Steam and Vive have preoccupied Valve in recent years but the revered creator of Half-Life has vowed to "start shipping games again".
Word comes from Valve co-founder and president Gabe Newell, who was presenting Dota 2 card game Artifact to press at the company's offices in Bellevue, Washington. (Dota 2, incidentally, was Valve's last major release back in 2013.)
"Artifact is the first of several games that are going to be coming from us, so that's sort of good news," Newell said, reported by PC Gamer. "Hooray! Valve is going to start shipping games again."
We know three of Valve's new games are virtual reality games, because Newell said so a year ago at a similar press event. "When I say we're building three games, we're building three full games, not experiments," he said at the time. Whether there are other games in development beside these, or any non-virtual reality games, we don't yet know.
"We aren't going to be talking about it today," Newell said at the Artifact press event, "but the big thing, the new arrow we have in our quiver, is our ability to develop hardware and software simultaneously."
They're similar remarks to those he made a year ago. "What we can do now is we can be designing hardware at the same time that we're designing software," he said in February 2017.
That ability to make hardware and software in tandem to compliment each other is something Newell said Valve envied about Nintendo. He touched on this topic last year as well but at the Artifact event expanded to add: "That's something we've been jealous of and that's something that you'll see us taking advantage of subsequently."
Artifact is a charismatic card game in which you control three lanes of action at once, just like in Dota 2. There are towers, creeps, heroes and equipment, and heroes can respawn. Artifact will be a paid game and not free to play, and you will be able to buy and trade cards online.
Artifact has been designed with the help of Magic: The Gathering designer Richard Garfield and is in closed beta on Steam now.