this is, after all, just a patent – but based on the original’s popularity, it probably deserves another chance in the limelight. The original Steam Controller debuted in 2013 for $50.