It may be hard to believe, but using a controller on a PC is something that only came into prominence in the late-nineties.
Before, the keyboard and mouse would be the primary method, with games like DOOM and Sonic not needing the precision of a controller.
But now, we have hundreds of controllers ready to be used on a PC; even from Sony and Nintendo in an unofficial way. However, GPU maker NVIDIA has surprisingly been found to be working on a controller of their own.
It looks more like an all-in-one controller, much like Steam's own take.
What's the Controller?
NVIDIA filed a patent with the United States Application Office back in July of 2019, where they detail this controller as "..While one type of input, either a mouse input or a joystick input, may be preferred for one type of a game, it may not be preferred, or even compatible, for another type of a game."
From the images supplied, it looks like an 8bitDo SNES controller, but with a trackball instead of a right-analogue stick.
The patent also describes this as.. "...A game controller, comprising: a housing; a trackball rotatably retained within the housing; a motion sensor located within the housing and configured to detect a rotation of the trackball and determine, based on the rotation, an offset value of the trackball from a reference point; a touch sensor located within the housing and configured to reset the offset value to zero when the trackball is not being physically touched by a user; and a processor located within the housing and configured to generate a simulated joystick input using the offset value."
From this, we can tell that there's even a processor inside the controller to accurately track the inputs from the motion sensor and trackball.
When could it be released?
As with all patents, they may not come to fruition; they're usually filed so that the inventor can claim the rights to a certain invention if someone else also comes up with it.
However, its interesting that NVIDIA are thinking of a controller.
They previously brought out the 'NVIDIA Shield', which ran on Android but also had a few Nintendo games, such as 'Mario Galaxy' and 'Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess'.
The controller could be something used for their 'GeForce NOW' streaming service instead, to give a customer a better way of using the service with a branded controller.
However, it may come to nothing, but a trackball on this controller is an interesting thought if they were to offer 'Age of Empires' and other similar games that would benefit from this.