Steam's new official controller is covered in more buttons than a Pearly King's jacket

It's a lot more normal than the last one, too

Pearly King (West Ham)
(Image credit: Jamie McDonald / Getty Images)
Quick Summary

Hori is making a licensed controller for PC gaming on Steam. 

The Wireless Horipad for Steam will release in Japan initially., We don't yet know when (or if) it's coming out worldwide. 

Years after the pretty total failure of its own attempt to build a controller for Steam, it looks like Valve has a new approach, licensing the Steam brand to third-party companies.

That suspicion has been highlighted by the arrival in Japan of a new gamepad from well-known accessory maker Hori. The Wireless Horipad for Steam, as it's called, looks like a familiar controller based on a similar model it makes for Xbox consoles, but rebranded to be Steam-compatible.

Wireless Horipad for Steam

(Image credit: Hori)

It also comes with a crazy number of customisable buttons, including back paddles for added control and a variety of menu and sharing buttons in the middle of the gamepad. The controller will also be available in four colours – white, black, green and purple. 

Ergonomically it does indeed look similar to an Xbox pad, including the fact that its analogue sticks aren't symmetrical, but other than this it's clearly aiming to emulate the Steam Deck's controls. That includes touch-sensitive sticks that can activate gyroscopic sensors if you like controlling games that way. 

There are some shortcuts, though, including the fact that it only works via Bluetooth, rather than coming with its own wireless dongle. This will make it a little more prone to latency than some competitors, most likely. 

For now, it's also only been announced for the Japanese market, with no communication yet about a wider launch. In Japan, it'll be available on 31 October this year and will cost 7,890 yen, or about £40. That makes it fairly mid-range in terms of price, and quite attractive for those looking to get a controller hooked up to their PC or Steam Deck. 

After all, Valve has said that more and more people are using controllers on Steam, going from 5% of user sessions to 15% between 2018 and 2024. That's still a long way from being a majority, but it's a much more significant minority than ever before. 

Hori might well have more to say about the controller now that its Japanese listing is drawing attention, and hopefully will share some details about whether we'll be able to order it in other countries eventually. 

Max Freeman-Mills

Max is a freelance writer with years of experience in tech and entertainment. He's also a gaming expert, both with the games themselves and in testing accessories and consoles, having flexed that expertise at Pocket-lint as a features editor. He has tested all manner of tech too, from headphones and speakers to apps and software.