Apple CEO Tim Cook was spotted at gaming giant Valve’s headquarters in Washington State late last week, an event that has sparked much speculation and claims from unnamed sources. The former include the idea that Apple is interested in buying Valve, while the latter includes the claim that Apple is working with Valve to reinvent living room gaming.
Valve is a large game publisher with titles like Half-Life, Portal, Counter Strike, and Team Fortress in its portfolio. The company also developed the Steam gaming platform that offers an App Store-like way of buying, managing, and playing a variety of games for Mac and Windows.
So, when Tim Cook is reported to be visiting Valve’s HQ, all manner of flags get raised. Apple has a hit and miss history with gaming that’s really mostly miss. Valve cofounder Gabe Newell himself once lamented that nobody at Apple got gaming, for instance.
The release of the App Store for iPhone changed that, at least to some degree. Games are quite popular for both iPhone and iPad, and in recent years Apple has actually bragged that iPhone and iPod touch was the most popular handheld gaming platform on the planet.
Is it possible that CEO Tim Cook is finally the man at the top who groks gaming in Cupertino? That’s possible, of course, and Cult of Mac claims that it has sources that say living room gaming are a big part of Apple’s long-rumored plans to launch a branded television.
According to that variant of the Apple TV mythos, Apple would include “an Apple-branded, Kinect-like video game console. The interface will rely heavily on motion and touch controls.”
As such, Apple could be talking to Valve about developing games for this platform. Alternately, Apple could want to buy Valve, but we give little credence to that thought—Apple has done quite well letting third party developers make games and sell them through the App Store.
Alternatingly alternately, Apple could be talking to Valve about a hardware project that Valve is working on. CNet noted that Valve has been looking for hardware engineers for a living room console device that the above-mentioned Gabe Newell of Valve has also discussed.
He recently said that rather than Valve developing hardware, “We’d rather hardware people that are good at manufacturing and distributing hardware do that. We think it’s important enough that if that’s what we end up having to do then that’s what we end up having to do.”
Perhaps Apple, a company noted for being adept at both developing and distributing hardware, is that company.
The good money, however, is that Apple wants Valve to make games for an existing platform, either iOS or OS X, or for a future TV-related product. Valve is one of the top gaming houses on the planet and its participation would lend legitimacy to anything gaming related that Apple might do.