Unnamed sources told PC Gamer at PAX East that Valve Software's upcoming controller won't be released until sometime around October or November 2014. Given that the controller is one of the prime ingredients of most Steam Machines hitting the market, we now have a better idea of when they will finally be available to purchase. Last we heard, the release window was September.
The sources also told PC Gamer that around 500 games will be ready to play natively on SteamOS by the end of the year; currently, there are 382 compatible titles. Unfortunately, that's it for juicy details, as the sources didn't provide any additional information such as pricing.
Valve Software updated the controller last month by ripping out the touch screen and using that space for classic diamond-spaced front-facing ABXY (right) and directional (left) buttons. Also in that space is a Steam button, and two additional buttons for (presumably) Start and Select functions. However, Valve has indicated that the touch screen could return in a future version.
So what happened to the touch screen? This feature was slated to hook into a game's UI – such as Civilization V -- and provide players with keyboard shortcuts. However, a Valve representative said that the company made the decision to delete the screen in order to cut costs. Apparently, tests revealed that prototype users really didn't need it after all.
Valve's updated controller layout should make it easier on developers to add Steam Controller support to their existing games now that the peripheral is similar to an Xbox or PlayStation model. In addition, the directional buttons will likely make movement a lot easier, especially in 2D games, instead of using the left trackpad.
The Steam Controller is slated be sold at a "competitive" price when it appears on store shelves later this year.