Tuesday, 04 September 2012 09:57

Is Valve Working On Hardware Or a Way To Interact With It?

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The rumor mill is all a flutter today with the discovery of a job posting on Valve’s website looking for an industrial designer. This posting has fueled the speculation that Valve will official enter the hardware business in the near future. Earlier this year Gabe Newell made the statement that “If we have to sell hardware we will”. This comment combined with Newell’s dislike of Windows 8 (he called it a catastrophe), Valve’s work on porting Steam and Valve games to Linus, and a few other clues could mean that Valve is considering the fabled Valve Box or even a full gaming “PC” of their own.

What makes the rumors appear to be more believable is a few lines in the job posting: “We're frustrated by the lack of innovation in the computer hardware space though, so we're jumping in” this is followed by a few lines that show Valve’s concern over stagnation in the market, “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."

Now there is something interesting in that comment that makes us wonder about the goals here. Valve wants to improve the user experience. This does not seem to indicate a push to a console or a full PC, but rather something to allow users to interact with the gaming systems they use. During a recent interview Newell talked about the future of human interaction. He stated that touch was a temporary item and that they next wave of interaction would be gesture based. We have a suspicion that this posting is about that. A key job of an Industrial Designer is to deal with how people interact with the devices they imagine.

With the rebirth of VR products this year we have to wonder if Valve’s move into the computer hardware space is not about their visions of more immersive games through the use of some of the emerging technologies that combine force, touch, motion and more. We will keep up to date on this one and also reach out to a few people to see if we can get some additional answers.

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Read 2304 times Last modified on Tuesday, 04 September 2012 10:04

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