Gabe’s Business Plan? “Not Sucking”

By Jim Rossignol on August 30th, 2011 at 8:21 am.


Say what you like about the dangers and problems of Steam’s digital distribution hegemony. Grumble about the lack of Half-Life 3. Point out that Valve are currently just making remakes. But interviews like this one remind us why Valve are where they are: “Premature monetization is the root of all evil,” says Gabe. “I think not sucking is way more of an important thing to pay attention to first.” That Valve business plan? Apparently just an enthusiasm for games: “Dota 2 is really a result of Erik and a couple other guys being huge fans of IceFrog. So that’s not like this incredibly, deeply reasoned business strategy.”

Lot’s more gems through the link, such as how Portal 2 sold more on PC than on the consoles, or how they love to talk “enemy design or user generated content” with Doug Church, but totally haven’t said what the Looking Glass veteran is working on… (Although he got a credit on Portal 2.)

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84 Comments »

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  1. Captchist says:

    Well except if I glance down to a couple of stories below I can read about how Mine Craft isn’t on Steam because of ToS.

    Obviously Valve DO have business plans. So what they are doing is:
    a) Saying that not everybody cares about the plan. Some of them are more creative and artistic and care about the products. (Which is good, and true of every company. The concept artist at Blizzard doesn’t care about the Business plan much either.)

    b) Wanting to look like they are flying by the seat of their pants because it’s great PR.

    Interesting article, but you can’t take it at all seriously on most of its points.

    Edit to Add: I’m not picking on Valve for not including Minecraft, I’m just picking it as an example that they obviously do think carefully about how they spend their money, how they interact with customers and other companies. Which is obvious – but that’s my point. It’s obvious that what they are saying in the article is sentiment and not strict truth. It’s a PR piece.

    • Gnoupi says:

      You can’t really blame a digital marketplace for not being glad about someone including a secondary marketplace inside their own game, especially if it’s supposed to use Valve’s bandwidth, in my opinion.

      But that’s another topic anyway.

    • a2114593 says:

      You’re confusing Valve’s development philosophy for their own titles (which is what they were talking about in the quoted piece), with how they handle distribution of third-party titles (which is what’s discussed in the “Why No Minecraft On Steam? Those ToS” article). In other words, you’re confusing “Valve,” the game studio, with “Steam,” the digital distribution service operated by Valve. One is part of the other, but they aren’t the exact same thing. The company is actually fairly compartmentalized, in terms of operation.

      Yes, they do assert some very “business-y” restrictions on Steam distribution, but by all accounts and indications, they really do develop their own titles based on the kinds of philosophies and motivations discussed here.

    • Thomas says:

      It’s also important to actually take the content of that (and those) ToS stories into account, notch was expressing an opinion which was based on no fact, he didn’t say they didn’t allow him to do what he wanted, he said they PROBABLY wouldn’t allow him to do what he wanted.

      All of this likely falls back on that socalled DLC debacle with EA, he is afraid he can’t have his own minecraft store because of the ToS, but if it is really true it was because of the DLC with EA then the conclusion is obvious:

      Steam does not allow you sell DLC outside their service, unless the DLC is also available on their service, then all that means is that notch could easily sell it on his own store, just as long he’s also offering it on Steam.

      Steam provides the content, they sell the product, i think they’re entitled to a cut, if Notch encourages a player to buy off his own store, well then he is just even more lucky as he’s essentially getting free sales that he does not have to pay Valve for.

      And trust me, Steamworks games are going like hot butter on other DD services as well as in retail and on cd-key sites, exactly because they can be bought and activated on Steam, yes Valve is probably winning in the long run, but it’s not like Valve isn’t allowing the others to profit from it.

      Which is probably also the reason why some services were pretty quick to take up Steamworks games again after they whined over Modern Warfare 2, i think Impulse were the only one with enough spite to still deny it, but now that their experiment “failed” they’ve been bought up by some more competent businessmen who are more than willing to earn money on selling stuff that only works on Steam.

    • UnravThreads says:

      Thomas: “And trust me, Steamworks games are going like hut butter on other DD services as well as in retail and on cd-key sites, exactly because they can be bought and activated on Steam, yes Valve is probably winning in the long run, but it’s not like Valve isn’t allowing the others to profit from it.”
      Have you considered that it’s because they’re generally popular AAA titles or ones with a heavy PC focus? New Vegas, Dawn of War 2, Magicka, Call of Doody, Space Marine – All of which are popular titles on the PC, and the reason they sell well is because people want them, not *just* because they’re Steamworks ones.

