Here we go again. Although the "Steam Box" console rumors died off a bit ago due to Valve basically dismissing them, now we've got some actual news which is sure to drum up more speculation. On Valve's job posting page they are hiring an electronics engineer and this listing is what has gotten people excited.
The quote making the rounds on all the big blogs is as follows:
"For years, Valve has been all about writing software that provides great gameplay experiences. Now weâ€™re developing hardware to enhance those experiences, and you can be a key part of making that happen."
Seems exciting, doesn't it? Valve is delving into hardware! The big gaming sites have also made sure to link to the rumors of Steam Box to imply they may be related. Even this post has made mention of that rumor, but the intent is not the same. If you simply read further into the job posting then it takes a slightly different tone.
The duties of the to-be-hired electronics engineer is stated as simply:
"Work with the hardware team to conceive, design, evaluate, and produce new types of input, output, and platform hardware."
Although I can't pretend to know exactly what they mean by "platform hardware", anyone could give a simplified definition of what input and output hardware generally are. Input device are things like keyboards, mice, and controllers. Output devices are things like monitors, headphones, and printers. It's easy to rule out working on printers, but the listing seems most strongly to suggest that they would be working on some sort of interface device. Why else would they say they're "not talking about me-too mice and gamepads here"? It seems they want to one-up the current state of gamepads and mice currently available.
Valve fans may remember that Steam intends to eventually roll out "big picture mode". If and when that does come to fruition it's not hard to guess that special controllers or even a streaming device will be implemented. This is now all my speculation, but it makes more sense than speculating a full-blown console is in the works when Valve said they were looking for help with input/output device production. Until more job listings will show up soon to solidify any rumors, they are just that - rumors.
What do you think Valve has planned?