Steam Controllers will be manufactured only by Valve, at least for the initial period but will work with partners to create their Steam Machines.
Valve Taking The Hardware Game Seriously
Valve looks set to take all necessary steps to ensure their entry into the hardware business will be a success. While there have been some people who might have been surprised by the company’s entry into the physical side of things – they have actually been carrying hardware research for nearly two years now.
So when it enters the hardware market next year you can expect them to make an impact. The controller itself has been getting a lot of attention not least because of its unusual design that features two circular track pads. The main idea according to Valve is to make “whole genres of games that were previously only playable with a keyboard and mouse” with a clear focus on First Person Shooters.
Valve’s Greg Coomer recently said ,”“We wanted to accommodate the entire Steam catalogue and give game players a way to control that catalogue by holding something in their hands.And we were focusing that particularly on helping people play games on their TV, in the living room. It was that clarity that really made us focus our efforts, not on open-ended experiments and ‘what could we do if the sky’s the limit?’ but instead, ‘let’s do an inventory of what is required for playing all Steam games, even if you’re doing it from the sofa.’ In the den, you have about 104 keys on a standard keyboard, and you have a massively high-resolution 2D input surface. That’s pretty awesome for PC gaming, but it’s a lot to try to replicate or bring over to a space where you don’t have those devices and you’re holding everything in your hand. But it did help us focus our design efforts.”
Valve to Be Sole Makers of Steam Controller
The level of design and detail that’s been incorporated into the new controller is one of the reasons that Valve have decided to be the sole makers. While they have outsourced some of the console manufacturing – the Seattle software giant will keep the controller manufacturing in house.
Coomer feels this is the best way the company can ensure the company reaches its goals it outlined at the beginning of the project.
“We want [Steam controllers] to have the attributes that we think are important, that allow people to play all the games on Steam, and we didn’t think that it was really going to be possible to outsource the design for manufacturing and the finishing of the controller in a way that would allow third parties to take from us an idea or a reference design and bring it to market soon enough,” he recently said. “We just think that, for now, at least, we have to do that ourselves. So we’re going to be doing high volume production of the controller for ourselves.”
Valve Unlikely To Profit On Hardware Products
Valve are not expecting to actually profit that much from their entry into the hardware market with Coomer admitting that the company isn’t primed for the introduction of hardware products.
“We think we are disadvantaged when it comes to cost,” Coomer said. “We’re making a lot of decisions that are not actually optimized for cost. We’re not going to lose money when we go make the controller. We have enough confidence around that, that we’ve thought through the manufacturing. But we’re also not looking at it the same way that typical hardware manufacturers would look at it.”
However with the Steam OS and the Steam console also coming next year the company will be hoping to match expectation and make a breakthrough into gamers living rooms.
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