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Gabe Newell Ponders "If we have to sell hardware we will"


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.

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Craig Pearson

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