When Valve PR guru Doug Lombardi said last month that Valve was a long way from, "shipping any hardware," he was certainly not lying. A better question might have been, "Has Valve begun to build their own console?" A month later, Valve might be hard pressed to argue. A new Electronics Engineer job-posting on Valve's website lists the production of, "new types of input, output, and platform hardware," as its main duty.
The greater gaming news network has gone quite sensationalist over this job-listing. They might have forgotten a few other things Doug Lombardi mentioned in his interview last month.
"We're prepping the Steam Big Picture Mode UI and getting ready to ship that, so we're building boxes to test that on. We're also doing a bunch of different experiments with biometric feedback and stuff like that, which we've talked about a fair amount."
In other words, Valve likes to do various experiments with hardware. This job position could very well just be a replacement engineer to test their various hardware projects currently in the works. The likelihood they'd put out a single job-listing to announce the development of a Steam console is quite a bit short sighted. Is Steam exploring the potential market of a Steam console? Probably, but it likely started long ago and has little to with recent rumors.
What this whole dramatic rumor-mill does do is show Valve how excited gamers might be for a Steam console. That fact is definitely notable, but also odd to an extent. Steam itself is a built-in DRM system, much like the kind gamers have complained about the Sony Orbis and Xbox 720 including: no used games, online connection required, and account-tied games.
Is a Steam console, if that's actually something Valve is working on, something we want to see in the future?