Remember way back when Valve used to be a video game company instead of a hardware producer, storefront, and e-sports curator? Pepperidge Farms remembers. It seems so long ago that that meme almost works. But it seems time is circular, not linear, and Valve is getting back into game development.
Valve boss Gabe Newell spoke this week at a presentation for the company's upcoming Dota 2 card game, Artifact. Newell called Valve's focus on Steam and Hardware "an investment in the future," but said that Artifact is just the beginning.
"Artifact is the first of several games that are going to be coming from us," he said. "So that's sort of good news. Hooray! Valve's going to start shipping games again!"
Just what those projects are aside from Artifact, Valve isn't yet saying. Newell hinted last year that the company is working on a single player game and some titles for the Vive headset it co-developed with HTC.
Hardware seems to be a major part of game development for the company at this point, which Newell reiterated a few times.
"We aren't going to be talking about it today, but sort of the big thing, the new arrow we have in our quiver, really, is our ability to develop hardware and software simultaneously," he said.
He added later that the company has "always been a little bit jealous of companies like Nintendo."
"When Miyamoto is sitting down and thinking about the next version of Zelda or Mario, he's thinking about what is the controller going to look like, what sort of graphics and other capabilities," Newell continued. "He can introduce new capabilities like motion input because he controls both of those things, and he can make the hardware look as good as possible because he's designing the software at the same time that's really going to take advantage of it. So that is something we've been jealous of, and that's something you'll see us taking advantage of subsequently."
As we look forward to whatever Valve is working on – which probably isn't Half-Life 3 – that seems like something we should keep in mind. It sounds like Valve wants to tie its content to novel hardware solutions including but potentially not limited to its Vive headset.
With that said, just about every game Valve has put out has been excellent, so we're looking forward to seeing what's on the horizon.