There’s a lot of buzz today about a new job posting on Valve Software’s website. The posting is for an electronics engineer, and clicking it reveals talk of "new platform hardware" and "whole new gaming experiences." Take a look:
For years, Valve has been all about writing software that provides great gameplay experiences. Now we’re developing hardware to enhance those experiences, and you can be a key part of making that happen. Join our highly motivated team that’s doing hardware design, prototyping, testing, and production across a wide range of platforms. We’re not talking about me-too mice and gamepads here – help us invent whole new gaming experiences.
- Work with the hardware team to conceive, design, evaluate, and produce new types of input, output, and platform hardware
Valve wants applicants to be familiar with "embedded systems/microcontrollers," and it demands some experience with "high speed serial interfaces," "schematic entry," and "circuit simulation," among other things. "ARM / X86 system design" is a plus, as well. Considering the company has both feet planted firmly in the software market today, that’s noteworthy indeed.
Some are taking this as evidence of that Steam console rumor we all heard about several weeks ago. But I’m not so sure. When Valve’s Doug Lombardi discussed the rumor with Kotaku last month, he said:
We’re prepping the Steam Big Picture Mode UI and getting ready to ship that, so we’re building boxes to test that on . . . We’re also doing a bunch of different experiments with biometric feedback and stuff like that, which we’ve talked about a fair amount. . . . All of that is stuff that we’re working on, but it’s a long way from Valve shipping any sort of hardware.
Steam’s Big Picture mode has been in the works for some time; it’s supposed to let folks play Steam games on "more screens throughout the house," including TV screens. So, it sounds like this might all be about bringing PC gaming into the living room, not introducing a new platform to supplant it—still exciting, no doubt about it, just not in quite the same way.