New Job Listing at Valve Rekindles the Hardware Rumor Flames

Back in March, rumors popped up about Valve entering the hardware scene and making its own console. This was swiftly shot down by Valve just days later, though the company did comment that such a venture may occur in the future.

This issue was laid to rest for a few months, and then, in August, Valve announced that Steam’s Big Picture mode was heading to beta soon. Within comments on Big Picture mode, Gabe Newell once more hinted that Valve was not interested in making hardware: “We show [big-picture mode to] hardware guys and say, ‘Look, if this is a useful tool for you to deliver your hardware into living rooms, that’s great.’”

Now the rumors are starting up again. Why? Because Valve has a new job listing for an Industrial Designer on its website. The job description is rather lengthy, but here are a few key quotes:

“As an Industrial Designer at Valve, you will join a world-class group of electrical, mechanical, software engineers and designers who are busily defining new entertainment experiences through both hardware and software. We’re hoping to add your expertise in product design and manufacturing, ergonomics, usability, aesthetics, and surfacing to our team.”

“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.”

(I added the bold, of course.) This job description would, in fact, seem to confirm that Valve is planning to begin creating hardware in addition to software. However, it does not seem to imply any sort of console.

What do you think about all of this? Are you excited? Indifferent?