We Took Apart a Steam Controller

We must be on Santa’s nice list this year, because he just dropped an early Christmas present on our teardown table: Valve’s brand new Steam Controller. And this year, modularity is the name of the game.

Valve traditionally operates in the realm of PC gaming—the last true bastion of upgradability and modularity—and it looks like this attitude carried over to this smaller package. A screwdriver, prying tool, and pair of hands were more than enough to unwrap our little gift. All in all, the Steam Controller impressed us, scoring an 8 out of 10 on our repairability scale.

Valve steam controller teardown

Steam Controller teardown highlights:

• The high-resolution touchpads with haptic feedback are an all-in-one solution from Cirque.

• The dual-stage digital triggers feature magnetic flux sensors to measure the position and speed of the trigger and tactile switches that register that physical “click.”

• The lone thumbstick is soldered directly to the motherboard. We’re not thrilled that the most likely to fail component is also the hardest to replace, but at least it gets some added durability.

This is just a taster of the teardown. You can find our full thoughts, more analysis, and more images at the full teardown.