Speaking to JuJu2Cast, Valve’s Greg Coomer explained that Valve has very carefully fine-tuned its input device, and wants to make sure that anyone using SteamOS can take advantage of all of its features.
“The controller is going to be a Valve product,” said Coomer . “We’re going to manufacture it. We’re going to supply all the people who are making third party Steam Machines with controllers. It’s not really because we’re super anxious to get in the hardware business and we think it’s the best way to turn 90 degrees and start racing toward success in hardware and making money in that way. It’s really because we want the controllers to exist. We want them to have the attributes that we think are important, that allow people to play all the games on Steam, and we didn’t think that it was really going to be possible to outsource the design for manufacturing and the finishing of the controller in a way that would allow third parties to take from us an idea or a reference design and bring it to market soon enough. We just think that, for now, at least, we have to do that ourselves. So we’re going to be doing high volume production of the controller for ourselves.”
“We think we are disadvantaged when it comes to cost,” he said. “We’re making a lot of decisions that are not actually optimized for cost. We’re not going to lose money when we go make the controller. We have enough confidence around that, that we’ve thought through the manufacturing. But we’re also not looking at it the same way that typical hardware manufacturers would look at it.”
“We think that going from a physical trackball with all the mechanical engineering required to a device that is more touch-based actually saves money,” he continued. “We could have been making something more expensive. We’ve parted out all of this and we’re working with contract manufacturers. We’ve got a pretty clear picture of what it’s going to take to bring this to market. We’re very confident that we’re within the ballpark we need to be in so that this isn’t going to turn out to be a non-starter in terms of cost. It’s just not our primary focus.”