Is Valve About to Change Gaming Again?



Rumors abound that Valve is currently neck-deep in the design of some kind of hardware. Of course, besides an obnoxiously coy job posting, Newell and his merry band have been predictably tight-lipped on the subject. What are those tricksy hobbits up to, damn it?

If you ask me, it’s almost certainly a console of some kind. I know some people are going with the biometric controller, but I don’t think that’s as plausible, and I’ll explain why. Why would Valve even bother with a console in the first place? Probably for the same reason they made Steam: they weren’t satisfied with the current state of things, and wanted to change them. I don’t think Valve is dissatisfied with the current state of controllers.

On the other hand, we know that Valve supported Xbox 360 for a long time, then kinda leaned into the PS3 camp, but in all likelihood they’re probably not perfectly content with either. Microsoft is secure and reliable but closed off to their free-thinking distribution ideas, and while Sony is looser, they’re also less stable and secure.

So if you were Valve, you might find yourself asking a reasonable question: why am I putting up with this crap? I’m Valve, and I want my customers to have my games on my terms, so I’m free to update them whenever I want, and they’re free to mod and build on them whenever they want. That’s never gonna happen with these guy in Redmond, or those other guys in Japan who are busy bowing and apologizing all the time, so now it’s time for me to do what I’ve done many times before: strike out on my own.

I think the so-called “Steam Box” is a likelihood bordering on a certainty, if it ever gets out of R and D. It may function something like the OnLive console, although hopefully a little more successfully.

If all of this is true, it’s the most exciting new development in gaming in decades, and could permanently alter the landscape. Imagine being free of the Kinect and the PS Move other such gestures at the casual market, and being able to game on a console built specifically and only for you, the hardcore gamer.

Be still my heart.


giant evil gods


  • bcorcoran

    I think any assumptions right now are just wild speculation. Mike Abrash said in his post that they’re not developing hardware, they’re just researching the possibilities. It’s not a “confirmation” of anything except that Valve is doing what it has always done.

    Also, there’s no saying they’d apply this tech to Steam/gaming anyway. Unless they’ve come up with a magical way to fit 1000 watts of gaming power into a pair of eyeglasses, there’s no way anyone will be gaming on any “wearable computer.”

    • Mark Ross

      It may be ‘wild speculation’, but it’s ever-increasingly-likely wild speculation.

    • Andrew Allen

      I agree, but you have to admit that Valve has always innovated at moments like these, when they’re dissatisfied with the structure that they’re given. It’s why Steam came into being. And I think it’s why some kind of hardware could be on the horizon. 

  • Steve Jones

    Forget hardware, where’s Half Life 3??

    • Mark Ross

      Here’s a frightening scenario for you, all the more frightening because it’s possible:

      What if Valve IS working on new hardware, and they ARE working on Half-Life 3, but it will be an exclusive launch title for their new hardware? (Possibly a timed exclusive with Windows/Mac coming later.)Sobering.