      If you had a game like Unreal Tournament 3 which can be either on or off Steamworks (It’s an optional registration) and you offered people a choice at installation of “Do you want to install this as standard, or add it to your Steam account?”, then I would be very interested to see how the numbers work.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Agreed there is a lot of theory, philosophy and PR in that interview. If they employed an amazing character artist who decided his time would be best spent as a play-tester, some-one would point him towards the character art department, or the door.

    • Thomas says:

      Well i wasn’t really talking from a standpoint on whether or not you want Steamworks, i think most of us are reasonable enough that if we see a great game, then we buy it, even if it does have some platform exclusivity.

      Got S.P.A.Z on Impulse even though they were rejected from Steam at that point (They luckily got readmitted, but i had no guarantee of that happening), i also got BF3 even though that it may be an Origin only title.

      What i basically wanted to say is that i think, even if notch releases Minecraft on Steam, without Steamworks, and has two stores, one on Steam and one on his website, then i think that customers will go where they think they find the best value, just like how many people, despite it being available only through Steam, will still get it through retail or other DD services just because they’re getting a better value from the other place, not nessecarily pricewise.

    • Nalano says:

      @ Thomas

      You can’t have your game on Steam if your DLC isn’t also offered on Steam?

      I don’t remember there being an in-Steam option to buy all the Mass Effect 2 DLC.

    • Eclipse says:

      Minecraft was launched by Valve actually. Even if it’s not on steam Minecraft is famous only because the Team fortress 2 guys talked about it on the blog.

      Everything started from that blog post. The coverage here, on Kotaku and so on… And Minecraft isn’t on Steam for a simple fact: They make more money without, the game got such a boost in sales that notch got stupidly rich in a pair of week. I remember that paypal even blocked his account because this enormous traffic of money from a random somebody.

    • ShaunCG says:

      I sincerely love the comments threads on RPS. Here I was considering once again wading in to the mire to comment on poor reading comprehension, and a whole bunch of people have already said it better than I could.

      You guys. <3

    • Megadyptes says:

      @Eclipse. Minecraft was a sensation before the TF2 boys mentioned it.

    • rclesham says:

      Notch is still a fan of Steam anyway – their business model just doesn’t suit Minecraft – he also compared them favourably to places like Origin (ok I’m reading between the lines on that as he actually said “Much more awesome than certain other digital distribution platforms that we would NOT want to release Minecraft on.”

    • Thomas says:

      @Nalano:

      We don’t have any real confirmation on what it really is by now, but really with all the cases we’ve seen DLC does seem like the most obvious cause at the moment.

      As for the other games that already offer DLC in-store, yes those exist, the problem likely is that Valve can’t grandfather the deal (i.e. make it apply to all games retroactively), and as for the games specifically removed, they were both released very close to eachother, and i recall correctly only a few months before the F2P microtransactions went public.

      My take on that is that Crysis 2 and Dragon Age 2 was allowed on the service temporarily instead of holding up the release date, meanwhile EA and Valve were probably negotiating the terms of the agreement, which had to be enforced with the release of the first piece of DLC.

    • Premium User Badge

      Mo says:

      @Sheng-ji: the character artist they’d employ would be so passionate about art that they wouldn’t *want* to playtest (or slack off, if that’s your implication).

      People enjoy doing difficult (but rewarding) tasks over easy (but uninteresting) ones. If you don’t believe that you haven’t found your passion yet.

    • PetiteGreve says:

      “playtesting = slacking off”

      haha, good joke :D

      playtesting and QA is the bottom of the ladder, go ahead and say you enjoy playing a bugged-to-the-bone prototype level for the 50th times, or spend 2 or 3 days testing the menus with different set of monitor resolution and configurations…

      playtesting for 2 hours is not really playtesting, it’s just asking for your opinion (and people love to give their opinion, hence the comments section :D)

    • Premium User Badge

      Mo says:

      (yeah, just to clarify that’s not what I think at all, but I assume that’s what Sheng-ji was implying. I could be wrong though…)

  2. Joe Duck says:

    Ok, it is now official, I am a Valve fanboy.

    • somberlain says:

      Lol and people do believe that….how easy it is to say BS….of course a company like Valve, the biggest digital platform in western countries, doesn’t think about monetization until the last minute…..are you retard or do you believe in ANYTHING they will tell you?! ……

    • Dao Jones says:

      Hell, so that’s where all my periods went!

