Game controllers have buttons because they offer a much precise control than, say, the surface of an iPad. But Steam—the company who has a chance at challenging Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo for the game console supremacy—has decided to switch buttons to trackpads. It just appears to be really stupid.
But look at what they say:
Traditional gamepads force us to accept compromises. We’ve made it a goal to improve upon the resolution and fidelity of input that’s possible with those devices. The Steam controller offers a new and, we believe, vastly superior control scheme.
So perhaps, even while it looks dumb, it can be great. I doubt gamers will be happy about it, though.