A job posting at Valve’s own website has nearly squashed any doubts that Valve is creating a new console. One of the job postings for an electronics engineer states this:
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 duties also require that the engineer “work with the hardware team to conceive, design, evaluate, and produce new types of input, output, and platform hardware”. It really is looking like Valve is starting to level up their game so to speak and bring a competitor into the market. Now would be the time since Sony and Nintendo are reporting big losses and Sony’s PS Vita is not selling that well. If Valve can pump out a console that can compete with Sony and Microsoft’s next generation then they will be a powerhouse. Despite my praise I do have two questions that need answering.
Will this console be similar to the Red Riding Hood console? NP Entertainment came out with their Red Riding Hood console which is basically a computer for people who only want to play video games. It’s a great idea but highly expensive, $450 for the basic console which has a 1 TB Hard Drive. Valve will have to keep their console at around or below $300 to be able to compete with next gen and current generation consoles. If they can’t people might be hard pressed to buy the system if it’s price is out of the question for Joe Schmoe’s budget.
Is this the beginning of the end of used games and physical copies of games? If Valve can manage to make an affordable gaming system for digital downloads then that begs the question of whether Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo will follow suit. All three companies already have online services that allow you to download game, the PSN and XBLA being the two closest to what Steam is. Steam has a very tight hold on the digital download market and may even get a tighter grasp if this console becomes a big hit. Although the digital downloads Steam offers are just as much as the physical copies. In my opinion digital downloads should be less expensive, which is the case with E-books. This is something else Valve will have to think about if they want this console to be a success.