  3. ShadyGuy says:

    “Everybody’s told, “Your first job is to figure out where you can create the most value.” So when people end up working on Dota, it’s not because somebody told them to go work on Dota. They go work on Dota 2 because they decided , “That’s where I’m going to be the most useful.” ”

    Maybe this is why there’s no HL episode 3 yet? Everyone thinks they’re more useful elsewhere.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      I suspect it’s more to do with a similar process Portal 2 went through. In other words, instead of just cranking out the obvious sequel right away like they did with Ep1, Ep2, and L4D2, what they’re currently working on is actually two or three iterations removed from what we expected and what they originally started with.

      Gabe has publically admitted at least one “change of direction” for Ep3, and that was almost three years ago now. Rumor suspects they’re working on a proper HL3 now, but on the other hand CS:GO wasn’t called CS2 in the end. :)

    • LionsPhil says:

      What was that other game with “changes of direction” from its project leader and protracted development again? Something something….Forever?

    • JackShandy says:

      No, you’re thinking of Team Fortress 2.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Touché, Mister Shandy; touché!

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      Half Life 2.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      Considering how bored I got of playing Half-Life 2, I can’t imagine how bored they must be of making it.

    • PetiteGreve says:

      @MikoSquiz actually episode 2 is finally getting somewhere, this is why there’s a lot of drama regarding ep3 – maybe they’re too afraid of choosing a direction (and prefer to let ep2 players wait long enough so they forget their expectations…)

  4. Choca says:

    Sounds like a plan.

  5. Gnoupi says:

    “Premature monetization is the root of all evil”
    “I think not sucking is way more of an important thing to pay attention to first.”

    Those are easy things to say when you are in a comfortable money position. And I’m sure most developers in the world will agree with that. Most devs dream of working years perfecting their project. But in reality, it costs money, and if you can’t cover that cost, you have to release as fast as you can, as soon as you have something “good enough”.

    “Taking our time” is a luxury which is allowed to Valve and Blizzard, and some others, but it’s rare.

    • a2114593 says:

      Gabe never shies away from acknowledging what a fortunate and privileged studio they are, in terms of funding. They know how lucky they are to get to work the way they do. They’re completely privately-owned with no intent whatsoever of going public, don’t have any investors whose expectations they must meet, don’t owe any banks or investors any money, don’t rely on any publishers, and have enough cash reserves to fund themselves for the foreseeable future. They basically answer to no-one but themselves and their fans.

      Yes, they’re in a luxurious position, but this luxury wasn’t afforded to them by anyone else. They have this freedom because of the way the company was started (money out of Gabe and colleague’s pockets, essentially), and the hard work and wise decisions they’ve made since then.

    • Premium User Badge

      Mo says:

      Many companies with much deeper pockets have failed miserably. Sure, Valve’s success can be attributed to Gabe’s money, but the majority of their success has more to do with their unconventional business strategy and top-notch management.

    • GenBanks says:

      Pretty much reminds me of Mark Zuckerburg’s approach as portrayed in ‘The Social Network’… Don’t ruin what you’ve got by making money off of it too early.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      The difference being that Zuckerberg made the mistake of screwing over his friends and allies but Gabe didn’t.

    • LionsPhil says:

      This is why DNF was such a tragedy. By what accounts came out, 3DR were in a comparable position; (almost?) all of its development was bankrolled privately by Duke3D sales, not investment/publishers. They had the time and money to just make the awesome game they wanted to…and they completely flunked it.

      Valve are special in not only being financialy afloat without outside help, but while making the games they want to have fun with still managing to deliver and sell well enough to maintain that situation. (And now they have a flood of money through Steam so they can do frivolities like taking a team training project like Alien Swarm, bring it up to polished release status, and throw it out as a freebie.)

      There are a lot of people at Valve who don’t ever have to work again. The reason we all go to work each day is we get to work with people that we do.

      Love your work and it’ll show through in the end result etc.

    • Nalano says:

      @ Gnoupi

      I think being privately owned goes a long way in understanding how they can survive not “prematurely monetizing” their ventures. Having a pile of investors breathing down your neck certainly makes a lot of publicly-traded companies do a lot of stupid things for short-term profits.

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      Except for that Gabe’s advice applies to everyone, even studios without deep pockets.

