It's been rumored for months now that Valve is working on creating their own game console. Aside from hiring hardware engineers, Valve striking out with their own hardware just seems to make sense. The company is already porting Steam games over to Linux, a version of which could run on a Valve console. The company's co-founder and managing director, Gabe Newell, is publicly opposed to what Windows 8 will do for PC gaming. Perhaps Valve simply sees the writing on the wall, and needs to make a console.
This week, a new job posting up on Valve's website adds fire to the fuel of console speculation. The listing is for an industrial designer who has "expertise in product design and manufacturing, ergonomics, usability, aesthetics, and surfacing." The job description also contains an introspective look at why Valve needs a hardware designer. From the posting:
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.
There you have it. Valve will definitely be designing and manufacturing computer hardware. Whether this means a game console, however, is still unknown. It could be that Valve is simply looking to make PC gaming accessories it thinks gamers want or need. However, it's unlikely that Valve would be frustrated with innovation in the gaming accessory market, which has recently seen devices such as the Kinect. It could be that Valve, a game developer and publisher at the forefront of PC gaming, is frustrated that the next-generation consoles aren't coming fast enough, since the current-generation consoles aren't powerful enough to run Half-Life 3.