Valve to enter the hardware business

Valve is planning to enter the hardware business according to a job listing on their website for an "industrial designer". In the posting Valve says "we're frustrated by the lack of innovation in the computer hardware space, so we're jumping in." While it doesn't mention what they plan to do specifically, it does seem that they will be going for something unique, "even in basic input, the keyboard and mouse, haven't really changed much 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."

Valve has previously said that they are building PC units to test Big Picture mode along with working on biometric experiments, however they said they were a long way from launching their own hardware. The company was either bluffing or things have changed pretty quickly.

Rumours also circulated the web over recent months indicating that Valve is indeed working on hardware. One rumour suggested that the company is working on a "Steam Box", a brand new gaming PC or console that would come with Valve's Steam gaming store fully integrated.

Via: The Verge
Source: Valve

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I think they mean to create a Standard PC Gaming Rig, PC with the minimum requirements for PC games, and easing the customer to "enter" in the war of PC components.
DX9 and DX10/11, is just a war, And honestly, NVIDA and ATI they spread away the market some graphics cards with no use. Intel do it also, wich it confuses the consumer to bad-buys. So, I think they can force manufacters to create standards in PC Gaming, with upgradable sets, and not a full console, like it happens with XBOX PS3, etc.
well, thats my theory.

I hate to wheel out the old Alan Kay saying, which Apple loved to use so often.. "People who are really serious about software, should make their own hardware.."

I don't blame Valve for wanting to get in on this area of the industry and I think they've got the clout to make a big dent. I look forward to seeing what they come up with.

Chicane-UK said,
I hate to wheel out the old Alan Kay saying, which Apple loved to use so often.. "People who are really serious about software, should make their own hardware.."

I don't blame Valve for wanting to get in on this area of the industry and I think they've got the clout to make a big dent. I look forward to seeing what they come up with.


If by clout you mean the unconditional love of fanboys willing to lower the bar however far their love for Gabe demands, then yes, yes they do have clout. Valve could put out crap and it would sell to its hat-weilding devout.

Detractors who dislike any company will always say that about the enthusiasts / customers of that company or product.

Ultimately they have 5 million active customers so they must be doing something right.

And as seems to be the custom here, I just feel the need to point out I'm no Steam fanboy - I do have a Steam account, but I can't remember the last time I logged into it... must have been 6 months or more.

Ever since I wound up in Seattle, I've come to realize that this is all nothing but a bunch of Pacific Northwest drama. These companies are all squeezed together, staring each other down, and hiring from the same pool of developers who bounce back and forth between the companies, and these devs all talk to each other and mix together in their own circles of friends, sharing their stories and opinions.

We act like these companies are these very separate, different entities, when in reality they're ALL just different combinations of the same pieces.

Valve can betch about these other companies and the state of the industry to their heart's content, but the reality is, as the younger company, Valve owes its existence to the companies that gave half of its employees experience in the first place. They might think they can build a better rig than everyone else, but you know who they'll be looking for when they start hiring around it? Anyone they can get their paws on from Microsoft's entertainment division.

Wake me up when they hire J Allard, and maybe I'll take them seriously. As long as the only name anyone gives a crap about at Valve is Gabe, they're just another fanboy favorite.

Keyboard+Mouse = PC.... no innovation? 360, PS3, Wii(U)... these are all computers with controls that replace the ol' K+M. The differences are small, and we just call them consoles.

Good luck Valve, sounds like you're making a console to me. I wouldn't mind an open system that hooks up to my TV and plays all my steam games (and doesn't suck [looks at Ouya hardware]). Although I could always just plug my computer into my TV and hook a controller up to it. I don't really understand the point. Maybe there is one, and I just don't see it.

I wish Valve the best of luck. Gabe really seems to know the industry well, and I think he's got the resources and clout to push GNU/Linux and cross-platform gaming to new heights.

If a Steambox is going to be running GNU/Linux, then that's even better, because it will then force game developers to produce games for the platform

simplezz said,

If a Steambox is going to be running GNU/Linux, then that's even better, because it will then force game developers to produce games for the platform

Or devs won't and this thing fails. What ever this thing is will be a niche product and that's it.

ahhell said,

Or devs won't and this thing fails. What ever this thing is will be a niche product and that's it.

Anyone who walked away from PAX this past weekend will tell you that every single game on display that's due out in 2013 is prioritizing consoles, Windows, or mobile. The non-mobile indy game scene is almost entirely on Xbox/Windows. Major MMOs are for Windows. For the industry to suddenly start shifting to Linux would take more years than desktop computing might even be around as a mainstream thing.

