Yep, Looks Like Valve’s Still Making Hardware

Yep, Looks Like Valve’s Still Making Hardware

A recent job listing on Valve’s website confirms what the Half-Life developer has been discussing for the past few months: it’s making hardware.

“Valve is traditionally a software company,” the listing for an Industrial Designer position reads. “Open platforms like the PC and Mac are important to us, as they enable us and our partners to have a robust and direct relationship with customers. We’re frustrated by the lack of innovation in the computer hardware space though, so we’re jumping in.

“Even basic input, the keyboard and mouse, haven’t really changed in any meaningful way over the years. There’s a real void in the marketplace, and opportunities to create compelling user experiences are being overlooked.”

This is an interesting perspective, and it’s fascinating to hear this kind of candid language from a company as notable as Valve. This past April, Valve was looking for hardware engineers to “invent whole new gaming experiences.”

But this new development still doesn’t mean that Valve is entering the console space: the company told Kotaku earlier this year that it had no plans to make game consoles. Valve has also expressed a great deal of interest in wearable computers.

Job Postings [Valve via CVG]


    • Isn’t ESDF the one used for pro gaming? I stick to WASD because there’s enough buttons for me, but I imagine if I trained myself to use something new I’d get used to it pretty quickly.

      It’ll be interesting to see what they come up with.

  • Be good if they stepped in where OnLive left off. OnLive but hooked up to steam sounds good (not that its much use in this country but still).

  • Considering “Jump In” is the Xbox360s’ current slogan, maybe Valve is helping in the Xbox720s’ design? Steam on Xbox720. Also, the best way to go with Next-Gen would be for each company to have their own Steam style portal, too.

    • Microsoft already has their own digital distribution channel through Xbox Live Arcade and Games on Demand. I doubt Steam (as a competitor in these areas) would be involved in the Xbox platform in any significant way. Regarding possible hardware design for the next Xbox, Microsoft have got this nailed with multiple hardware devices under their belt, while Valve’s experience is still unproven.

      The inclusion of “so we’re jumping in” is less a subtle hint at Steam-Xbox integration and more of a definitive statement that they’re now breaking into hardware production. I believe Valve when they say they have no plan to make a console – their business domain (and massive market domination) is squarely within PC territory.

      I believe they’re looking at creating peripherals for PCs that are designed to work with Steam titles (e.g. gamepads with special Steam buttons) or full computer systems that are targeted at specific game genres (e.g. buy the Indie PC Package for $499, and developers of indie titles can target those hardware specs much like console developers).

      One advantage of this is that as well as listing minimum/recommended system specs on the game description, they can list the Steam PC packages required to play the game (e.g. Crysis 2: Requires Steam PC – “The Beast” to play; Torchlight 2: Requires Steam PC – “Mid Range” to play).

      • What I actually mean is for each company to have their own seperate portal/channel; Ubisoft, EA, Activision, Sega, Valve (Steam) integrated into the console. Then we could have unified ditribution, while companies control/manage their own portal/domain.

  • I hope they’re not biting off more than they can chew. If all they are doing is designing a few new keyboard layouts, then I suspect they’ll succeed. But if they are trying to create some bit of revolutionary gaming tech, like wearable displays or better feedback or gesture control, then I’d be a little bit worried because developing that stuff is very expensive and if they fail, it could spell the end for Valve.

  • I’m fairly certain it’ll be to do with their desire to implement Steam on Linux while steering away from Windows 8 given their statements about how undesirable it is from a developer’s perspective…

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