Valve Software makes hardware move

Valve Software, the hot gaming company behind such titles the Half-Life 2 and Counter-Strike, is looking to get into hardware, according to a job post seeking an industrial designer.

According to the job description — also posted on the Coroflot job board and first spotted by website Nowgamer — Valve seeks talent to help the company’s existing engineers who are:

defining new entertainment experiences through both hardware and software. We’re hoping to add your expertise in product design and manufacturing, ergonomics, usability, aesthetics, and surfacing to our team.

There’s not a ton of detail about what, exactly, the Bellevue, WA. company plans to build, but the post leaves no doubt about the company’s dissatisfaction with the current state of hardware design:

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.

Valve Steambox on its way?

In early March, rumors surfaced about a mysterious Valve “Steambox” gaming console project but the company discounted those reports (sort of). This job posting, if nothing else, will bring them back to life.

Earlier this month, Valve also said it will start offering productivity applications as well as games on its Steam online delivery service. Whatever happens in hardware, Valve is definitely looking venture beyond its gaming stronghold.