Gabe Newell Ponders “If we have to sell hardware we will”

Uncy Gabe
Penny Arcade’s new games journalism site (note the lack of capitalisation), the PA Report, has kicked off with an interview with Uncy Gabe of Valve’s new beard. Most interviews with the newly hirsute Newell have some form of forward looking speculation about the industry, because that’s the way his mind works, and Newell’s take on hardware shows that the Valve hivemeind are contemplating how best to serve customers hardware as well as software. Though Newell observes that “It’s definitely not the first thought that crosses our mind”, Valve’s biofeedback experiments have been so successful that they are, if no-one else does it adequately, prepared to sell the hardware themselves.

“It’s not a question of whether or not this is going to be useful for customers, whether or not it’s going to be useful for content developers, you know, it’s figuring out the best way we can get these into people’s hands.”

But how could that happen?

Newell talked about wearable computing and delivering incremental hardware updates using the Team Fortress 2 model, which are both radical ideas that should remind you just how speculative the notion is. He’s thinking not doing, but the idea did lead PA interviewer Ben Kuchera to press the question that passed through my head: “Now do you see a future where Valve is actually selling hardware or do you just want to have things that could take advantage of that technology should it be popular?” The answer:

“Well, if we have to sell hardware we will. We have no reason to believe we’re any good at it, it’s more we think that we need to continue to have innovation and if the only way to get these kind of projects started is by us going and developing and selling the hardware directly then that’s what we’ll do. It’s definitely not the first thought that crosses our mind; we’d rather hardware people that are good at manufacturing and distributing hardware do that. We think it’s important enough that if that’s what we end up having to do then that’s what we end up having to do.”

I’ll take one wearable Steam-powered nanosuit please, Gabe.

Via the PA Report.


  1. Forgoroe says:

    I’d like a pair of them portal 2 boots :3

    • Jams O'Donnell says:

      They’d probably help with my fear of heights, that’s for sure!

    • Major Seventy Six says:

      I sure want them too, along with Aperture’s portal gun of course. Why not a Crysis nano-suit with that? I’d like the combo of those equipped.

    • Memph says:

      If they actually used Simmons and his Cave Johnsson persona for marketing, they wouldn’t get ’em out the door quick enough.

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      Portal 2 boots? They’re history. Yesterday’s news. Obsolete. Old stuff.

      At Aperture Science, we don’t do old stuff. All our stuff is new. If our new stuff gets old, we burn it and build new new stuff. This keeps us on our toes and it keeps things fresh. You can always smell fresh paint at Aperture Science! Until you permanently lose your sense of smell. Those paint fumes can be harsh. And highly flammable. But it’s the smell of progress!

      Boots are the past. The future is gloves. Falling gloves! They said it was impossible and stupid, but HR said it was impossible to fire the naysayers. I reassigned the naysayers as reactor shielding, then I fired HR for being stupid. Now I’ve got a lab full of can-do-ers. And fire. But that’s just one lab, with the lemons. Don’t talk to me about lemons. Note to self: Fire the lemon people.

    • Wonko the Sane says:

      Hats off for Cave channelling :)

    • Lenderz says:

      Welcome to the H.E.V. mark 4 gaming system. For use in tiresome environmental and family conditions. High-impact reactive gaming activated. Atmospheric stimulants activated. Vital sign monitoring activated. Automatic medical systems engaged. Weapon selection system activated. Munition level monitoring activated. Communications interface online. Have a very fun game.

  2. Bodminzer says:

    Prediction: Special hat that allows you to see and feel the innermost thoughts and feelings of Gabens extensive knife collection.

    • Rikard Peterson says:

      Newell talked about wearable computing and delivering incremental hardware updates using the Team Fortress 2 model

      Of course it’s hats. ;) On a more serious note (and after actually reading the interview), it’s a bit interesting. Does anyone have more info on what it is he’s talking about? I don’t really get it.

      (Am I the only one that think he’s better looking with the beard and glasses?)

  3. kobre12 says:

    Gabe has new badass beard, you should put that pic in the article! :)

    link to

  4. kikito says:

    I’ll buy the crowbar.

    If it comes with Half Life 3.

  5. dee says:

    Could it be that Gabe is even more of a hunk than ever?

  6. Monchberter says:

    Come the hour, come the Hat-o-caust.

