Rumours of proprietary hardware produced by Half-Life, Portal and Team Fortress 2 dev Valve have been floating around over the last couple of days, and now a controller patent filed by the company has been dug out of the archives, lending a little more weight to the whole idea.
The patent in question, which was filed on November 4, 2009, says "one or more main control input interfaces on the game controller consist of generalized sockets... a variety of modular input interfaces can be plugged into these sockets".This means users would be able to swap components as they see fit. Interestingly, "the first socket is suitable for manual insertion and removal of a trackball." Could this be Valve's solution to the thumbsticks versus mouse argument?
The patent was submitted by Valve employees Mike Ambinder, Steven Bond and Scott Dalton. Given the submission date, Valve's potentially been working on the device for a number of years, meaning the design may have changed a fair bit, or even been scrapped altogether.
Patent images of what could be a Valve console surfaced on Twitter over the weekend. The shots were spotted on a feed belonging to Greg Coomer, a product designer at Valve, along with the caption: "Built this tiny PC. i7 quad core, 8GB ram, Zotac Z-68 mobo w/ onnboard Nvidia mobile gfx. Runs Portal 2 FAST."
Speaking to Kotaku, an anonymous tipster said Coomer is also lead on the SteamBox team, which is made up of between five and ten people. The source added that Coomer is notoriously loose lipped, and judging from a number of his tweets that would be a somewhat accurate assertion.
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