Valve is "jumping in" to the computer hardware market
Valve Software has just revealed a bit more about its apparent intention to jump from gaming software to computer hardware: a job posting for an industrial designer noticed by CVG states that the company is "frustrated by the lack of innovation in the computer hardware space" and that Valve is "jumping in" to fill a "void in the marketplace."
While this job posting seems to confirm the persistent rumors that Valve is looking to get into the hardware business, it doesn't tell us much about what form the company's efforts will take: in addition to the "Steam Box" console rumors, Valve has also obtained a patent for a controller with swappable parts. The wording of the job listing also doesn't preclude some sort of gaming PC, though Valve director Gabe Newell has made his dissatisfaction with the forthcoming Windows 8 "catastrophe" quite clear. Anything that creates a "compelling user experience" appears to be fair game, though the listing specifically calls out basic input devices like the keyboard and mouse as elements that "haven't really changed in any meaningful way over the years."
Valve isn't the first company to express dissatisfaction with the state of today's computer hardware: Microsoft's Surface tablets are a warning shot of sorts across the industry's bow. Razer, a company previously known for its gaming accessories, jumped into the PC market with the unique (if expensive) Blade gaming laptop, which is being refreshed with an updated model this month. Our own back-to-school laptop guide found that, while there are certainly many choices for anyone looking to buy a PC these days, not many of those choices are good ones.
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