Valve IS making hardware… but it’s not a console

In a very un-Valve-like move, the Seattle-based Half-Life 2 creator has revealed all of its plans for its mysterious new hardware project.

But the rumours were wrong. Valve is not making a games console or under-the-TV PC box. It is, in fact, developing some sort of wearable computer.

Writing on the Valve blog, tech developer Michael Abrash, the developer has revealed that Valve has allowed him to pursue a project that was turned down by Microsoft back in 1994 when he was employed by the Xbox and Windows platform holder.

After a stint at id working with John Carmack (and a brief return to Microsoft) he eventually ended up at Valve where, amongst other things, he has been working on a wearable computing project.

By ‘wearable computing’ I mean mobile computing where both computer-generated graphics and the real world are seamlessly overlaid in your view; there is no separate display that you hold in your hands (think Terminator vision),” he wrote.

The underlying trend as we’ve gone from desktops through laptops and notebooks to tablets is one of having computing available in more places, more of the time. The logical endpoint is computing everywhere, all the time – that is, wearable computing – and I have no doubt that 20 years from now that will be standard, probably through glasses or contacts, but for all I know through some kind of more direct neural connection.

And I’m pretty confident that platform shift will happen a lot sooner than 20 years – almost certainly within 10, but quite likely as little as 3-5, because the key areas – input, processing/power/size, and output – that need to evolve to enable wearable computing are shaping up nicely, although there’s a lot still to be figured out.”

Abrash stresses that this is not confirmation of an imminent product reveal – at the moment the project exists purely in the R&D stage.

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