And I just don't see good things for Valve if they enter the console hardware business.

Frustrated by the lack of innovation? Give me a break, Gabe. Valve will not even touch DX10/11, despite the fact that 75% of their users are using Windows Vista or Windows 7. To head off the pointless "DX9 can do anything DX10/11 can do" discussion, I'll point out that none of the DX9 games look as good as BF3, and that engine is not even PC specific. So maybe DX9 can do anything DX10/11 can do, but certainly not with the same efficiency and ease that makes it practical to make games that look that good. Innovate with what's available, then talk to us about innovating with what's not available, for crying out loud.

Mike Frett said,
Why bother with DX when OGL is much better, faster, and most importantly OPEN.

because that is a very debatable opinion

J_R_G said,
Frustrated by the lack of innovation? Give me a break, Gabe. Valve will not even touch DX10/11, despite the fact that 75% of their users are using Windows Vista or Windows 7. To head off the pointless "DX9 can do anything DX10/11 can do" discussion, I'll point out that none of the DX9 games look as good as BF3, and that engine is not even PC specific. So maybe DX9 can do anything DX10/11 can do, but certainly not with the same efficiency and ease that makes it practical to make games that look that good. Innovate with what's available, then talk to us about innovating with what's not available, for crying out loud.

Why would a company decide that it no longer wants to do business with 25% of its audience. That's the same flawed logic that spouts from the mouths of the people who think Microsoft should boycott the EU

From a technical standpoint, it's plausible that Valve aren't updating to the latest version of DirectX because they will be dropping DirectX on the desktop in the future. They release games on a variety of platforms, and Mac OS (and Linux when Steam arrives) don't support DirectX, therefore they'll likely be making their future games with OpenGL, which is also available on Windows.

This is all guess work, so take with a pinch of salt.

Since Windows RT pretty much kills the PoS source engine, I guess they have to try something.

Personally, I'm looking forward to the game engines still in use by popular developers that actually runs on Windows RT.

Good luck Valve.

Perhaps gamming systems with proper drivers and linux installed, then you would have a "run out of the box" Steam Lunix games.... I think I'm drooling...

They're positioned to do it properly and actually have people that seem interested in performance. It's good for the consumer either way so I hope it works out.

I'll go ahead and say it just in case everyone else hasn't put the pieces together:

Linux Based "Custom" PC Gaming RIG's, probably with their own "Proprietary" walled garden approach.

Xionanx said,
Linux Based "Custom" PC Gaming RIG's
I'm not so sure. Look at the level of Mac OS support on Steam at present; the vast majority of games are Windows-only, especially the big-budget ones. Valve would have to make huge advances in this area before they could offer an appealing product.

Nobody would buy a Linux gaming PC if it can't run most games.

Arkose said,
Nobody would buy a Linux gaming PC if it can't run most games.

Agreed. However I do agree with Xionanx, that they will try to create another walled garden around Steam rather than make their engine cross platform like other engine makers.

With Gabe's latest outburst against MS, it seems to be the only logical conclusion.

I can see them going broke trying to make a commercially viable Steam box.

Xionanx said,
I'll go ahead and say it just in case everyone else hasn't put the pieces together:

Linux Based "Custom" PC Gaming RIG's, probably with their own "Proprietary" walled garden approach.

So, what you're saying is Valve want to enter the console gaming market then?

The only problem is that Valve is extending beyond their normal scope. They used to be in the business of making games. Then they got into the business of making engines. Then they got into the business of making a platform. Now they want to make hardware too? I don't know but they may be spreading a bit thin.... nobody in Valve knows the hardware business at all, so this move will be interesting to say the least. We have a lot of saturation out there as it is, so I don't know how much more room there is. MS has a great ecosystem around its hardware, so Valve needs to compete on a LOT of levels.

Shyatic said,
The only problem is that Valve is extending beyond their normal scope. They used to be in the business of making games. Then they got into the business of making engines. Then they got into the business of making a platform. Now they want to make hardware too? I don't know but they may be spreading a bit thin.... nobody in Valve knows the hardware business at all, so this move will be interesting to say the least. We have a lot of saturation out there as it is, so I don't know how much more room there is. MS has a great ecosystem around its hardware, so Valve needs to compete on a LOT of levels.

Just because the company itself hasn't historically made hardware doesn't mean that they don't have experienced hardware engineers on staff

Shyatic said,
The only problem is that Valve is extending beyond their normal scope. They used to be in the business of making games. Then they got into the business of making engines. Then they got into the business of making a platform. Now they want to make hardware too? I don't know but they may be spreading a bit thin.... nobody in Valve knows the hardware business at all, so this move will be interesting to say the least. We have a lot of saturation out there as it is, so I don't know how much more room there is. MS has a great ecosystem around its hardware, so Valve needs to compete on a LOT of levels.

