When we first saw Valve's thumbstick free controller specially made for use with Steam, we had some questions about how it would really work in action. Now, we at least know what it looks like.
There are still a lot of questions to be answered about how it feels, and a select few have had the privilege of trying it in action. But for most of us, this is as good as it will get for now. A prototype version (without a touchscreen) will be going out to lucky beta users, but only about 300 of them. In the meantime, it looks like it's pretty clutch.
Of course, Valve is showing the controller off in not only typical controller scenarios (like Portal 2) but also in games that are more geared towards mouse and keyboard, which calls attention to some of the eccentricities of having touchpads instead of joysticks. With a touchpad, for instance, there's no natural zero state like a joystick, so you can either emulate that behavior with software, or have it act like a normal laptop trackpad. Different layouts do both, and it looks like they do it to great effect.
Even if it looks good, there's still the matter of how good it feels, and we'll just have to wait and see on that. [Valve]