Valve Software, one of the largest players in digital distribution of games, is looking to get into the computer hardware business. The company stated that it is “jumping in” the computer hardware business in a job listing for the post of an industrial designer. The listing states that Valve is “frustrated by the lack of innovation in the computer hardware space” and sees “a real void in the marketplace.” Valve also seems to think that opportunities to create compelling user experiences are “being overlooked”.
“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,” the post reads.
"Frustrated" Valve will make hardware.
The post doesn’t include much about any specific computer hardware Valve is looking at, but it does mention that basic input peripherals like the keyboard and mouse “haven’t really changed in any meaningful way over the years.”
The company is not looking to build its own console either: Valve marketing director Doug Lombardi confirmed with Kotaku earlier this year that Valve was a long way from actually making a console. He didn’t deny, however, that Valve wouldn’t make its own hardware sometime in the future.
Valve is slowly diversifying its interests. The company recently started work on porting Steam for Ubuntu to cater to the growing Linux community and started a new blog dedicated to developing Steam on Linux. It recently also launched Steam Greenlight, a new platform feature that enlists the community’s help in selecting some of the next games to be released on Steam. Announced earlier this summer, Steam Greenlight allows developers and publishers to post information and media about their game in an effort to convince the Community that the game should be released on Steam. Greenlight piggybacks on Steam Workshop’s flexible system that organises content and lets customers rate and leave feedback.
Valve is also looking to use Steam to sell non-game software. The software titles that will be launched on Steam range from creativity to productivity applications. Many of the launch titles take advantage of popular Steamworks features such as easy installation, automatic updates, and the ability to save your work to your personal Steam Cloud space so your files may travel with you. This initiative may help independent developers get their software out, as Steam plans to use Greenlight for non-game software too. More software titles will be added after the September 5 launch.