    The day the TF2 hat obsession became reality itself.

    The world ends this year.

  7. Tuco says:

    I, for one, welcome our new bearded overlord.

  8. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    Steam-branded PCs with carefully-calibrated performance, and a note added to all Steam games: This game requires at least Steam Level 2 to play.”

    • propjoe says:

      I can’t tell if you’re trying to portray this possible future as good or bad, but I for one wouldn’t especially mind it. I gave in to Steam fanboy-ism a long time ago.

  9. Keymonk says:

    I love Gabe Newell. He always seems to have something smart or at least interesting to say.

    • Stevostin says:

      Indeed. Each of his interviews always showcases a very different way of thinking from your averag Joe CEO – weihter Kotick like or indie dude. The very likeable thing with Valve is to see smartness being rewarded. It’s not a common thing to see and it gives hope for humanity ;-)

    • Brun says:

      Indeed. I read an article a while back in which the website in question (which I won’t name here) interviewed CEOs or lead developers from major publishers and/or development shops. Most of the questions were about the current state and future of PC gaming or gaming in general. Almost all of the people interviewed said something along the lines of mobile, social gaming, or free-to-play as their answer to the “future” question.

      Only Gabe gave a different answer with his biofeedback experimentation. It really made Valve stick out amongst the pot of other publishers in that interview.

  10. CaspianRoach says:

    Coming up: Valve next-gen console, you heard it here first.

  11. PJMendes says:

    Valve is using biofeedback studies to design a better, more addicting drug, I mean, to better create the stories they want to tell and the games they want to create.

  12. Alexander Norris says:

    Why is Gabe’s horrible beard only linked rather than being the top image? This is yet more evidence that John Walker is in Valve’s pockets!!11!!!1

  13. Kaira- says:

    I liked how he side-stepped the questions about account-locking and such.

    • Tuco says:

      Actually, he didn’t.
      He just avoid giving a definitive answer, but even just noticing the issue is a very promising start, and he hinted that they are probably going beyond what they are legally allowed to, for the sake of customers’ happiness, which is at least a good mindset.

  14. roryok says:

    I don’t know if I’ll ever play a games system which requires me to wear something first. It took me long enough to adjust to the safety strap on the wiimote.

    • PoulWrist says:

      You actually use that?

    • roryok says:

      is that not cool? ¬.¬

    • Skabooga says:

      Don’t you love the power glove?

      (Also, for what it’s worth, I too use the strap when using the wiimote. But I also don’t jaywalk and love queuing for things.)

  15. InternetBatman says:

    I was positive the new Nintendo system would come with biofeedback. They experimented on that peripheral and then it just disappeared. You could do some really cool gameplay stuff with biofeedback.

  16. vodka and cookies says:

    I wish Valve had continued that SteamTV idea which leaked out at one point some time ago, I guess they canned it. It was something similar to the OnLive Micro console but sends the output from your PC running Steam to your TV with minimal fuss.

    • Tuco says:

      I think they are actually still working on it under the name “Big Picture” (which is a broader thing, including even an interface tailored for TV, etc.).

  17. DeathRow says:

    Steam Watches! Stwatches!!! Stream your steam games on your watch!

    Steam Belt Buckles. Stblubckes!!! The controller you need for your Stwatches!

    *burp I’m drunk.

  18. Arca says:

    Santa Claus?

  19. nubbuka says:

    HEV suit k thx bye

  20. engion3 says:

    This could work. I feel when I play the majority of games these days I’m just going through the levels hoping they entertain me enough to not quit as soon as something stupid happens or it gets too mundane (KINGDOM OF AMALAURLAUALR)

  21. Vinraith says:

    That would be the next logical step. Perhaps 5 more years to Steam-branded computers, then, and perhaps 5 beyond that to a closed platform of their own (Steambox?).

  22. Net_Bastard says:

    Honestly when I read this I thought that they were thinking of a computer hardware retail site. With all of the sales on Steam, imagine buying a new GPU and CPU there.

  23. Lemming says:

    I have long suspected that Valve are making Steam: The Console…

    NB: I posted this comment earlier today and it disappeared. Not sure why. o_O

  24. Clovis says:

    Staring eyes?

  25. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    I defy anyone to look at the photos of Valve’s offices, and not want to work there.
    I wonder if they’d sponsor my green card to go over and work in their tech support…