Valve confirms hardware development
Published: Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 15:09
It’s finally happened. After rumors, speculation, denials, blog posts and ambiguous job listings, Valve has finally confirmed that it will be entering the hardware development space.
“Valve is traditionally a software company,” says a Valve job listing for an industrial designer. “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.”
Certain Valve employees and co-founders have been vocal about their issues with video game hardware in the past. Previously, their ire has mostly been directed at consoles, but now it seems that even PCs have remained too stagnant for the company.
“Even basic input, the keyboard and mouse, haven’t really changed in any meaningful way over the years,” says the listing. “There’s a real void in the marketplace, and opportunities to create compelling user experiences are being overlooked.”
Rumors originally circulated in March that the creators of “Half-Life”, “Left 4 Dead” and “Steam” would be getting into the hardware development scene. However, such speculation was quickly and unceremoniously shot down by a comment from Valve stating that “a long way from Valve shipping out any sort of hardware.”
It seems now that we’re closer to seeing some form of computer hardware from the software company than the comment implied. The job listing goes on to specify that prospective employees are expected to have “Six-plus years of professional experience shipping world-class, high-tech hardware products” as well as “a thorough understanding of product design principles.”
Now would seem like an appropriate time to get into the space, with Steam’s “big picture mode” (a viewing mode designed to allow the digital distribution platform to be properly viewed on televisions) going into public beta sometime this month. The new viewing option would be a very important feature for any gamers planning on (or already) using HDTV’s to display PC games.
It will be interesting to learn if this recent job listing has anything to do with the previous rumors surrounding Valve’s inquiries into wearable computing earlier this year. Knowing the company’s penchant for pushing boundaries, it’s not difficult to imagine that whatever out-of-the-box concepts they come up with will likely turn heads.