A demonstration pic of the Steam Controller has surfaced that suggests Valve might have backed down in its all-touch panel design and added a thumbstick to it after all.
Opinions have been split on Valve's controller concept since it released pictures in September last year. The company opted to dispense with traditional thumbstick controls in favour of touch panels. However, an image grabbed from the latest Steam client beta shows that while the two larger touchpanels remain, a new analogue stick has appeared on the left-hand side.
"Looks like Valve is adding a actual joystick to the controller taken from the latest client beta," wrote Facepunch forum member Devin Watson, who also posted the picture.
Valve has already made one u-turn since it first showed concept images of the controller it hopes will be adopted for use with Steam Machines PC-based home consoles when they are finally available. It originally had an OLED or LCD touchscreen in the middle, but later designs replaced that with physical buttons.
Will there be more changes before the product surfaces in 2015? Will we see the removal of the two touch panels altogether?
Valve certainly has time as it already announced a delay to the Steam Machine project. Originally expected to bear fruit in 2014, it is unlikely we will see any official machines until next year. To be fair on the company, it did state at the same time as announcing a delay that the controller could change. "We're now using wireless prototype controllers to conduct live playtests, with everyone from industry professionals to die-hard gamers to casual gamers," said Valve's Eric Hope at the time.
"It's generating a ton of useful feedback, and it means we'll be able to make the controller a lot better. Of course, it's also keeping us pretty busy making all those improvements."