Valve goes bluesky; veteran coder Michael Abrash heading up wearable computing research

Through the looking glass brightly

Valve goes bluesky; veteran coder Michael Abrash heading up wearable computing research
Valve is about PC games; after all co-founders Mike Harrington and Gabe Newell started the company backed with their share options from their time at Microsoft.

And since then, games ranging from Half-Life to Counter-Strike to Team Fortress and Portal - and of course the Steam distribution channel - have all focused on PC.

But with portable and mobile devices disrupting the market, it's also looking to the future.

Glad all over

A tiny slice of that vision is now you can get the Steam app for iOS and Android devices enabling you to chat, browse community groups, and get the latest news.

But according to new hire Michael Abrash - himself of Microsoft, id, Intel and RAD Game Tools heritage - the company is now looking far, far beyond this.

In a long blog post about his decision to join Valve, also covering much of his history as a games programmer, he reveals that he's starting a research project into wearable computing.

Heart on his sleeve

"By 'wearable computing' I mean mobile computing where both computer-generated graphics and the real world are seamlessly overlaid in your view," Abrash explains, framing his enthusiasm from the first time he read Bruce Sterling's seminal Snow Crash.

A cutting edge example would be Google's recent Project Glass concept.

Of course, you'd might think Valve's experiments will be more games-focused than a company such as Google, but it seems not; this is a bluesky project.

"We're a great game company, a great digital distribution and community company, and much more as well; we have all sorts of projects going on (the fact that I'm doing wearable computing should give you a hint of the range of things we're doing)", Abrash points out.

Although damping down expectation, he also adds; "This is R&D - it doesn't in any way involve a product at this point, and won't for a long while, if ever – so please, no rumors about Steam glasses being announced at E3."

[source: Valve blog]

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.


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