Picking up an honorable mentions spot on our top PC controllers list, the Steam Controller may have had a short lifespan, but it was loved by gamers for its programmability and potential support for games that are usually never played with a controller.
Unfortunately, last year spelled the end for the Steam Controller with Valve famously selling its last batch of stock for $5 each. If you weren’t lucky enough to grab one, don’t worry, you can still pick them up through online third party retailers.
The good news is, a patent was spotted that might hopefully see Valve return to make a second model of its famed controller.
What Did The Patent Show?
The patent titled “Handheld controllers with swappable controls”, spotted by Tyler McVicker shows exactly what you may expect - swappable controls for the controller itself.
This is something that controller companies have been offering for a while now to great effect. Controllers such as the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 give gamers a great deal of flexibility when gaming by allowing them to alter the thumbstick height, style and even change out the D-pad if they wish.
The patent application states: “Described herein are, among other things, handheld controllers configured to detachably couple to different controls, as well as methods for use and/or assembling the handheld controllers. The handheld controllers described herein thus allow for the dynamic swapping of controls for changing the configuration of the controller to meet the needs of different applications (e.g., game titles), users, and the like"
While the patent doesn’t specifically mention the Steam Controller, the drawings make it pretty obvious that it’s the Valve classic. With this being a Valve idea, we’re not expecting it to be a simple case of swapping thumbsticks, especially as the Steam Controller is far from a traditional one.
The patent describes that you’ll be able to switch parts at will and these won’t necessarily be capped to the same type. For example, you could switch a thumbstick with a D-pad and vice-versa.
Could We See A Release Anytime Soon?
When it comes to patents, we can never be certain if this is a product in a pipeline or just a nice idea Valve has had. As this patent was posted back in 2018, it’s hard to say if this is something Valve is still working on.
However, we do know that Valve has made huge efforts to bring PC gaming into the living room and has had some success. Now, it might not have been as successful as everybody hoped with Steam Machines taking a backseat and the Steam Controller being discontinued but we can live in hope!
We’ll make sure to keep you updated on this story as it progresses. Without confirmation from Valve, this could just end up being a nice set of ideas and drawings - but we certainly hope not!