If you’ve spent any time on the Internet, you’ve probably already discovered that PC gamers have an unhealthy obsession with Gabe Newell, co-founder and managing director of Valve. The folks on reddit have practically deified the guy by lovingly referring to him as “GabeN,” and giving him several dedicated subreddits—including one called “GabenErotica.”
But how has one game developer inspired such fascination among of group of people with notoriously short attention spans? Well, he’s not your average game developer. Here are five reasons why.
5. He Loves PC Gaming
This may seem obvious, considering that he founded a company whose sole purpose was to create and distribute PC games. However, PC gamers often get neglected by developers. Big-name titles, like Call of Duty, have a single-minded focus on console gameplay, which means that their PC counterparts are often shoddily ported. But GabeN has always had his sights set on the PC market, and that’s not about to change, which makes him a bit little like Robin Hood to PC gamers.
4. He Keeps Valve from Being Evil
Considering that Newell founded Valve with millions of dollars that he earned from Microsoft, it’s impressive that Valve hasn’t followed in Microsoft’s evil footprints. But Newell has managed to keep the company focused on customer experience rather than fixated on profit margins.
For example, Valve has always tried to develop unobtrusive DRM systems, and when that’s not possible, they’ve even removed the security altogether. Plus, every PC gamer knows about Valves incredible Steam Sales and their love for indie game developers.
Microsoft, on the other hand, buries indie titles deep within the bowels of the Xbox LIVE Marketplace, and only has sales long after games are done being popular.
3. He Seems Like He Would Be Cuddly
Seriously. Just look at the guy. I wish he would fly to my house and give me a gigantic hug.
2. He Has Maintained an Incredibly Positive Work Environment
Employees at Valve consistently report that Newell’s work ethic is unmatched, but that he maintains a creative, relaxed environment. Co-Workers are treated with an incredible amount of respect and often allowed to select which project they’d like to work on (which also might be why Half Life 3 never seems to materialize).
My favorite story from behind the curtain at Valve involves Erik Wolpaw, the dialogue writer behind Portal and Portal 2.
When Wolpaw was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a gastrointestinal disease that would have rendered him useless as an employee, he met with Newell to resign from Valve. GabeN didn’t accept the resignation. Instead Wolpaw was offered an extended leave with pay. “Your job is to get better,” Newell reportedly said. “That is your job description at Valve. So go home to your wife and come back when you are better.”
Classy, GabeN. Extremely classy.
1. Actually Communicates with Fans
Fans and journalists have never had any problem getting in touch with Gabe. His nickname, GabeN, is actually derived from his email address at Valve. How many other executive-level developers let the world have access to their email address?
Also, last year a couple of Canadian Half-Life fans staged a mock protest outside of Valve headquarters in Bellevue, Washington. The protest simply consisted of the two sitting in lawn chairs with a couple of cardboard signs that called for the release of Half-Life 3.
Gabe reportedly hung out with them for a little while and brought them lunch.
Now I want to hug him even more.
Date: November 15, 2012
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*