The webpage for the old Valve Steam controller is still up and running like a relic of the past, but a New Steam controller is all set to take its place. Hori, a Japanese manufacturer has been put in charge of designing the Steam Horipad controller just for gamers in the region. Yes, it’s true, the Steam official controller is only getting a Japan release for now, but if there is sufficient noise around the handheld gadget, we could convince the controller to go global. 

Valve’s initial controller might have only had a three-year stint when it was initially released, but the evolved gaming world today might be more prepared to give the wireless Horipad Steam controller a chance. 

Wireless Horipad Steam

Image: Presenting the four new colors of the Horipad for Steam

A New Steam Controller Is Coming To Japan

The gaming world is abuzz with a lot of different conversations and currently, those discussions center around the games themselves, for example, the new The Legend of Zelda: Echoes of Wisdom game or the Xbox Doom: The Dark Ages experience. Amidst the attention the games are receiving, we’ve also witnessed a few bursts of gaming consoles themselves making themselves heard, bringing to us a few updates on what shape their futures are going to take. 

Nintendo has confirmed that a successor to its console is coming within this fiscal year, which is a more abstract way of saying we could see it before March 31, 2025. Microsoft is also reportedly working on its next Xbox with the “largest technical leap you will have ever seen in a hardware generation.” There are no details on when exactly this awe-worthy console will arrive but we’re hoping they weren’t joking about the upgrades from the current consoles. The Steam Deck is not being augmented in any way just yet, but to keep up with the hardware market, the new Steam controller is all set to make an admirable attempt at supporting PC gamers starting in just four months. 

Steam’s official controller will go on sale on October 31 and will be priced around ¥7,980 Yen, which is around $50 USD. A Halloween debut makes the neon yellow version all the more appealing, but the midnight black, shiny white, and luminous violet colors also look quite nice on the cloud-like device. The Steam controller colors are a nice mix of fun and familiar.

Steam updates

We Have Our First Look at the Features of the Steam Horipad Controller

The decision to release Steam’s official controller exclusively in Japan is an interesting choice, but it does cater to the right audience. The region is known for gamers who favor handheld consoles (72 percent) and mobile gaming (64 percent) over PCs (15 percent), a statement that was confirmed by a 2023 report from Niko Partners, Inc. Steam confirmed the popularity of controllers on its own platform, stating that since 2018, daily average controller use has tripled to 15 percent, with 42 percent of those controller sessions using Steam Input. 

The Steam Horipad controller doesn’t borrow too much from its predecessor which is interesting considering the two trackpad layout on the original that had gamers divided. Instead, the new Steam controller sticks to the more traditional analog joysticks instead. The controls are similar to the Steam Deck, with motion sensitivity support for gyro aiming, the traditional four-way directional pad, wide shoulder buttons, a well-spaced XYAB button mapping interface, and analog triggers. 

The center of the wireless Horipad for Steam controller has the same menu buttons you expect from the Steam Deck and choosing among them, pressing the Steam button can bring up Big Picture Mode at once. The device is estimated to have a 12-hour battery life and should take 3.5 hours to fully charge, which is a considerable amount of time. A built-in rapid-fire function is also available on the face buttons, along with four programmable buttons split between the back and the front that you can set up to suit your preferences.

Steam Horipad controller

Going Wireless with the Horipad Steam—if You Prefer Wireless That Is

The new Steam controller looks like it would be comfortable to hold and operate, and considering the familiar setup, the learning curve to using it shouldn’t be too steep either. It also has to be noted that the wireless Horipad for Steam works via a Bluetooth connection. A USB dongle connection might have been preferred for better connectivity, but the Bluetooth link should also be enough for an uninterrupted gaming session. 

If you prefer to use a wired connection, then there is the option of a USB-C connection to plug the device in as well. The device doesn’t have a headphone jack and it is also missing the haptic vibration feedback if that’s something you were hoping for with the console. 

We would have liked to have given the trackpad controls another shot but even without it, the Steam Horipad controller looks like a fun handheld accessory for gamers. A review of the actual performance of the device will only be possible after launch, but it looks promising and should guarantee some exciting gaming moments once you get your hands on it.