In a post to the Steam Universe community, Valve’s Eric Hope announced that the SteamOS controller — first revealed in 2013 — will miss its planned 2014 release. By extension, that suggests we won’t be seeing any proper Steam Machines until 2015.
“We’re now using wireless prototype controllers to conduct live playtests, with everyone from industry professionals to die-hard gamers to casual gamers.” Hope explained. “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. Realistically, we’re now looking at a release window of 2015, not 2014.”
The controller is a necessary piece of Valve’s push to help third-party hardware manufacturers get gaming PCs into the living room. Steam Machines require three core elements: the Steam controller, Valve’s Linux-based SteamOS operating system, and a gaming-capable PC equipped with both of those items. Lose one and it’s not a Steam Machine.
It’s disappointing, but probably not a surprise to gamers already used to Valve taking its sweet time to get something done right, rather than quickly. Hope assures fans that the delay is meant to ensure “the best gaming experience possible.” Given the somewhat radical changes that Valve is making to the traditional gamepad format, it seems only natural that the dev team would want to test and tweak it as much as possible.