      Why would a small studio be hurt in any way by following the “premature monetization is the root of all evil” advice? Or rather, can you think of any case in which a game failed because there WASN’T premature monetization? I sure can’t.

  6. TooNu says:

    Valve haven’t pulled an EA, Activision, Blizzard or NC Soft…yet. So they are good in my book :)

  7. Bilbo says:

    Fairly obvious Portal 2 would sell better on PC than consoles, don’t think it’s really a flagship case in the “PC versus Consoles” thing.

    • Kolchak says:

      Well I personally find that surprising considering how much bigger the console market is compared to PC Gaming. I don’t want to open a whole can of worms but it’s just a fact that there’s more of them than there are of us.

      Also consider that Left 4 Dead 1 and 2 only appeared on the Xbox and not the Playstation 3. While Portal 2 appeared on both. There was a larger console marketplace for Portal 2.

    • Joe Duck says:

      @Kolchak: You got it backwards: There are more PCs than consoles, there are more PC gamers than consoles and there are more PC gamers playing online every day than console gamers.
      There was an article about this in RPS a while ago with some very interesting numbers.

    • Reiver says:

      There’s definitely more PC Gamers than console gamers. The PC gaming community is much more fragmented than console gaming though. Discounting the facebook and popcap gamers we’ve got around 10 million plus who almost exclusively play MMOs, are still hunkered down with Diablo 2 or Starcraft or Counterstrike. As such the market for new games may be smaller on the PC but there’s still more of us.

    • Nalano says:

      How do you rate exclusivity? You can say that “this year, X number of games were sold, of which Y were World of Warcraft,” but that doesn’t mean that Y number of players are exclusively WoW noobs.

    • briktal says:

      I don’t think Portal made quite the same impact on console gamers as it did on PC gamers.

    • Urthman says:

      we’ve got around 10 million plus who almost exclusively play MMOs, are still hunkered down with Diablo 2 or Starcraft or Counterstrike.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if 8 million of those are actually people who exclusively play MMOs…and Portal.

  8. Njordsk says:

    Don’t care, want HL3, thanks

  9. coldvvvave says:

    Ctrl+f’d “Half-life” in the interview – nothing.

    Whatever.

    • Premium User Badge

      Big Murray says:

      Hopefully I sense a sarcastic and/or satirical tone within that.

  10. Khemm says:

    Portal 2 sold better on PC, Left4Dead sold better on xbox. Hmmmmm… Looks like I was right when I said that Left4Dead 2 was made solely with xbox in mind. It felt like a cash-in from the beginning.

    Gabe – make Steamworks games run without the client or at least make it possible to install games without being connected to your servers and I’ll stop complaining about your service. Yeah.. Won’t happen, because that’s your business model. Good one for you, helps you force everyone to install Steam, but I don’t approve of it.

  11. bansama says:

    Gabe’s Business Plan? “Not Sucking”

    Well one good start to that would be to ensure that situations such as this are a thing of the past: http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2086902

    Because that right there, is a pretty good reason for them “sucking”. =/

    • Thomas says:

      FYI, It’s not a region lock, but a release date lock i know that doesn’t mean a lot for the guy with the issue, but they are two entirely different beasts.

      His copy cannot be “played” because generally publishers do not like that people bypass the street dates, and unfortunately the street date for Japan has been pushed back to an “unknown” date in the future.

      The game will eventually be available for him.

    • bansama says:

      @Thomas The problem is though, that other sites still have permission from the publisher to sell the game to Japan, under the impression that it’s been released (even Get Games Go are selling FEAR 3 to Japan as a released product, not a pre-release, for example).

      What should be happening here, is the game being fully regionally restricted until it has a release date. That way, people who have purchased it already can still play it.

      If Valve were to implement that as a policy for this and all future affected titles, they’d be far more customer friendly than they currently are.

    • AMonkey says:

      Region locking is something publishers request, its not something Valve implemented on their own.

    • Thomas says:

      I’m not saying that oceans on the internets isn’t a bad thing, i’m just not sure what you expect Steam to do about it, their hands are basically tied, the retailer in Japan doesn’t want to release it, so sofar Steam has no right to sell it either it, and therefor it’s probably also legally dubious if they’re allowed to activate the ROW-copies in Japan.

    • Flukie says:

      Besides if the guy is smart he could just VPN to unlock the game and play, Like I did for Deus Ex.

