Back in November, Valve finally launched the long-awaited Steam Machines just in time for it — and to a greater degree its operating system — to be criticized by virtually anyone who’s ever touched a controller. Nonetheless, the show must go on and Valve is exhibiting mild appreciation for early adopters of SteamOS by implementing support for the $150 Xbox One Elite controller in addition to Bluetooth headsets and gamepads.
This comes in version 2.60 of the OS, which also bears security fixes for built-in Linux software. Moreover, it’s worth noting that although there’s finally support for the Xbox One Elite controller that arrived several months ago, it’s limited to a wired connection. So unless you’re using a monitor or sitting a few measly feet from the TV, this update doesn’t even help Elite controller owners.
If you opted for a Steam Machine in the hopes that you’d be able to use your controller just like you would on a console, you’re out of luck for the time being, as SteamOS still lacks support for the Xbox One wireless adapter, which has been compatible with Windows 10 since it released. The signature rear paddles on the Xbox One Elite controller are limited to ABXY button emulation.
Furthermore, if you’re running the latest beta entry of the Steam client for SteamOS, you’ll notice a new interface for connecting your Bluetooth devices listed under Settings > System > Bluetooth in Steam Big Picture mode.
While wireless support for Xbox One gamepads is a total bust, if you have, say, a DualShock 4 in your possession (or virtually any other Bluetooth-equipped controller), you’ll at least be able to use those wirelessly, thanks to this firmware update.
Unfortunately, even with the Bluetooth support, we’re now seeing on the Steam Machines, it’s only really compatible with newer “Bluetooth Smart” peripherals. Older, legacy devices may not work since many of them take advantage of outdated pairing methods like entering PIN codes onscreen, which SteamOS is incapable of carrying out.
Despite the notorious performance issues incited by SteamOS, as well as its bare-bones library of applications, it’s reassuring that Valve is at least standing behind its platform no matter how marginal the revision. Seriously, why Bluetooth support wasn’t there to begin with is beyond my comprehension.