Valve Updates: Steam Controller, Greenlight, SteamOS Exclusives & Potential Oculus-killer

Posted on January 16, 2014 4:40 PM by Rob Williams

At its inaugural Steam Dev Days conference, Valve has had a lot to announce, and while the event itself is exclusive to devs, the information trickling out pertains to PC gamers all over.

Let’s start from the top: Steam Controller. The initial model featured a center touchscreen, but Valve has decided to forego it entirely. While this results in the gamepad looking a little odd with a big blank space, the ABXY buttons have been placed in a far more standard way.

Steam Controller Updated - Steam Dev Days

I can’t help but feel that the prototype controllers sent out to those 300 beta testers have just become a lot more valuable.

When Valve first launched its Greenlight service, its goal was to make it easier for deserving games to make it to the storefront. Well, as it appears, Valve’s own CEO Gabe Newell wants it gone – though it’s not because it’s not useful. Instead, it’s because Valve’s focus doesn’t support Greenlight in its current design. What that could mean is that in time, there might be some other mechanic in place that will make it easier for a developer to get their game on the service.

All of this focus-change revolves around SteamOS, something that had a lot of attention at Steam Dev Days. Valve has said in the past that it will not produce exclusives for SteamOS (just imagine if Half-Life 3 was an exclusive…), and it continues to stand by that. However, it was hinted that exclusive experiences could be had… so let the speculation begin. It could be that some third-party developers are planning for exclusive games on the platform, and if so, they’re clearly very confident that SteamOS is going to take off.

Oculus Rift
Watch out, Oculus – Valve’s coming for you

The most surprising bit of news to come out of Steam Dev Days is that Valve has been hard at work at a VR device, one that will compete directly with the Oculus Rift. Alright – this isn’t that surprising. You might recall that Valve had been deciding for some time whether or not it was VR or AR that should be focused-on, with VR winning the vote. The AR counterpart ended up leaving the company, becoming “CastAR”.

Nonetheless, information is lacking at the moment around Valve’s solution, but already it’s creating a major buzz around the Interwebs. One conference-goer, Tripwire’s David Hensley, was effectively wowed, saying that he’d have a hard time going back to his Rift after using it – he further compared it to using an Xbox and then going to play an 8-bit Nintendo. That’s quite something.

Valve sure did a good job of impressing both event-goers and outsiders alike with its first Steam Dev Days. Where the company itself is concerned, 2014 is going to be a big year.

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