Alot of company's shift over time to other outlandish areas. For example, Yamaha started out making acoustic guitars, and eventually moved on to making other musical tools and instruments. And then when mopeds started to become all the range. Mr Yamaha wanted a peace of the action, and they became quite a competent motorbike manufacture as well.

So there we have it from the pig's own mouth people. They bad mouthing Microsoft because Microsoft got there first. Now they are scraping for what's left.

nub said,
Where did Microsoft get to first?

They have this thing called the Xbox but you've probably never heard of it.

LOL, are they trying to bankrupt?

They have poed a lot of the companies they would need for CPUs and GPUs and they are not capable of designing better CPU or GPU technology than Microsoft, Intel, AMD, or ARM suppliers.

They also seem to forget that Microsoft Engineers are behind the hardware reference designs for GPUs and many ARM designs and most SoC designs. If they punch Microsoft, what do you think Microsoft's reaction would be on these things?

thenetavenger said,
LOL, are they trying to bankrupt?

They have poed a lot of the companies they would need for CPUs and GPUs and they are not capable of designing better CPU or GPU technology than Microsoft, Intel, AMD, or ARM suppliers.

They also seem to forget that Microsoft Engineers are behind the hardware reference designs for GPUs and many ARM designs and most SoC designs. If they punch Microsoft, what do you think Microsoft's reaction would be on these things?


They are a paying customer. Someone will take valves business.

thenetavenger said,
LOL, are they trying to bankrupt?

They have poed a lot of the companies they would need for CPUs and GPUs and they are not capable of designing better CPU or GPU technology than Microsoft, Intel, AMD, or ARM suppliers.

They also seem to forget that Microsoft Engineers are behind the hardware reference designs for GPUs and many ARM designs and most SoC designs. If they punch Microsoft, what do you think Microsoft's reaction would be on these things?


I very seriously doubt you're going to see companies refusing to work with Valve, one of the most well-known and respected names in gaming. Gabe's talked bad about every company you can imagine, and it's never stopped them from working with Valve before (see: Sony, Microsoft).

thenetavenger said,
They have poed a lot of the companies they would need for CPUs and GPUs and they are not capable of designing better CPU or GPU technology than Microsoft, Intel, AMD, or ARM suppliers.

It's clear their focus is on peripherals and boxed units rather than entering the CPU/chipset business. However, Steam is a hugely profitable entity and Valve is a private company so shareholders aren't a concern. As such Valve is able to do as it pleases.

theyarecomingforyou said,

It's clear their focus is on peripherals and boxed units rather than entering the CPU/chipset business. However, Steam is a hugely profitable entity and Valve is a private company so shareholders aren't a concern. As such Valve is able to do as it pleases.

Such is the brilliance in Valve's current position. They have tonnes of capital, no shareholders to please, and a CEO who understands the industry he's working in, instead of a businessman who was elected to manage a business.

thenetavenger said,
LOL, are they trying to bankrupt?

They have poed a lot of the companies they would need for CPUs and GPUs and they are not capable of designing better CPU or GPU technology than Microsoft, Intel, AMD, or ARM suppliers.

They also seem to forget that Microsoft Engineers are behind the hardware reference designs for GPUs and many ARM designs and most SoC designs. If they punch Microsoft, what do you think Microsoft's reaction would be on these things?

Lol they are clearly not going to be making GPU's and CPU's - Valve has never been a company wanting to push that side of thing with the source engine anyway. If you read the article, you will see they are possibly looking at peripherals or possibly a console. They obviously would not be making the hardware for the console from scratch, but working with other companies.

thenetavenger said,
LOL, are they trying to bankrupt?

They have poed a lot of the companies they would need for CPUs and GPUs and they are not capable of designing better CPU or GPU technology than Microsoft, Intel, AMD, or ARM suppliers.

They also seem to forget that Microsoft Engineers are behind the hardware reference designs for GPUs and many ARM designs and most SoC designs. If they punch Microsoft, what do you think Microsoft's reaction would be on these things?


businesses and their CEO's think about the bottom line and that is that, they are responsible to shareholders. They do not make decisions based on "screw Gabe man, he called us names the big poo poo face" like a winey little girl. If a business proposition makes sense it will be taken, end of!

Finally they're looking at releasing something. They've had a pretty awesome hardware division for a while. I've been hearing some amazing things about it.