Valve’s First Hardware Goes Beta In 2013

We’ve been hearing talk out of Valve for months about all the weird new technology, like ZOMG wearable computers, and perhaps a Valve console. Which is to say, we all know Valve has a hardware section, but when will it actually begin churning out stuff? Apparently, sooner than we think. Valve’s Jeri Ellsworth has confirmed to Engadget that the first beta versions of Valve’s hardware division’s products will begin starting early 2013.

Engadget reports that “Ellsworth lights up when she talks about the work her team is doing now. She gets verbose when asked about corporate culture at Valve, about how she’s never worked at a company where risk and failure are so acceptable — even encouraged. She’s visibly excited about the prototypes she’s creating at Valve’s new prototyping facility, but manages to contain herself enough to not let slip exactly what her and her team are working on.” So what’s the big deal? Ellsworth says their challenge is “To make Steam games more fun to play in your living room.”

That seems to mean Steam console. Engadget has more, and I’m just going to quote it outright:

Regardless, it sounds like gamers will have a chance to give feedback on those designs, as Valve’s hardware team is planning a beta for its various products. Ellsworth is hoping to have one for the team’s first product in the coming year — we’ll of course know much more about the product by then, she says. Internal beta tests are already underway, and a variety of the team’s prototypes are available in the office for other Valve employees to tool around with. The next step is getting prototypes into gamers hands — she says Valve already has a production line for short runs, making a beta possible — and iterating on design before launch. As for how the beta will be handled, she posits it’ll be tied to Steam in some way, but no logistics are anywhere near nailed down.

Sweet. Next year we may see Valve mixing it up in something like the console wars. Here’s hoping they come up with something better than a motion controller.

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