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Valve fined $4 million in connection with Steam Controller
Touted as a revolutionary controller, the Steam controller was eventually sold off by its developer during the fall of 2019, but is back in the news fourteen months later... with a big money story.
There was a time when Steam envisioned gaining a foothold in the living room of every American household. To do so, three products/concepts were imagined. First, there was the software platform, Steam, which was to be based on a dedicated operating system - Steam OS - based on Linux. Next, Steam had imagined Steam machines and found several partners to produce and distribute them. Finally, the Steam Controller was designed to replace both the gamepad and the mouse, often used by PC gamers.
Now, a little less than a decade later, there is virtually nothing left of that crazy dream. While the Steam platform remains a huge success and is still number one on the PC, it was never able to support other products. As a result, Steam machines died before they were actually launched anywhere in the world and the Steam OS remained a dead letter. Despite some interesting ideas, the Steam Controller was never able to compete with the most used controller on PC, the Xbox 360 Controller, and its production was stopped in 2019.
However, it is back in the news at the beginning of 2021 because Valve has been forced to face its accuser. The company has indeed been convicted of patent infringement in the design and marketing of its Steam Controller. The controller would have effectively taken elements clearly presented in a patent that Ironburg Inventions - a subsidiary of the manufacturer SCUF - filed in 2011. According to the accusation, Valve had even received several warnings from Ironburg Inventions before marketing its Steam Controller. The company is now being forced to pay $4 million and may have to pay a bit more if additional charges are filed due to the lack of response to the warnings issued by Ironburg Inventions.