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Is Valve Working on Next-Gen Hardware? Steam Box?

Valve Working On Hardware

Job postings and tweets point towards Valve’s future plans

Valve said they weren’t working on hardware, but were they hiding something?

Earlier this year Valve debunked rumours that it would be building a console. Rumours had pointed towards the Half-Life developer building a PC-in-a-box, that would be open to everyone. The box would be similar to Alienware’s X51, and that would apparently support Valve’s machine when it released.

However, Valve quickly debunked the rumours. While they didn’t flat out deny they would build a console, or something similar in the future, they said there would be nothing like it in the immediate future.

Jeri Ellsworth has been hired by Valve, who created the C-One and the Commodore 64-Direct-to-TV. On Twitter, she recently advertised job openings at Valve as the company as hiring electrical engineers/makers for “out R&D dream team.”

She then made another tweet saying she is working on next-gen hardware. She literally said that on Twitter. This was retweeted by Greg Coomer, who was rumoured to be working on the development of the “Steam Box.”

Engineer job ad

Taking a look at the electrical engineer job posting, it says the company is involved in “hardware design, prototyping, testing and production” across a range of platforms. Importantly, Valve say they’re creating “new” gaming experiences.

It also says the successful applicants will be concepting new types of design, with candidate needing experience of circuit simulation system level design experience. Other required experience is in chip design, “ARM / x86 system design” and FCC certification.

That doesn’t necessarily mean Valve is developing a console per se – it could be an accessor, or a new form of controller. But it’s interesting, and the connections line up to at least suggest Valve could be working on a console.

Do I believe they are? No … at least for now. I think a Steam Box will happen, but I don’t see them launching alongside Nintendo this year and Microsoft and Sony next year.

The Verge’s original rumour said Valve’s “Steam Box” would bring a customizable controller – showing a patent with removable analog sticks – and the Box being able to everyone to develop on. That included EA, who have their rival to Steam – Origin. It seemed Valve was planning an open-source console.

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Published: Friday, April 13th, 2012 Last Modified: April 13, 2012

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