Is Valve Building a Console?

If you take a look at Valve’s job board you might notice a new position open. After reading the description for the new “Industrial Designer” position it would seem that Valve is looking to get into the hardware game. Take a look at this snippet of the listing:

We’re hoping to add your expertise in product design and manufacturing, ergonomics, usability, aesthetics, and surfacing to our team.


 Some are suggesting that this a precursor to the rumored Steam home console. I’ll admit that it’s a possibility, but it doesn’t seem too likely at this point. Steam is a PC gaming service. This means that most of the people who use Steam are a) Hardcore PC gamers with dedicated rigs or b) Gamers on a budget who like to take advantage of a good sale or FTP every once in a while. If Steam made a console it would be of limited appeal seeing as how these two sets of people either already have a gaming setup they’re perfectly happy with or only PC game because it can be easy on the wallet. You could argue that Valve is attempting to widen their market, but even that won’t work out well. Have you ever talked to anyone who didn’t play PC games besides Farmville? Mention PC gaming and they’ll either think of piracy or those horrible educational games you find in the supermarket.

Pictured: The public face of PC gaming.

Now this isn’t to say that Valve couldn’t do a good job in making a console. But in my humble, unpaid opinion, Valve would need to include these in their console to even come close to success:

  • Easy customization and modifying
  • Work exactly the same, if not better, than Steam’s desktop client
  • Web browsing/multimedia consuming capabilities
  • The support of the indie gaming developer community
  • Ability to use any peripheral available on PC
  • Low price for the core console

This won’t be easy for Valve. I think that right now they’re trying to make their own peripherals. It would be much more reasonable at this point to sell Valve-branded mice and headsets than a full-fledged console. What are your thoughts on this? Leave them below in the comments.

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