Valve is apparently putting an end at the Steam Controller and getting rid of the remaining stocks during the Autumn Sales right now. I must admit I could not care less when they pretty much gave up on the Steam Machines, because they never really invested in it in the first place and most of the hardware was overpriced, ugly looking tower PCs that nobody but a nerd with no taste would ever buy.
But the Steam Controller… that was another thing all together. I still use it every single day and I can’t see how it could be replaced by anything else to play most games without switching controllers all the time. The Steam Controller is a jack of all trades. It’s never going to be as good as a mouse for your regular shooter, and it was never a real match versus a dedicated two joysticks controller like the Xbox ones for most games with camera controls. But it you wanted a single controller that could KIND OF do everything reasonably well, it was just the best.
Valve also had an extremely cool concept that nobody executed before: making the controller user programmable. This led to a marketplace of configurations where the community of gamers on each game could submit what they liked the best… and as a user you could just pick one of them up or create your own. It remains an absolutely killer feature for that controller to this day. The idea lives on as you can program other controllers as well nowadays, but let’s face it: none of them can ever claim to be as flexible as the Steam Controller.
Is it really a surprise? Nein. Usually when something is a runaway success, you see updates, new models, and a lot of press around it. The Steam Controller has been around for several years and Valve never expressed any intention to develop any kind of upgrade, so you could imagine this was about to come sooner or later. It makes you wonder why they even spent so many efforts to make an automated production chain in the first place.
Instead of investing in regular games, Valve keeps investing resources in a VR market that fails to attract gamers so far. Yeah, excuse me but when you barely sell a few millions of headsets per year on the market in 2019 despite having huge players like Facebook, Sony, Google and Valve, it’s far from being convincing. But sure, go ahead and keep making 1000 USD peripherals that nobody buys because there’s hardly any software that even justifies it.
Now, as Valve drops the ball, the only thing that could redeem such a poor decision would be to graciously open source the whole thing and happily let anyone else pick up the production again if they wish to.