Valve: The software giant that can’t succeed in hardware

Before it became the biggest company in the video game industry, Valve started humbly back in 1996.

They were funded by Gabe Newell and Mike Harrington and based their headquarters in Washington. Their first game came in 1998, and it was nothing but the awarded and praised Half-Life, which sold more than 9 million copies.

But what made the game go the extra mile was the development tools released with it that allowed modders to create mods and enhancements for it. One of those modes is nothing less than Counter-Strike. The game reached to many gamers who enjoyed, and still enjoy, the fight between police and terrorist. Among the maps that were launched there were two that users enjoyed the most. First of all was Nuke. Since then, this map set in an old nuclear power plant has become one of the most iconic in the game. Secondly, the map based on a casino from Mississippi. The idea of a casino has changed a lot since then, given that nowadays it is not only a representative context within a game, but it can be played without visiting any physically. Websites such as AsiaBet recommends different online casinos where it’s possible to play. Here you can find your favorite games straight from the browser without the need to download anything. Pay securely using any of the payment options, and you’ll have access to jackpots 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Thirdly, Mirage, a map set in the Middle East and presents innumerable strategic possibilities.

They kept working on video games and gave birth to milestones such as Portal and the sequel to Half-Life with its consecutive chapters. However, other game which got a great succeed was Dota. The objective of this game is quite similar of Counter Strike, but in Dota the users must defeat the Ancestor of the opponent. Then came Steam, which is an online store that has proven to be the best online game store to date.

We all know that every company has a black spot in its history, and Steam is no different. For years, they have been launching unsuccessful hardware components that are subject to study. First, because they were, for the most part, good products, and for some reason, they didn’t do well in sales.

In this article, we will discuss the hardware released by Valve to date.

Steam Link

Steam Link was a device that promised what every gamer was hoping for but fell short. Launched in 2015, it’s a small black unit the size of a hard drive that would allow you to transmit your PC to any TV connected to the Steam Link through HDMI.

The transmission relied on Wi-fi, but a wired connection was recommended. At the time, the price was around 40 dollars, depending on which country you lived in, but at the end of its life cycle, Steam was sending them out for as little as 2 dollars on holiday sales and such.

The truth is that the piece of hardware didn’t deliver. The experience was terrible and still is to this day, even with high internet speed.

Fortunately, Steam has not fully given up on the idea and has created an app that has the same name and is more user-friendly. It is available for download on your phone, computer, tablet, and even your smart TV.

Steam Machines

The idea of steam machines came to life as computers disguised as consoles. They were robust and powerful. You could, as with all PCs, swap components to make them better and keep them up-to-date.

You could install Windows or Steam OS in them to give the HUD a console appearance. Unfortunately, Steam OS was based on Linux, and while the compatibility is improving now, it was a bit disappointing back then.

You could still play a bunch of classic Valve games, such as the ones mentioned above, and, if that’s not enough, on the web browser you could play to many other options.

Pricewise, they were OK; you got what you paid for, but in some cases, the heat was a big issue with these small-sized PCs.

Steam Controller

Now, this one is a shame. The controller is extremely versatile and comes at a price that is equal to its competitors’.

Those who choose a computer over a console know that the struggle to translate the head movement of the mouse to a controller is extremely difficult.

The Steam Controller features two trackpads and an analog stick with buttons and shoulders.

The controller looks great, but what makes it stand out is the software support.

The community can create configurations for each and every game in the store and share them with the community, so any game that doesn’t support games in the first place can be configured.

HTC Vive

This was the first “serious” VR headset, and it came out in 2015, after all the weird hardware we’ve been getting since the ’80s.

The device itself, while delivering a solid experience, was bulky, heavy, and everything looked blurry.

On top of that, it was very expensive and you needed a much more expensive PC to run games that looked like tech demos.

VR seems to be more mainstream now, and we will probably see great things in the next few years.


While the hardware delivered by Valve seems to be more of a passion project for its creators than something oriented to customers, there’s a niche for some of the things they do.

Truth is, most of their hardware does not lack in quality built, and that is something to remark. And while most of their products are not commercially successful, we are glad they are still trying to re-invent the wheel after all these years in the business.