Half-Life developer ponders 'hardware as a service'
Valve may build and release its own game platforms if the hardware market fails to meet the developer’s expectations, the company’s president Gabe Newell has said.
Newell said his team is currently facing the conundrum of applying its service model – of constant incremental updates – to physical hardware.
“We’re thinking of trying to figure out how to do the equivalent of the incremental approach in software design and try to figure out how would you get something similar to that in the hardware space as well,” he told Penny Arcade.
He went on to claim that the current model for releasing hardware was too inflexible.
“The sort of old method of, you know, let’s go make a giant pile of inventory and hope that some set of applications emerge to justify this giant hardware investment doesn’t seem to be very consistent with what we’ve seen to be the fastest ways to move stuff forward,” he said.
“So we’re trying to come up with an alternative to that that gives us the ability to iterate more rapidly.”
Cementing how serious the Valve co-founder is in joining the hardware race, he said “if we have to sell hardware we will”.
“We have no reason to believe we’re any good at it, it’s more we think that we need to continue to have innovation and if the only way to get these kind of projects started is by us going and developing and selling the hardware directly then that’s what we’ll do.
“It’s definitely not the first thought that crosses our mind; we’d rather hardware people that are good at manufacturing and distributing hardware do that.
“We think it’s important enough that if that’s what we end up having to do then that’s what we end up having to do.”
In the interview he also revealed that Valve staff “mock stuff up in our hardware labs”.