Awhile back it was rumored that Valve was planning to enter the hardware space with their very own “Steam Box.” In addition, there were also rumors that the company was toying with the idea of “wearable computing,” but they’ve remained pretty silent on the whole thing. Now a new job listing has been posted on Valve’s site and they’ve finally admitted that they are indeed planning to make hardware of some kind.
The listing is for an Industrial Designer that “will join a world-class group of electrical, mechanical, software engineers and designers who are busily defining new entertainment experiences through both hardware and software.” Adding that they wish to take advantage of the applicant’s expertise in “product design and manufacturing, ergonomics, usability, aesthetics, and surfacing to our team.”
The listing goes on to describe that Valve feels that there’s not enough innovation in the current hardware space, something that they wish to change (emphasis added).
“Valve is traditionally a software company. Open platforms like the PC and Mac are important to us, as they enable us and our partners to have a robust and direct relationship with customers. 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.”
Finally, the requirements for the position are pretty beefy and specific. It looks like Valve really wants someone who is experienced in this field and can help them create something very special.
- BS/BA/BFA degree (or equivalent) in industrial design (or equivalent)
- 6+ years of professional experience shipping world-class, high-tech hardware products
- A thorough understanding of product design principles
- Highly effective multidisciplinary collaboration skills
- Personal commitment to quality, attention to detail
- Confidence with 2D and 3D design visualization tools
- Effective, articulate design communication and decision-making skills
What exactly Valve has in mind when they refer to hardware is anyone’s guess, but the fact that they mention input devices like the keyboard and mouse might provide some clues. While a “Steam Box” might be in the future, Valve might start with small peripherals at first to get their feet wet. Either way, it will be interesting to see what they do.
Source: Valve Jobs