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Games Hardware Technology

Valve Job Posting Confirms Hardware Plans 219

Posted by Soulskill
from the waiting-on-the-steambox dept.
redletterdave writes "Valve is reportedly interested in building hardware. The Bellevue, Wash.-based software developer added a job posting to its site on Tuesday morning for an industrial designer. We're frustrated by the lack of innovation in the computer hardware space though, so we're jumping in,' the posting said. '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.'"
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Valve Job Posting Confirms Hardware Plans

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  • by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @01:52PM (#41225189)

    Even basic input, the keyboard and mouse, haven’t really changed in any meaningful way over the years

    Maybe the reason for this is the basic form works. The design of the wheel hasn't changed much in a 5 thousand years either. I wonder why.

  • by rasmusbr (2186518) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @02:11PM (#41225467)

    "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"

    Yeah, aside from the Wiimote and Kinect and every other product that has changed the input in a meaningful way.

    It sounds to me like Valve is interested in developing a gaming laptop with Kinect-like functionality built in. That is an interesting idea, but it's nothing particularly revolutionary. Successful products are seldom revolutionary, so that's not a bad thing. Good luck Valve, with whatever it is you're doing!

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @02:20PM (#41225569) Journal

    I am one of those geeks who bring their own hardware to the office simply because I point blank refuse to work with cheap shit. In other industries this is perfectly normal, chefs, bakers, carpenters they all got their own tools and only a fool would try to come between a pro and his tools.

    Yet in the office, people work behind the cheapest monitors that some boss could find and mice and keyboards that would be overpriced if they were free, which they were and which they are.

    It seems people just think a penny a day is to much to spend on a decent office equipment. Well, call me a spender but I am willing to spend that penny.

    Even in gaming this is true, for every gaming PC with an expensive video card, a top of the range CPU there is a better then 50% chance that PC will have the bare minimum of ram, a 5400 rpm HD specced for size to store the porn, a monitor in the sub 100 dollar range and a mouse and keyboard that fall apart if you dare to click more then one button per minute.

    Valve can introduce all the hardware they want, unless they made it 100% free and stop their games from working without it, it won't sell because the average gamer won't spend on anything but a CPU/GPU.

    See the above comment by the moron named blahplusplus who wines about wanting more buttons on his mouse. There are tons of mice available with more buttons, it just asks you to actually buy one and not use the one that you got when your dad gave you his old Dell.

    People are lazy, cheap, stupid and filled with self-hate. If you want to introduce a new product and sell this, you got to know your customer and your customer is someone who is beyond contempt.

  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @02:20PM (#41225577)

    I know I'm going to get modded into oblivion for saying this. But I've gamed about every way imaginable. And the k/m, much beloved as it is by PC gamers, wasn't designed for games--and to me it shows. For one thing, movement with the keyboard lacks the nuance of an analog joystick. When I move in a console game, I control the speed of the movement. With a keyboard, it's either run or stop--on or off. And the mouse, while offering more speed and precision on a large display than a joystick, feels artificial to me (sorry to those of you who love the ultra-quick headshot). Of course, there is also the overarching issue that a k/m makes a really shitty controller if you're playing anywhere else but on a desktop. This is one of the many reasons I drifted away from PC gaming a few years back and into consoles (along with the money I saved not having to constantly chase the upgrade dragon).

    Now, flame away. I've already put my asbestos undies on.

  • by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @02:41PM (#41225863)
    You seem to be missing the point. Valve seems to be saying that they're not seeing the kind of innovation they want in the computer hardware space, and point to the keyboard and mouse saying "Look! These aren't changing to therefore there is no innovation."

    The obvious answer is they're not changing because they don't need to. It's like pointing to the wheel and saying "It's still the same shape, there's no innovation there!" Yes, in 5 thousand years we've adding on whiz-bang features and materials, but its circumference is still pi*d because that's what works best. Anything else is sub-optimal.

    For the mouse, perhaps it's not exactly *optimal* for for our current user interfaces its pretty much the best input we have. I think for any change in the input, we're going to also need a change in the software. History shows this to be the case, as the mouse didn't really do much until we needed it for a GUI. You point to voice recognition and eye tracking, and a whole slew of other input devices, yet you neglect the fact that all these things exist yet no one uses them. Again, I believe the reason is because the deviate from the optimal input device for our GUIs (mouse), and in order for some of these alternative inputs to become as mainstream as mouse, we're going to need a user interface to compliment them. That is to say, while voice command sucks for navigating our current 2D GUI, mouse would suck for navigating a voice-centric UI.

    On a final note, I as well applaud Valve for looking into a better way of doing things. I just want to be cautious and say I hope their efforts are not misguided, and that in their quest to find a better mouse or other input device, they don't instead just invent something different for the sake of being different.
  • by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @02:43PM (#41225897) Journal

    That's all irrelevant. What matters is that keyboard and mouse gamers beat the pants off of gamepad players whenever they go head to head. The keyboard and mouse is the superior controller by the only metric that matters, performance.

  • by blind biker (1066130) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @03:06PM (#41226167) Journal

    I know I'm going to get modded into oblivion for saying this.

    I wish sometimes posts starting with this phrase actually got modded into oblivion. The sheer drama-queenish whininess is starting to irritate me.

    If you have something controversial to say, just fucking say it. No need for the preemptive whining.

  • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot@ w o r f.net> on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @03:23PM (#41226373)

    The mouse has evolved, and natural selection has killed the old style mice.

    I mean, we have mousewheels now which seem to be essential (try using a mouse without one - they get annoying quick). But you have mice that have tried other things - IBM used to put their red nubs on them for scrolling, Apple put a touchpad on them, etc. And we have mice, trackballs, and touchpads (which have evolved greatly from their useless postage-stamp sized days to the acres of surface on the Apple ones).

    Hell, there were laptops with built-in mice (not trackballs or touchpads or eraser points, but actual mouse).

    Innovation may have stopped because they've matured, and we've reached a stage where they're really not much you can do that hasn't been tried before and natural selection killed it. Plus, considering a basic mouse is usable, costs probably $5 assembled tops, and is good enough (not a far cry from Jobs' demand that the Mac mouse cost $20 tops, though Apple makes terrible, horrendous mice (and always have), perhaps that's why they use touchpads).

    Keyboards, again you see a bit, but there's only so much you can do with the key layout before people can't type on them anymore. Maybe if you made it a key pad for gaming or something.

    Maybe a joypad can be improved a bit - though something like the Xbox360 one is pretty damn comfortable to use and definitely one I use for playing games on the PC with...

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