Check Out The Robots That Make Steam Controllers

When I talked to Valve about the Steam controller earlier this year, they told me they were manufacturing the divisive hunk of owl-shaped plastic in their own machine factory, one of the biggest in the nation. Here’s what the process looks like.


Valve released a video of their factory in action, and it’s kinda weirdly mesmerizing. Check it out:

This level of automation is apparently somewhat unusual—not just in games hardware, but in general. Valve explained:

“When we first started designing hardware at Valve, we decided we wanted to try and do the manufacturing as well. To achieve our goal of a flexible controller, we felt it was important to have a similar amount of flexibility in our manufacturing process, and that meant looking into automated assembly lines. It turns out that most consumer hardware of this kind still has humans involved in stages throughout manufacturing, but we kind of went overboard, and built one of the largest fully automated assembly lines in the US.”

You’ll notice that the Aperture Science logo is stamped all over these cold mechanical hands. So not only will robots take all our jobs, but they’ll also force us to do tests until we die. But hey, at least we can pick which button on the controller makes us jump.

Valve also discussed some of the upcoming Steam controller features they’re working on in a new post—things like support for non-Steam games and the ability to easily take your controller configurations with you on the go. I’ll be sure to take those features for a test and report my findings once they’re available.

You’re reading Steamed, Kotaku’s page dedicated to all things in and around Valve’s stupidly popular PC gaming service. Games, culture, community creations, criticism, guides, videos—everything. If you’ve found anything cool/awful on Steam, send us an email to let us know.


To contact the author of this post, write to or find him on Twitter @vahn16.



Clearly it isn’t fully automated given that there are at least like 5-10 employees on the factory floor in that video alone.

EDIT: Have I be re-grayed? Which Gods of Kotaku have we upset now?