updated 11:54 am EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Image shows thumbstick on Steam Controller replacing button group
Valve Software may have made another change to its Steam Controller, the gaming peripheral designed for use with Steam Machine game consoles. An image appearing in files associated with the beta version of the PC Steam client shows a modified version of the last controller design, with four face buttons instead replaced by a thumbstick.
The change, spotted by Steam Database on Twitter, suggests Valve may be providing some form of alternative to the dual-trackpad control system. Some games on Steam are better played using a game controller rather than a mouse, keyboard, trackpad, or buttons, and it could be considered a half-way house for existing gamers used to playing with the Xbox 360 controller connected to their PCs.
If it is an indication Valve is altering the design again, this will be the third major change in the Steam Controller's history. The original design had a central touchscreen display, though this was removed in the second iteration in favor of more buttons. Valve has previously indicated the controller will be released in 2015 rather than this year, though it is unclear if the timing is linked to the launch of Steam Machine hardware.