The lights are on
Last month, Gabe Newell, the boss-man over at Valve, was quoted as saying, "if we have to sell hardware we will." That sentiment may be closer to fruition than we all realized.
TheVerge.com has uncovered a number of difficult to verify, but believable rumors that all point to Valve entering the hardware race very soon. Apparently, Valve is working on spec hardware and software that other manufacturers would be able to license that will play PC games and support the Steam distribution system. Valve would be designing the hardware and software, but other companies would be producing it, sort of along the lines of DVD player technology. This would make Valve's hardware an open system much like what Google has been doing with Android phones. There are rumors that Alienware has already begun designing early prototypes.
The system will be open to many assorted controller inputs, but Valve filed a patent last year for a customizable controller with swappable control sticks, so it's likely that something like that would be the controller that would be included with the system.
The system is also rumored to incorporate biometric scanning at feedback, meaning Valve's system could be monitoring things like where the player is looking and what their pulse rate is, and incorporate that data into game design.
If this is all to be believed, which seems like an exciting prospect to me, we could hear something more concrete as early as next week at GDC, or a little bit later at E3.
None of these details have been confirmed by Valve, so file all of this under rumor, but it certainly makes sense. A fourth player in the console war, especially from a company like Valve who likes to open things up as much as possible to any and all interested applicants, could be a great thing. It also makes makes me wonder about Half-Life 3. When Half-Life 2 released, part of the deal of getting to play it was that you had to download Steam. Valve used Half-Life 2 as a way to get people to start using Steam. You know what a great way to get me to invest in a new home console would be? Putting Half-Life 3 on it.
Email the author Kyle Hilliard, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.