Gabe Says Valve’s Business Grew “50%” In The Last Year

By Craig Pearson on March 14th, 2013 at 12:00 pm.

Harry Potter: The Next Generation

This is kind of cool. When Gabe Newell accepted his BAFTA fellowship last week, he crowd-sourced his speech in the Valve offices. All he received was sarcastic responses, which he then told to the audience. He was then interviewed backstage, and without the yoke of his cruel workmates he dropped a few amazing stats. The first one is that Valve’s business grew massively in the last year, by about 50%. I’ll bet it’s mostly Dota 2 related. And it’s an easy way to put paid to the notion that Valve’s recent lay-offs might be because of financial trouble. That was never going to be the case, but now it’s unfathomable. The other one is actually more impressive, and I’ll tell you that and include the video below. You’ll never guess.

Now he might be just trying to help out the slightly clumsy interviewer, or maybe’s attempting to impress Jonathan Ross, but Gabe drops a Steam bandwidth bombshell, saying that one recent Dota 2 updates was responsible for 2% of all mobile and land-based internet activity at the time it was released. Guh? Is that even possible?

He also plays Trouble in Terrorist Town. I play that! If we were in school, we would now be best friends.

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104 Comments »

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  1. rustybroomhandle says:

    The words ‘ labiodental approximant’ come to mind.

  2. SuperNashwanPower says:

    See? Gabe has a halo. A purple halo of saintlyness.
    His name be praised.

  3. WoundedBum says:

    Well that montage of Valve games at the start has got me all misty eyed about Half Life.

    • Carbonated Dan says:

      I thought it was bizarre for not including any Dota 2, CS or TF2 – I know these aren’t wholly Valve products but that’s kinda Valve’s thing isn’t it?

      • Sic says:

        Yeah, that montage was silly. It made it seem like Valve was all about robots somehow.

        They have more than enough material to create a proper montage.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Goodtwist says:

    I see 3 (three) comments above me.

    Has the time finally come?!

  5. Komus says:

    “When it’s ready” *grins with buzzword satisfaction* IM SO ON THE PULSE

  6. WhatKateDoes says:

    Hopefully Mr. Ross asked the perennial fave:”GABE! Y U NO FINISH HALF-LIFE SERIES?”

    ..because.. somebody always needs to. Before the game is irrelevant. Maybe too late.

    /emote holds a grudge. Like Forever.

    • HadToLogin says:

      Making HL(2ep)3 is boring for developers (since it’s same old), you can’t really shine from technology side, and players want miracle from gameplay – which means there’s all that it takes to be a disaster.
      Only reason to make it is SteamBox to put it as Steam exclusive – but since nobody really knows what that piece of hardware allows, and GabeN’s “we must beat Apple for place in living room” doesn’t sound like it’s going to be gaming device.

      • Godwhacker says:

        And you know this how exactly?

        What a load of rubbish.

        • HadToLogin says:

          Do you really think making HL game is exciting, after making HL1, HL2, HL2EP1 and HL2EP2, and knowing you can work on anything you want (isn’t that how Portal started, someone was bored with shooting Combine and decided to have fun with Source Physics?)?

          • ResonanceCascade says:

            Boring? No. Really hard? Yes. If I’d made Half-Life, then followed it up with Half-Life 2, I’d be shitting my pants trying to do something that’s both new and great again for first-person shooters. Especially considering how pathetic the genre is right now.

          • El_Emmental says:

            Portal is the full game out of the DigiPen’s Narbacular Drop prototype.

            Valve hired the team that made it and turned it into a full game. Portal 2 was Portal 1 + more ideas from new DigiPen students hired by Valve. That innovation came from outside of Valve, and brought a breath of fresh air.

            Same with TF2: TF (Quake) developers hired by Valve, they made TFC (GoldSource engine), then worked on TF2 for years (along with the lead dev of the FLF mod, who brought a lot of game design ideas with him).

            It’s easier to innovate and create something worth playing when you’re doing something completely different.

            With the Half-Life series, Valve devs can’t play the “it’s a new franchise” card to compensate the few flaws, that’s why it’s taking so long.

      • dftaylor says:

        How is HL3 “boring” for developers? HL2 was a massive shift is style and tone compared to the first game, the new wrinkles in the gameplay were genuinely stunning.

        We also know that Portal is in the same universe, so I think it’s very likely we’ll see another HL game with all sorts of new craziness to enjoy.

