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In preparation for the upcoming Steam Link app release, the Steam Beta Client has been updated with support for the Steam Controller using a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) mode.

Firstly, here's the changelog for the beta client:

Steam Input

  • Enabled the Steam Controller BLE FW Update, for more information visit here.
  • Added support for the NACON Revolution Pro 2 PS4 controller
  • Added support for the PowerA Wired Controller Plus Nintendo Switch Pro Controller
  • Improved software gyro drift correction

Diving into more detail in another post, Valve explained the new Steam Controller functionality. It's interesting, because it won't just enable the Steam Controller to link up with Android and iOS devices for the Steam Link app that's coming. It will also allow you to link it to say, a laptop, where perhaps you have no USB ports free for the wireless receiver or if you've broken/lost it.

It does require a firmware update for the Steam Controller, which is a simple process. When you load the Steam client from the latest Beta, it will come up with a prompt with a button to update when you turn your Steam Controller on. Warning: You will need to pair your Steam Controller again as this wipes it.

I tested it myself this afternoon and it will come up exactly like this:

It will then bring up a much bigger window, that will warn you about it needing to be done over a wired connection:

The process is a little dumb right now, as soon as I plugged the wire into my Steam Controller that window just vanished. Thankfully, Valve have thought about that and so there's this page which includes a link to force the update.

I had quite a lot of trouble getting my Steam Controller paired again after this, since it wipes it. If you also have the same issue, try unplugging the wireless dongle and then plugging it back in. Then re-try pairing, which made it work for me. And now here we are, all updated:

Once done, you can switch between the modes easily when turning the Steam Controller on. Simply hold down the Steam Button + A for the normal wireless mode and Steam Button + B for BLE mode.

Going a little further, I decided to test out this BLE mode on my laptop. Sure enough, it works! Paired okay after a few attempts of turning Bluetooth off/on:

 

It connects fine and with the Steam Client loaded and having the correct udev rules in place (see Valve's GitHub for them) it did seem to work:

Switching it between modes to test between my desktop and my laptop worked perfectly too. Connection on both was instant. Seems like this is going to make the Steam Controller quite a lot more useful. Good stuff from Valve here, really nice to see them continue to improve their hardware.

Thanks for the tip, pepster!

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42 comments
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silmeth 13 May 2018 at 10:41 am UTC
Also, if you opt in to Steam beta on your laptop, and update the controller firmware to be able connect it to the laptop via bluetooth, you can’t stay on stable Steam on another computer.

I was hoping I can have Steam beta on my laptop and Steam stable on my main gaming PC, but it seems that stable Steam client, although recognizes the updated Steam controller with normal / wired connection, it can no longer read its preferences, name, etc. and is unable to configure steam configurations for it in games.

So if you decide to opt in for the beta client and upgrade the firmware of your controller, you have to install beta client on all your Steam computers.
buckysrevenge 13 May 2018 at 11:48 am UTC
F.UltraStill sad that still in 2018 things get's completely wiped on firmware updates. Wouldn't it be nice if vendors of controllers, BIOS/UEFI, Smart TVs and so on would put the configuration on a separate memory location that didn't get wiped.
It's not "completely wiped", it just is no longer paired. Once I paired my controllers, they had retained their personal settings (name, start up tune, etc.).

I'm also not having the "'A' cancelling out the pairing" problem. In fact, one of my codes was all A's and it worked fine.
Eike 13 May 2018 at 11:59 am UTC
subFor me it would've helped quite a bit if they had included a slot for the dongle at the controller,
where you can put it when unplugged.

This one has it, but, even more so with shipping, might be a bit too expensive for such a feature:

https://store.steampowered.com/app/530970/Steam_Controller_Battery_Door/
F.Ultra 13 May 2018 at 12:32 pm UTC
buckysrevenge
F.UltraStill sad that still in 2018 things get's completely wiped on firmware updates. Wouldn't it be nice if vendors of controllers, BIOS/UEFI, Smart TVs and so on would put the configuration on a separate memory location that didn't get wiped.
It's not "completely wiped", it just is no longer paired. Once I paired my controllers, they had retained their personal settings (name, start up tune, etc.).

I'm also not having the "'A' cancelling out the pairing" problem. In fact, one of my codes was all A's and it worked fine.

Ah ok, good to hear!
silmeth 13 May 2018 at 1:32 pm UTC
Eike
subFor me it would've helped quite a bit if they had included a slot for the dongle at the controller,
where you can put it when unplugged.

This one has it, but, even more so with shipping, might be a bit too expensive for such a feature:

https://store.steampowered.com/app/530970/Steam_Controller_Battery_Door/

Thankfully Valve released design files for the controller and utilities so you can 3d print it yourself if you want. There is also an alternative design for battery door with slide-in USB dongle holder.
slaapliedje 13 May 2018 at 5:35 pm UTC
View PC info
  • Supporter
F.UltraStill sad that still in 2018 things get's completely wiped on firmware updates. Wouldn't it be nice if vendors of controllers, BIOS/UEFI, Smart TVs and so on would put the configuration on a separate memory location that didn't get wiped.

Speaking of wiping things...

I was all happy, booted into Linux, launched Steam, which I thought pulled in the new version, but it doesn't auto-restart itself, so when I turned on the Steam Controller, nothing. Restarted Steam, it then said there was a firmware. Started the firmware update, but it said I had to plug it in.

Plugged it in and... my hard drive went away. Now I'm creating a LiveCD to fix my Debian install.... looks like grub got completely borked!

Hopefully my drive still has data on it... it literally started popping up a bunch of ext4 errors..
Hori 13 May 2018 at 8:35 pm UTC
This was literally my biggest wish for a Steam Controller 2 !!! And even so I didn't think they'd do it, but now they did it for the current one using a FW update. Wow! My biggest thanks, Valve! Keep up the good work improving this awesome product!
tonR 13 May 2018 at 8:54 pm UTC
Valve is one step closer to mobile gaming...
aFoxNamedMorris 14 May 2018 at 9:47 am UTC
Anybody else having an issue where Steam freezes at the login screen after a few seconds? This happened after I updated Steam beta, updated the Steam Controller firmware, and logged out.
Ardje 14 May 2018 at 11:45 am UTC
Patola
liamdaweI just tested, works as expected with SC Controller.

Edit: To be clear, that's in normal mode
Thank you very much!!!!
Anyway, the downgrade is also really easy. Plug in the steam controller in your pc, mount it as a vfat controller, *dd* the firmware image over the old "image".
To be clear: the vfat is not really a vfat, it is just a fake file system mapping to the real flash memory.
That's why you need dd, anything else might replace the file with a new file, which of course does not work.
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