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Is Valve working on a rival to Xbox and PS?

By on April 13, 2012
steam box pad

Rumours have been re-ignited following a job ad posted by Half-Life developer Valve.

The job ad was asking for an electronics engineer to work on ‘developing hardware’.

Steam and Half-Life creators Valve are currently advertising a job position for an electronics engineer to develop new hardware.

The job description in question reads as follows: ‘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.’

The image above comes from a patent Valve registered which describes a gamepad with removable buttons and other components.

But not only does the ad specifically say it’s not for a ‘me-too gamepad’ but the job also wants someone with knowledge of ‘ARM/X86 system design’ and ‘power supply management’. Although maybe the latter could refer to rechargeable batteries an ARM chip is usually found in the guts of portable consoles and smartphones.

With Valve having posted other similar job ads in recent months, the suggestion that they are working on their own console or custom PC was first made by website The Verge last month. It also mentioned the customisable controller described in the patent, but suggested it would be released alongside a ‘set-top console which could potentially pose a threat to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3′.

Officially Valve is denying everything though and marketing boss Doug Lombardi explained away pictures Kotaku received of a custom PC, dubbed the ‘Steam Box’ by fans, as merely a test device for a new user interface for download service Steam.

However he did later add the following: ‘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.’

Valve boss Gabe Newell has also admitted to The Verge that, ‘If we have to sell hardware we will.’

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