  7. Jams O'Donnell says:

    Pardon, Jonathan? Gabe is the innovation girth? (0:15)

    edit: now I feel very bad for making a fat joke. I love Gabe :(

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      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      I think you misread the headline. It says “Business”, not “waistline”. :P

  8. Lemming says:

    How strange that they didn’t show TF2, CS:Source or Dota 2 in that clip reel for his intro.

    • Dana says:

      Those are games without any story or plot. Not something that BAFTA fancies.

    • Grargh says:

      They’re all sequels to games not originally made by Valve, aren’t they?

  9. analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

    Half Life 3 release date?, when’s the Steam Box released would be a better question to illicit the correct answer!

  10. zachforrest says:

    Gabe doesn’t want to be one of your celeb pals, Jonathan!

  11. Beybars says:

    Uncle Gabe <3

  12. InternetBatman says:

    I hate to say this, but he said Dota was created by Icefrog, which it wasn’t. As far as I understand it Icefrog maintained it and expanded it, but he wasn’t the creator.

    • Maniac says:

      You just wrote Dota 2.
      Dota 2 was created by Icefrog alongside Valve.
      And he was the only competent developer ever onboard with dota 1, Guinsoo, for example, had no idea how to balance the game, hence the imbalance that rules LoL. But sure, he wasnt the first person to work on dota, but he was the most, if not only, competent person to do so.

      • InternetBatman says:

        And edited.

        • Maniac says:

          Woo!
          But yeah, Icefrog really was the biggest most influential person to work on dota, hence why hes often called the creator of it, despite it being slightly off in a way.

        • zeroskill says:

          Without Icefrog, Dota would have never become what it is today. He was the person with the biggest impact and also the most work on the game and formed it into what it is today. With his dedication ( unpaid, and with no money for promotion or to magically cast tournaments into existence) it became one of the biggest e-sports in the world.

          And Blizzard still owes him a lot of money for all those Warcraft 3 units sold.

          • kaihu says:

            That’s like saying that Icefrog owes Blizzard for providing him with the platform to work on a his mod.

          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            Let us say that Blizzard owes icefrog a debt, of sorts, along with the other key modders who created Dota and the handful of enormously popular wc3 mods.

      • Aejis says:

        But it was Eul that created the first Dota, then a whole bunch of dotas were created by a whole bunch of people and Guinsoo just made a compillation of them, hence, dota-allstars.

      • ilovesharkpeople says:

        I wouldn’t exactly say that he was the only competent dev. He was the only dev that was some kind of magical space wizard when it comes to balance, but there were plenty of other great devs. Neichus was one guy everyone seems to forget about but did some great things for the game. You can read more about the details of what he did in a playdota thread here: http://www.playdota.com/forums/blog.php?b=147107

    • baby snot says:

      The creator also works at Valve.

      • Apocalypse says:

        Guinsoo works iirc at Riot, so Lol and Dota 2 have both their fair share of original developers.

  13. cunningmunki says:

    I’ve got to say I’m astounded at how little coverage Gabe’s BAFTA has received in the online gaming press. There was hardly any mention of it when it was announced (other than on the BBC) and little more when it happened. Almost like a deliberate snub. But we all love the guy, right?

    • InternetBatman says:

      More people are focused on Steambox right now, which is a juicier story.

    • El_Emmental says:

      Well, BAFTAs.

      Many people (me included) are more interested in SteamBox news than on of these old-media awards.

  14. Jack-Dandy says:

    Gaben Valve

  15. Jams O'Donnell says:

    I think Gabe Newell should just take to punching people who ask about HL3 in the face. He is surely tired of answering the question, which has long since descended into “hurr hurr” territory, and he’d only have to do it a few times before people stopped asking…

    • bstard says:

      So.. when does it come?

    • MacTheGeek says:

      I read the first part of the second sentence as “He is surly tired of answering the question…”. I think that would be an apt description if he were indeed going around punching the entire Internet in the face.

  16. SkittleDiddler says:

    I really try to dislike this guy on a personal level, but he’s just too adorable. All I want to do is roll him into a little ball and shove him up my anus.

  17. uh20 says:

    all that bandwidth must be because of people downloading the 5.45 GB required to play the game

    • Gryz says:

      I thought 2% was an unbelievable number. So I did some checking.

