Well, this is pretty interesting: a new Valve job ad pegs the Half-Life developer with an interest in jumping into the PC hardware business. The job ad calls for an Industrial Designer who will be "defining new entertainment experiences through both hardware and software." Even more interesting is what the company has to say about the current state of the PC hardware industry.
"We’re frustrated by the lack of innovation in the computer hardware space though, so we’re jumping in," the job ad states. "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." If there was any doubt before, let it be laid to rest - Valve is interested in making computer hardware of its own, and it's going to try to bring the Valve touch to hardware that hasn't been changed in years.
Valve has been rumored to have a console in the works for quite some time now, but the company seems to be going in a different direction with this hire. The job ad suggests that Valve may want to design its own PC gaming equipment - keyboards, mice, monitors, so forth. Of course, it's difficult to say from just the job ad, but at least we know that the interest in making computer hardware is there. Now all we need is an announcement from Valve to confirm it, and given the studio's history of making timely reveals, such an announcement is probably years off.
Still, this could turn out to be a step in the direction of that fabled Steam Box people seem to want to want so much. That's probably all in the distant future though, and for the moment, we're pretty excited to see what Valve wants to do in the PC hardware space. If you've got the credentials - you'll need to have "6+ years of professional experience shipping world-class, high-tech hardware products" along with meeting other requirements - maybe you should consider sending Valve your resume.