One of Valve's pet projects is a VR headset.
After being entrenched in the same videogame console generation for close to seven years now, it's clear that the games industry is in need of innovation. You might point to motion control gaming as a sign that creativity hasn't been drained from the industry entirely, but the Nintendo Wii is six-years-old now and well past its prime.
Innovation seems to be trending towards wearable computing. From Google's Project Glass to the John Carmack-endorsed Oculus Rift, virtual reality headsets may just be on the horizon for the next generation. Valve, beloved PC developer, is apparently jumping on board the VR headset train.
Recently, there have been whisperings of the possibility of Valve developing a new console. A recent job posting on Valve's site for an industrial designer, which stated, "We’re [Valve] frustrated by the lack of innovation in the computer hardware space though, so we’re jumping in. Even basic input, the keyboard and mouse, haven’t really changed in any meaningful way over the years. There’s a real void in the marketplace, and opportunities to create compelling user experiences are being overlooked," added some weight to these rumors. However, a recent NY Times article indicated that Valve's interest in an industerial designer may not be for a "Steam box", but instead, a VR headset.
The company showed an early prototype to the Times. Valve's Michael Abrash heads up Valve's VR endeavor, although you shouldn't take that as an official affirmation that Valve will be unveiling a complete VR headset in a few years. According to Abrash, the company may end up not producing the headset, but would gladly share its designs with other companies.
Though EA's Chief Operating Officer Peter Moore poo-poos the idea of wearable computing becoming part of the mainstream, claiming "It’s appealing to them [Gabe Newell and Sergey Brin] because they live in that outer fringe of I.Q. and money," with Oculus Rift's successful Kickstarter and Valve's entry into VR development, VR gaming doesn't seem so far away.