    • znisses says:

      What good will it do Steam to bypass restrictions which are not their own? As far as I got the story such a problem came not from Steam but from Steam implementing restrictions per request of the publisher. Would be a silly business model to chase third party software publishers away from your digital distribution platform if you want to survive by having third party software publishers distribute their product through said platform.

      As for your second post, you make it sound like Steam should just take all the freedoms and rights that have been given to others but not them, again does not sound like a good way to keep publishers use Steam in the future I would think…

    • Thomas says:

      Flukie, the problem is that it’s not a region lock, if a game is available in your region, and the game isn’t released, then you can’t play it.

      You can of course bypass it with a VPN, but it will turn back the instant your connection to Steam is re-established on your japanese IP.

      What you’re thinking about is the case where you can bypass the initial region lockout (Since the activation is region locked, buy playing it can still happen everywhere in the world) by using a VPN, but unfortunately that will not work in his case.

      His only real viable option is to use a VPN to unlock it and then go in Offline mode until the game comes out, or pay for a VPN service.

    • Premium User Badge

      frymaster says:

      x3:terran conflict was supposed to be released on a certain date. One or more scumbag retailers “accidentally” started selling it early. So the publishers (actually the developers in this case) asked steam to unlock the game early on steam. And they did.

      You have to remember that steam is a service, and also a middleman between publisher and consumer. Pricing, release dates, and regional differences in them, are things that the publisher has absolute control over.

    • bansama says:

      @Flukie Actually, that would only work if we had constant VPN access or if offline mode was more reliable (it rarely works for more than a day or two for me). Once Steam detects a Japanese IP address, it relocks the game.

      @Thomas I expect them to do what they do for all the other games that they won’t/can’t release in Japan. Actually set it as a restricted title not place it in pre-load limbo. If they don’t want people in Japan activating the game then they should be using the IP blocking on activation (such as was employed with MW2). Restrictions such as this should only EVER apply to point of purchase. They should not be used to deny access to a product that has already been legally purchased.

      And this is especially so in the case of products such as this where a number of Steam’s competitors have permission from that very same publisher to sell the game to people in Japan.

      Take any number of titles that are currently not sold on Steam in the UK, would you consider it acceptable for Valve to deny you access to those games simply because the publisher has told Valve that they can’t offer it in your region, despite retail stores and other online competitors being allowed to sell that very same product to you in the UK?

    • Thomas says:

      But the entire point is that it’s not Valve’s responsibility, they can’t solve this, i’m not saying the situation doesn’t suck, but Valve can’t change it, and it’s not Steam that is at fault for this issue, if i were in your situation i would rather import a copy and know that at SOME point i can use it, rather than import a copy just to be told that the game is region locked and basically have a very expensive paperweight.

    • bansama says:

      @Thomas You’re wrong. Valve can solve this in a few minutes by restricting the game properly. They know they can’t see it, so what they should be doing is fully restricting the game by applying the IP lockout. They should NOT be leaving it in a pre-load state. It’s that simple.

      And yes, this is their responsibility. They accepted that responsibility the moment they took charge of enforcing the DRM method employed by the publisher. Just as SecuROM are responsible for handling the DRM when publishers choose to use it.

      There is simply no way that it should ever be considered acceptable to allow one store to restrict access to products purchased from another store and video games using a DRM method being enforced by a competitor are no exception.

  12. Velvetmeds says:

    Not doing a very good job at not sucking. Portal 2 was terrible

    • a2114593 says:

      You’re entitled to your opinion, but you surely must recognize how much it is the minority.

    • Eightball says:

      That’s an odd spelling of “excellent.”

  13. mindlessrant says:

    In the article linked it said: “So for us, you could come up with a really compelling business plan or a market analysis, and nobody in the company would pay any attention to you at all. But if you said, “If we do this, then we can work with Michael Abrash”, then a whole bunch of people would say, “Done! That’s it, we have a plan now.”

    So it looks like they got him after all: “Michael Abrash, Scott Ludwig and Mike Sartain have each signed contracts to work at the developer, following years of exhaustive headhunting.”
    http://www.develop-online.net/news/37665/Valve-hires-world-class-development-trio

    He has been working on Doom, Quake and Unreal Tournament 2004.

    • Quirk says:

      Abrash’s “Zen of Graphics Programming” was pretty formative for me back in the 90s, and possibly had a hand in my eventual path toward being a 3D graphics programmer. In terms of people worth headhunting in the games industry, particularly if you’re looking at updating your 3D engine, he’d be up near the top.

