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Jealousy drives Gabe Newell to start shipping games again

Screen Shot 2018-03-10 at 12.49.03 PM

Valve’s new game Artifact has a vague release window of 2018, but thanks to a bit of jealousy on Gabe Newell’s part it won’t be the only Valve game we can look forward to in the next few years. Who do we have to thank for this? Nintendo.

“We’ve always been a little bit jealous of companies like Nintendo,” Newell said in a presentation regarding Artifact and the Valve corporation as a whole. “When Miyamoto is sitting down and thinking about the next version of Zelda or Mario, he’s thinking what is the controller going to look like, what sort of graphics and other capabilities. He can introduce new capabilities like motion input because he controls both of those things. And he can make the hardware look as good as possible because he’s designing the software at the same time that’s really going to take advantage of it. So that is something we’ve been jealous of, and that’s something that you’ll see us taking advantage of subsequently.”

This jealous has driven Newell to get back into developing games beyond the current lineup of multiplayer titles. There’s at least one single-player experience and up to three big VR titles… at least if Gabe’s comments from several years ago are still to be believed. So, take with a grain of VR salt.

“Sort of the big thing, the new arrow we have in our quiver, is our ability to develop hardware and software simultaneously,” Newell said. After spending most of the last decade investing in hardware, this is a big transition. Newell was worried about the iPhone’s closed ecosystem and the effect that had on the big gaming world, which spurred their investment in SteamVR and the Vive.

“You can see that Microsoft was like, wow, how can we make Windows more like that?,” Newell said. “Or Zuckerberg is saying, ‘well I tried to compete in the phones, I got my ass kicked, so I’m going to create this new thing, VR, which will allow me to recreate the kind of closed, high margin ecosystem that Apple’s done.’ And that really started to worry us.”

But this led Valve to a hardware experise that promises to give them a leg up when they return to the gamemaking space. “Five years ago, we didn’t have electrical engineers and people who know how to do robots,” Newell said. “Now there’s pretty much no project in the hardware space that we wouldn’t be comfortable taking on. We can design chips if we need to, we can do industrial design, and so on. So that added to that.”

So Valve are creators again, and excited about making games. You can see Newell get as animated as Newell gets in the video embedded below.

“Artifact is the first of several games that are going to be coming from us. So that’s sort of good news,” Newell exclaims. “Hooray! Valve’s going to start shipping games again.”

Say it with me: “Half-Life 3 confirmed.”

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Brock Wilbur


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