Valve Hiring Principal Industrial Designer, Confirms Hardware Interest

Valve have put up a job advert for a Principal Industrial Designer, and in doing so have pretty much confirmed that the company is moving into hardware.

“We’re frustrated by the lack of innovation in the computer hardware space though, so we’re jumping in. Even basic input, the keyboard and mouse, haven’t really changed in any meaningful way over the years. There’s a real void in the marketplace, and opportunities to create compelling user experiences are being overlooked.”

The position will also require the individual who gets the job to have expertise in product design and manufacturing, as well as 6+ plus years in shipping consumer electronics products. It’s unclear what kind of hardware Valve will be looking to create though; anything from a full blown console to peripherals like controllers could be on that list.

Source: Coroflot


  1. some kind of mouse-and-keyboard substitute that works with their big-screen initiative to make living-room PC gaming more viable?
    I’d love something that negates the need for a flat surface to use a wireless mouse on. A handheld trackball or something?

    • PlayStation Move on steroids type tech isn’t a bad mouse substitute, but can be quite unwieldy… there’s a lot someone could do given Valve’s hands-off management approach

      Would take years to R&D and bring something to market though, unless someone there already has ideas and they just want someone to help make it a reality

      • the Nav controller that goes with Move is brilliant, something like that with a trackball or optical thing like they had on Blackberries a few years ago might be a good solution. It’s still very difficult to control RTS and stuff like that in a “lean-back” way.

  2. I already use a 360 controller for most of my PC gaming. But a controller that could be used in the menus and chat and store would be sweet.

  3. “Even basic input, the keyboard and mouse, haven’t really changed in any meaningful way over the years”

    Possibly becasue they are simple, elegant and work perfectly and don’t need an update?

    Apart from using your hands to type the only way to get text on a screen is voice commands which are already in practise so I’m looking forwrad to see how Valve can improve on the keyboard. Maybe by flicking your eyebrows to indicate words?


    • Don’t you think “Muppets” is a bit strong? Especially considering that Valve and its offspring (Steam) got right what many companies are only now trying to emulate – to varying degrees of success.

      Also, Keyboard and Mouse were secondary to the idea that hardware has stagnated a bit over the past few years. To some degree I agree. Although, why… I… just… can’t put my finger on the reason.. Hmph.

    • I don’t think it’s about getting text on the screen – it’s about replacing the keyboard/mouse with another control system.

  4. Interesting, obviously they’ve tried the Razer device and Move and must have looked into Kinect too but they still find the need for something else?

  5. I want to like Valve, I really do, but some of the strings they pull for lock-in goes a bit far for me, unless you’re already drunk on the Steam kool-aid, and I get the feeling this is much the same – there’s honestly very little that is just in the computer hardware space that needs innovating – most of the time gamers deride any effort to move forward on alternative control schemes (Kinect, Move, Sharpshooter [ and that goes back to the light guns of the late 80’s and 90’s], the Microsoft wireless steering wheel, etc) but they’ll probably accept it this time ‘just because it’s Valve’

    The problem, as MS and Sony know all to readily, is getting acceptance and hitting critical mass, and whilst you might be able to add Kinect and Move into the next gen of consoles, getting people to forego their keyboard and mice (or trackball, if that lights your candle) and buy yet another input peripheral will be even harder a proposition to sell to PC gamers.

    Realistically though things like holographic technology, movement towards the minority report interface would be a good move, but hell even looking to be more inclusive for people with motor issues would be a step forward.

    As an aside, there’s lots of handheld trackball stuff out there already

    Oh and if they don’t call an in-house linux distribution GLaDOS – they’re missing a trick

    • If something doesn’t come in the box it will always be a minority sport, whether it’s motion or second screen gaming. If it does come in the box it better be damn good enough to not be a barrier to sales to your target demographic.

      Not really sure what Valve can do in the PC gaming arena even if they end up expanding the big screen initiative to a Steambox, where people generally play indie titles (pad or keyboard), FPS (pad or k&m) or strategy (k&m) where is the need for something else, sure something like Move on steroids could be a reasonable all-rounder but it will never gain significant traction, surely?

  6. Valve time, we will hear about whatever it is they are actually making by about 2023

  7. Given Valve’s comments (and people’s comments being attributable to ‘Valve’) over recent months I’m wondering just exactly what problem Valve, developer, digital distributor for other companies games and perpetual Episode 3 teaser, is seeing with PCs, even beyond Hardware? Could it be Windows 8 and the Windows Store, other publishers not putting their content on their, albeit more popular, distribution platform?
    Whether a competing service is popular or not, it’s all adding choice, and when you’re number 1 in a particular market, more choice equals more erosion, and this and their recent comments on Windows 8 sounds like a typical knee-jerk, bear-baiting reaction.

    Their move to Linux, whilst being welcome, is all rather a few too many years too late for it be for any form of meaningful altruistic or engineering advancement, but if this came down solidly on the full Valve supported linux distro, not Steam for Ubuntu, but a full distribution tweaked and tuned for gaming, then I’d be wholeheartedly behind these efforts, but recently it’s all been rather too vague…. even by Valve’s standards

    • Valve & Blizzard moaning about Win8 and its included default marketplace is nothing more than threat to their business. Steam will still exist & work fine in its desktop mode, I’m sure they could even put their storefront behind a Metro interface and there nothing stopping it being just as popular as it is now, what they’re worried about is lots of indie titles going to Windows Marketplace/Metro AppStore and not coming to their platform, or the many casuals just defaulting to getting their PC games from there.

      Valve are hedging their bets by rolling out to include software programs/apps which could mitigate any lost revenue or even grow their revenue

      Their move in to linux is a welcome one, albeit late, but really it’s just another revenue stream for them, but unless they can take Nvidia & ATI with them to really nail down drivers across a wide range of GPUs it’s only going to be a limited success at best, what would be interesting is is Valve do something on the hardware front, something like a SteamBox, but there’s many challenges to that

  8. Doesn’t Michael Abrash (of Microsoft and id Software’s Quake fame) work at Valve now?

    Didn’t John Carmack – who has been dabbling with head-mounted displays – recently have a meeting at Valve with his old friend Michael?

    I’m expecting something along the lines of virtual or augmented reality.

  9. For all the negativity in the comments, the company must be doing something right to provoke this much discussion for what is essentially a speculative job description.

    Forums and comment streams would actually go into meltdown if they announced something tangible that they will be releasing soon!

  10. only thing I’d like to see from PC is cheaper hardware and to be easily accessible and also less over-charging devices designed for “gamers” while in fact some stupid Razer Mouse could be much cheaper. Enhanced presision! buttons! and lights! £129!

    Would still like to see some sort of PC build from Valve at like £200/£300 odds, I’d buy it not sure about alternative control schemes but time will tell.

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