  14. starclaws says:

    Portal 2 was alright… I’m just interested in the Looking Glass veteran’s project. He could easily use Valve’s resources to create the greatest game ever designed. Thief series was amazing … Before Looking Glass Studios got killed and they butchered Thief 3.

    • LionsPhil says:

      But that they could pull together the rest of the ex-LG team. Since I believe some of them have retired from the industry completely now, it would probably require Gabe flying to them in a helicopter and telling them that gaming needs them to just do one last job, like an ’80s action film.

    • Eightball says:

      In hindsight, that’s probably how Valve does most recruiting.

    • Urthman says:

      No it would be Doug Church knocking on the door and saying, “Paul, we’re putting the team back together. For just one more game.” And then over his shoulder you’d see Gabe Newell standing silently in the background next to the helicopter.

  15. Skeez says:

    I believe Valve are simply masters at feigning humility.

  16. Tams80 says:

    [Long, well articulated comment about how great Valve is for just caring about games; that just boils down to Valve fanboy/girlism].

  17. Urthman says:

    I wonder if the reason for HL3 delay is simply that so many Valve employees got burnt out on making HL2, Ep 1, and Ep 2, that they just don’t have enough people willing to work on it? Or maybe most of them are just more interested in TF2, L4D, and DOTA? If Gabe is telling the truth, then if someone doesn’t feel like working on HL3, no one at Valve is gonna make them do it.

    It may be a project that doesn’t have enough exciting ideas to get a critical mass of Valve employees who’d rather work on HL3 than one of Valve’s other projects.

    • LionsPhil says:

      If HL3 isn’t being worked on because they don’t have enthusiasm to make HL3, this is fine.

      It is infinitely preferable to what many other publisher-driven studios would demand: grinding it out anyway.

      (Obv. disclaimer: not implying you think otherwise.)

    • Premium User Badge

      MonkeyMonster says:

      There was a comment by Gabe at some point in the past saying they make games they want to, that they have the energy and drive to – relating to someone asking about where HL3 was. So reading between the lines “no one wants to make HL3 atm so it isn’t being made” they were however making other cool games instead. Let them make it when they have the drive and the new ideas to include and you can be pretty much sure it will be worth it. They’ve done it before and odds on will do it again.

    • dontnormally says:

      If there were to be a bit of Thief in my HL3 I wouldn’t complain…

  18. Premium User Badge

    shoptroll says:

    Interviews like this are why I love Valve as a company. There’s a reason why people listen why they actually talk about stuff.

    Also, I’m finding the Eidos Montreal team to be quite sharp and worth reading.

  19. dontnormally says:

    There seems to be a lot of kvetching at other game companies, but people don’t have the power to address what they’re complaining about.

    GN: I don’t know about other game companies, but it’s dangerous to kvetch at Valve. You’re suddenly Director of Fixing That Shit! Vice President of It’s Your Problem Now.

    Best ever.

  20. Lipwig says:

    it tends to be pretty simplistic, private companies care for the consumer more than public companies

    /capitalism

  21. MythArcana says:

    v@|V3 is the King of Sucking. But…the Internet needs a Romper Room to host all the fanboys and kiddies, which is fine by me; it keeps them clear from the adult gamers.

  22. BatmanBaggins says:

    Valve is certainly an interesting company, I’ll give them that.

    I also don’t doubt that it must be one of the best jobs in the world to work there.

    But, for Gabe’s sake, they sure do waste a lot of good development time twiddling around with asinine stuff like sequels to DOTA, hats, and being weirdly coy/silent about their flagship series.

    • somberlain says:

      About the best company to work in I’m kinda curious about that last statement – when looking at their games and development, you can see that developers seem to change very quickly : L4D and L4D2 were not the same devs, same for Portal, and I’m pretty sure it’s the same for HL, HL2 and all.

      It seems that they are really good to develop great games, but not good at keeping their developers.

    • Premium User Badge

      Mo says:

      “There’s a reason why Valve enjoys a 98% retention rate—one of the highest of any privately-owned company in the country.”
      (source = http://valvesoftware.com/jobs/)

  23. DOLBYdigital says:

    Great interview, sure some of it may be overblown or inaccurate but it does give off the feeling that they are much more loose in managing their people. This could explain why HL3 is not on the radar, maybe everyone is scared to jump on that wagon since the hype is growing out of control…. or maybe Doug is working on it :)