Jeff Bellinghausen of Valve recently announced that a new Steam update will enable native DualShock 4 support on the platform in order to show some real needed love towards users who prefer that controller.
While the Steam update in question isn’t specifically targeted towards Sony’s DualShock 4 controller, it seems that Valve is indeed focusing on that more than Xbox controllers.
The reason for this according to Jeff is due to the similar nature of both the DS4 controller and Valve’s own Steam Controller with featuring touchpad and gyro functionality.
While talking about the DualShock 4 controller, Jeff said that it feels
exactly the same as a Steam Controller, you make the exact same API calls, you only get actions, not inputs, and the Steam API takes care of everything.
Since the DS4 already has stuff in common with Steam controller, adding native DualShock 4 support to Steam API will also allow for customization. However, the customization option won’t just be limited to DS4 as Valve wants all compatible controllers to feel like Steam Controller and give users the full freedom of configuring the buttons of their controllers.
Initially however, the Steam update will only enable native DualShock 4 support because currently anyone who prefers Sony’s controller over the Xbox has to use third party tools like DS4Windows to properly use it in games.
As almost every game out there already supports Xbox One and Xbox 360 controller natively, Valve feels they should focus on the DS4 first before making the same configuration feature available on Xbox controllers.
When this update or the subsequent one which enables this functionality for Xbox controllers is unclear at this point, hopefully it will be sooner than the holiday season otherwise some users might have to opt for Steam controller once again.
While it is a good move on Valve’s part to allow such configuration on other controllers, what it means for their own Steam Controller is a mystery as the biggest selling point of that controller was its customization feature.
Perhaps that is why the Steam Controller, while being a decent product, is only around 500,000 units sold as not a whole lot of people are willing to shell out $50 for the device when Xbox or DS4 controller costs the same. This is also why the controller sales mostly see a surge when it ends up being bundled with some Steam game.