Valve confirmed a while back that it’s started experimenting with hardware but Engadget’s interview with Jeri Ellsworth reveals that although the hardware division is still in its infancy they haven’t just been sitting on their laurels.
When they asked her what the team’s immediate goals are, she replied, “To make Steam games more fun to play in your living room.” Apparently, that’s the team’s one-year goal. The challenge is making games that require a mouse and keyboard palatable to people who are used to a controller, or to people who just don’t want to migrate PC controls to the comfort of their living room.
Ellsworth’s team is creating a hardware solution to the control barriers found in many Steam games. She wouldn’t say what that solution is exactly, but she left no options off the table — from Phantom Lapboard-esque solutions to hybrid controllers.
Gabe Newell has stated before that he is dissatisfied with the lack of innovation when it comes to the PC. He pointed out that even the basic input/output has not changed from the keyboard/mouse setup since the advent of the modern computer. So it’s not surprising that this is one of their targets.
There’s a lot of buzz surrounding Valve’s wearable computing project, but Ellsworth says that it’s be at least 2-5 years before the consumer sees anything concrete related to that.
Addressing images of her office that popped up online last week, she replies that “on any given day you could snap a photo of my office and find a variety of prototypes laying around.” So it’s not really something to start frothing at the mouth about. However, she did say that consumers can expect to experience beta testing for themselves with at least one new product from the team in about a year.
I suppose we’ll just have to be patient, Valve is notorious for making you wait for stuff.