Valve Patents Steam Controller With Swappable Parts

Published: April 13, 2020 9:51 AM /


A shot of Valve's ill-fated Steam Controller

Valve's ill-fated Steam Controller may not quite have set the world on fire, but it doesn't seem like Valve wants to give up on it. A new patent has been revealed for a very familiar-looking device, only this time it comes with swappable parts.

This news comes courtesy of Tyler McVicker, who tweets as @ValveNewsNetwor. McVicker tweeted that Valve published a new patent for a Steam Controller with a variety of different swappable components. The form of the Steam Controller is, broadly speaking, the same as the original iteration; it's got the same trackpads, an analog stick, face buttons, and shoulder buttons.

So, what does this new Steam Controller look like?

The new Steam Controller shown in Valve's new patent
This is what Valve's new Steam Controller could look like.

Where the new controller differs is in its ability to swap out certain components. The patent points to a removable analog stick which can be replaced by a D-pad. In the text of the patent, Valve describes "a receiver that is configured to detachably couple to one or more joysticks", going on to say that the receiver could also couple to D-pads, trackpads, or buttons, too. Valve says that a user could swap a first control for a second control based on the demands of a game the user is playing. This could be done for "comfort of the user" and for any other reason that developers could think of. The patent says that "top-surface controls, back-surface controls, and the like" could also be swappable. 

This would represent a second breath of life for the Steam Controller, which was discontinued back in November 2019. If Valve goes ahead with production, the controller's fortunes will be far more fair than those of its hardware brethren, Steam Machines and the Steam Link (although the latter is still available as an app). It'll be interesting to see if Valve can translate this new Steam Controller into success. The original arguably died because it didn't play nice with other systems and because the Xbox One controller - as well as other USB controllers - was more convenient. Adding more accessibility options could be a way around that issue, serving an underserved niche in the process. We'll bring you more on this as we get it.

Would you buy a new Steam Controller with swappable parts? Let us know in the comments below!


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