      A quick google revealed:
      http://www.cisco.com/web/solutions/sp/vni/vni_forecast_highlights/index.html
      http://oecdinsights.org/2012/10/22/internet-traffic-exchange-2-billion-users-and-its-done-on-a-handshake/

      30 Exabyte exchanged over the Internet per month, in 2011. Let’s assume it’s doubled since.
      That is 2 Exabytes per day. That’s 16 Exabit/day. That is 16000000 Terabit/day.
      A day has 86400 seconds.
      So a guestimate for today’s traffic is: 185 Terabit/sec global traffic.

      Gabe said they saw 3.5 Tbps.
      So that is in fact exactly 2% of 185 Tbps.
      Amazing.

      The question then becomes: is that 3.5 Tbps possible ?
      The fastest links possible are 40 Gbps. More common are 10 Gbps links.
      3.5 Tbps requires ~100 of those 40 Gbps connections.
      That seems expensive, but certainly doable. Especially assuming that their fileservers are distributed all over the world.

      Suppose the average gamer has a 20 Mbps connection. (I myself have only 7.5Mbps, but I live in the country. ADSL can’t go faster). 3.5 Tbps is 3500000 Mbps. That means there were 180000 gamers simultanously downloading the game. If we assume the average gamer only has 10 Mbps, then we’d need 350k gamers to get to that number. Is Dota that popular ? Are there 100k or a quarter of a million active players ? Active enough to download the game on the first day of release ?
      (A little googling revealed that at some point last year, there were over 1M players. And 50k+ players simultanously online. So 200k-400k simultaneous downloads certainly sounds possible. Considering downloading at 20 Mbps still takes over half an hour ).

      Amazing numbers.

      • KikiJiki says:

        Recent peak concurrent users has been in the region of 350000 players so yeah it’s easily doable given your numbers. There are low millions active unique accounts if I recall correctly, but that’s not to say they are all distinct individuals (cough, Riot marketing)

        • MacTheGeek says:

          You don’t necessarily need that many “active players” to achieve the bandwidth total. Remember that there are several million Steam accounts active at any given time, and a bunch of them are left online specifically to download patches while the owner is off working or sleeping or whatever. I’d expect any Dota2 update to hit many hundreds of thousands of clients as soon as it goes live.

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        Craig Pearson says:

        This is ace. Well done.

        • Groove says:

          Yeah, great work. Saves me trying to do it, would have had to try after hearing a statistic like that.

      • Kamos says:

        And then EA launches Sim City with about 20 servers.

    • Zyzyx says:

      Yeah, I was thinking that too. Their content distribution system is very impressive. Their software packaging is awful, but that’s probably a flame better directed at Windows in general.

  18. El Stevo says:

    Prediction: Gabe Newell and Jonathan Ross will never play World of Warcraft together.

    • Gryz says:

      I think it is publically known that Ross (and his wife) played WoW. I saw a video somewhere where Ross talked about his wife owning a spectral tiger for her night-elf in WoW. I bet Gabe made a comment about WoW because he knew that.

      I doubt Gabe would ever play WoW. Maybe 6 years ago to see what it was all about. But not today. Even I don’t play WoW anymore. :) So yeah, I agree with you. I doubt Gabe would play many games himself. His favorites were all old games of 10-20 years ago. That tells us enough about his current game-time.

  19. Metalhead9806 says:

    When Valve finally does announce Half-Life 3 the internet will explode. I just hope i’m alive when valve finally counts to three.

    • 2lab says:

      After all the waiting they should release Halflife 2.9 or maybe Twothirdslife.

  20. Premium User Badge

    basilisk says:

    Mixing up E.E. Cummings and T.S. Eliot? I am disappoint, Gabe.

    • Premium User Badge

      Zephro says:

      I said that on the last comments section about his Bafta speech. Glad someone else noticed!

      • Premium User Badge

        jrodman says:

        I assumed it was a poorly delivered dry joke, it was so obviously wrong.

        How could you not notice that?

  21. Arithon says:

    All because PC gaming is dead. No, wait…

    • Terragot says:

      Yeah erm…. nobody has been saying that for the last 2 years, people have actually been more worried by the console market crash we’ve experienced due to these long console cycles, escalating dev costs and the rise of the modile market.

    • noilly says:

      PC gaming is only dying for traditional retailers and the like. Not so much for successful proprietary platforms like Steam and Battle.net, F2P games like LoL, and small to mid-sized independents.

      • Nick says:

        and its the traditional retailers that have died in the UK at least.

  22. Magnusm1 says:

    For the record, Trouble in Terrorist Town is amazing.

  23. Koozer says:

    Best alt text.

    I have nothing else to say.

