In a job listing for the "industrial designer" position on Valve's website, the company has finally made its hardware ambitions explicit: Valve says "we're frustrated by the lack of innovation of in the computer hardware space, so we're jumping in." The job listing says that "even in basic input, the keyboard and mouse, haven't really changed much in any meaningful way over the years," but it stops short of naming the actual hardware that a Valve-employed industrial designer would create. For months, evidence suggesting Valve's entrance to the hardware market has piled up: there's the rumored "Steam Box" platform, murmurs of a wearable computing project, and job listings for engineers. Valve deflected rumors that it would be delivering a gaming console for the Steam platform in March, but said that it had no plans for "the near future."
"There's a real void in the marketplace."
Valve hasn't confirmed any specific plans for devices yet, but the company's hardware objectives clearly extend beyond prototyping. In the listing, Valve says that "there's a real void in the marketplace, and opportunities to create compelling user experiences are being overlooked." Whether that entrance to the marketplace is in the form of a console or PC-like computer, or something else entirely, we're not sure, but Valve's new language suggests that it's aiming to create some kind of competitive consumer hardware product.
Valve is traditionally a software company. 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.