The strange-looking Stream Controller Valve introduced to us in September was innovative, ambitious, and unworkable from a backwards compatibility standpoint. Today Valve announced the release version of the controller will drop the screen in favor of a d-pad and standard controller buttons.
Creating a whole new way to play games is a great idea, but when it's a great new way to play a massive back catalog of games that might not work intuitively with your new hardware — that's the rub. So Valve's solution to finding a way to support games standardized for Xbox-style XInput controls, is to give their controller Xbox-style input controls.
The picture above is a Valve mockup of what the new controller could look like, via Twitter.
The change, detailed over on the Steam Database Steam Dev Days day one blog post, is very smart. I say that with respect, as not many hardware companies would come out of the gate with such a strong concept and then scrap a major portion of it months before release. With so many different Steam Machines being made, the Steam Controller is the face of the movement. Now it'll be a face that looks just a bit less like Darth Vader.