  24. cyrenic says:

    “saying that one recent Dota 2 updates was responsible for 2% of all mobile and land-based internet activity at the time it was released”

    There was a similar statistic floating around from the streaming of the League of Legends Season 2 Championship.

    MOBA’s are big business, people.

  25. zeroskill says:

    Gabe’s favorite game is TTT. 3 T’s. Half-life 3 confirmed.

    Ok…sorry.

    But the most exciting thing about this interview for me is that Valve is looking more and more to have the community actively participate in game development, in some form, however that might happen in the future. This sounds like they haven’t canned the basic ideas for Prospero.

    Him saying that the biggest challenge for the coming years will be how to integrate the community into their development process is surely a unique approach and something I’m looking forward to. Especially in a time where nickled and dimed downloadable content is going rampant. Refreshing if nothing else, to see a developer trying to go down another route. Hopefully it will be worth the weight.

  26. DickSocrates says:

    Has Dota 2 been released? And who are these people that play it because I honestly never hear anything about it on the “vine”? If someone told me it has been a failure I would have accepted that without much thought. I must have tuned it out as it’s up there with JRPGs as the type of game I’d least like to play.

    • Low Life says:

      No it has not been released, but it’s available for purchase (with beta access) and beta keys are incredibly abundant (i.e. after about two months of being in the beta I have dozens of keys).

      Who plays it? Well, about 250k people at any given moment. Which is about five times as much as the second most played game on Steam, Team Fortress 2. Source: http://store.steampowered.com/stats/

  27. edwardoka says:

    Not particularly related to the video, but Jonathan Ross REALLY suits a beard.

    I’ve found it quite difficult to watch him in the past, but had no difficulty watching this; he looks distinguished now and less like a rubber-faced poltroon.

    • doho7744 says:

      And Gabe is looking more and more like Gerard Depardieu. Gabe get in shape I don’t want to lose you to early due to heart disease.

  28. Boozebeard says:

    Pretty sure he said in one of his recent interviews/talks that the business has grown 50% every year since it started. So it’s not exactly surprising news.

    • PopeRatzo says:

      He’s said everything in one of his recent interviews.

      You can re-arrange the words and get the complete works of Shakespeare.

      I’m not even sure it’s him any more. I think he may be pre-rendered. Like lard.

  29. PopeRatzo says:

    Is this the Gabe Newell interview or the trailer to a Gabe Newell interview?

    Is there still time for someone to throw a cream pie at his face? Please?

  30. Juan Carlo says:

    This also confirms my suspiscion about why their summer/winter sales suck so badly now. (1) Steam has officially gotten so big they no longer have to worry about competitive pricing and (2) they probably are making too much money off of DOTA to put much effort into big promotional pushes for other products.

    • zeroskill says:

      What are you talking about. The deals, and the pricing, isn’t up to Valve (other then their own products). Obviously Valve doesn’t make the prices for products they have no involvement with. The respective publishers or developers make those prices. Why do people think Valve has any control over the price-making of games they do not own. The only thing they can do is recommend a price, or a deal price.

      How do you people come up with these things. Seriously.

      • jalf says:

        Oh, I can think of a few reasons…

        – because otherwise, there would never ever be those big multi-publisher sales. During the big sales, prices are slashed across almost all publishers, and they are certainly *not* coordinating that among themselves… Ubisoft does not place a phone call to Activision asking “hey, wanna do a big sale next week on steam?”
        – because developers whose games are on Steam have said so
        – because Valve has said so.

        Valve sells the games, and Valve decides the pricing (within the limits of the contracts in place with the owners of the game, of course). And sure, when a game is added to Steam, the price is discussed between the publisher and Valve. Then they agree on some kind of contract which defines how much freedom Valve has when pricing and including in sales and such.

        How do you people come up with these things. Seriously.</blockquote
        Yeah, no kidding… How many stores do you know of where the people running the store *cannot* choose to sell some of their wares at a discount?

        • zeroskill says:

          Steam isn’t a retailer. They don’t buy the games, they just distribute them. And for every unit sold, they get a cut. It’s not working the same way as a traditional retailer.

          You want to tell me Valve has any power over the prices of Call of Duty Titles on Steam? Or Skyrim? That’s madness.

    • Low Life says:

      The reason they’re “bad” is because you already have all the games they have on sale, since you bought them from previous sales.

  31. Monkey says:

    Saw in another talk he did where he claimed Steam is the fourth largest user of bandwidth (total) a year, more than alot of countries.