Valve Hardware to Enter Beta Next Year
Mike Zrimsek / Sep 24th, 2012 No Comments
Jeri Ellsworth, a Valve research and development employee, has released some information on the company’s first attempt in the computer hardware scene. In the coming year, they are hoping to launch a beta test of some of their own, Valve proprietary hardware.
With the recent release of Steam’s Big Picture Mode, it has been confirmed that this, and Steam’s functionality in general, will be tightly incorporated into the new hardware. Though Ellsworth was decidedly sparse with details, she did confirm that Valve’s main goal is to create a hardware solution for “control barriers” in Steam games. Steam’s Big Picture was introduced last month, essentially creating a user friendly layout for using Steam on your TV. It’s really as easy as opting into the service and clicking on the new Big Picture button once you have a computer hooked up to you TV. It’s extremely easy to navigate with larger icons for viewing from farther away and multiple ways to traverse the menus, whether it be by controller or keyboard and mouse.
Internal tests are currently underway, with some prototypes being made available to staffers at Valve’s headquarters. This hardware is not to be confused with Valve’s goals of wearable computing, as that technology is much further off by about two to five years. With this in mind, this step into the hardware industry is a rather large step for Valve.
Historically, Valve is a software only company and have even stated that they don’t want to become a hardware company because that’s just not what they do. Gabe Newell, Valve’s CEO, has stated that he’s dissatisfied with the lack of innovation in current computer hardware industry. This is evident in Newell’s opinion of the new Windows 8, expressing extreme disdain for an OS that is more limiting than previous editions.
In previous statements about new hardware, Gabe has said that he doesn’t want to make Valve into a hardware company and, with the best of intentions, release the new hardware to other companies so they can extrapolate and expand upon his ideas. It really seems like the main goal here is to reignite some spark of creativity and imagination in the industry that seems to have gone out over the years. If anyone can accomplish a feat such as this, it’s going to be Valve. There have been bumps along the road, but I really feel like Valve is one of the last few really honest developers out there.
tags: hardware , news , valve