Valve Software isn’t anywhere close to prototyping a new console—something that everyone assumes they’ll do eventually—but the company want to beta test a product next year. ‘Question is, what will it do?
Engadget talked to famous computer chip designer Jeri Ellsworth (employed by Valve last year) about the team, which is still in the recruitment phase of their plans for world domination:
When asked what the team’s immediate goals are, she obliquely states, “To make Steam games more fun to play in your living room.” That’s the team’s one-year goal, at least. The challenge is making games that require a mouse and keyboard palatable to people who are used to a controller, or to people who just don’t want to migrate PC controls to the comfort of their living room. Working in tandem with Steam’s newly beta’d “Big Picture Mode,” Ellsworth’s team is creating a hardware solution to the control barriers found in many Steam games.
Steam’s Big Picture Mode, which launched its beta just last week, is seen by many people as the bridge between desktop PC gaming and traditional “living room console set-ups” that most American homes have.
However, the real innovation with the TV-focused feature is how all of your content purchased with a Steam account is refitted to suit your HDTV set of choice. Paired with the ”Daisywheel” system, which remaps a keyboard configuration to a controller, it’s a shift towards meeting both PC and console gamers in the middle.
Rumors of a “Steam Box” have persisted for a long time, and having Ellsworth working under the hood at Valve should see the creation of something truly unique. Ellsworth is credited with the creation of the “C64 Direct to TV,” a 30-game emulator within a joystick that proved to be a huge holiday seller.