Speaking to Engadget, Valve‘s Jeri Ellsworth revealed a little bit more about the company’s new hardware division, and stated that she is hoping to have a beta for one of their first products as early as next year.
Ellsworth would not reveal exactly what the team is working on, but did say that it revolves around controllers that would “make Steam games more fun to play in your living room”. With the end goal being, a PC controller that is less alienating than the traditional keyboard and mouse setup. Whatever hardware solution Valve comes up with, Ellsworth said that it will be beta tested so Steam users can provide feedback.
A few prototype controllers have already been made, but right now Ellsworth says that prototyping is a “secondary” focus. Their main effort, at the moment, is to expand the existing hardware development teams.
Jeri also addressed questions about recent pictures of Valve‘s office that showed a device resembling a cross between a Xbox 360 and Wii U controller. She brushed aside the specific question about that controller, saying ”on any given day you could snap a photo of my office and find a variety of prototypes laying around”. Adding, that these prototypes range from the “crude to the nearly shippable”. Not surprisingly, she would not confirm where the strange controller in the picture fit on that scale.
In addition to their work with video game controllers, she spoke a little bit about the company’s wearable computing plans, revealing that they are at least “two to five years” out (pending technology) before becoming consumer products.