Gaming Industry Influential Faces: Gabe Newell

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Gabe Newell is one of the most influential developers in gaming. Newell has created many of the most influential games such as Half Life, and Newell helped to found Valve Corporation, one of the biggest video games companies ever. He created programming techniques and uses that revolutionize programming 3D and shooter games. Online, Newell is known for his nickname “GabeN”. If you ask any PC gamer who Gaben is, they’ll know exactly who you’re talking about. Today he is the managing director at Valve and has a net worth of $5.5 billion. He is currently the richest video game designer on the planet.

Gabe was born in Seattle, Washington, but later attended High School in California. After High School Newell went to Harvard University to study Computer Science, but eventually dropped out to work for the technology that everyone knows, Microsoft. Newell said that he learned more in the three months at Microsoft then at the three years he was in Harvard. Newell spent 13 years at Microsoft developing the early Windows operating systems. Inspired by the PC the games Quake and Doom by id Software, Gabe started his own company called Valve. Together with his partner Mike Harrington (who has also quit Microsoft) he created the science -fiction first person shooter “Half Life”. Half Life revolutionized gaming and received praise for its visuals and realistic gameplay. Newell is considered one of the pioneers of FPS (First Person Shooter) gaming and of advanced graphics and AI (Artificial Intelligence).

In the past, Newell had suffered from a disease that affects the brain called Fuchs’ dystrophy, but was healed by having two cornea transplants done on him in 2006 and 2007. Newell has a wife and two kids. Newell said that the inspiration for the final boss of Half Life was childbirth because he said he considered it the most frightening thing he could think of at the time. As stated earlier, Newell is most widely known as “Gaben” which was derived from his email address. Newell stated that he didn’t like this at first, but he said he was starting to grow into his image. Newell said he didn’t like to be approached by other people in public, but he grew into it because that's what the community thought of his as. He has turned into a person who is highly approachable and has a good sense of humor. He believes that you should ponder outside of the standards of others and use your own way of thinking.

Gabe Newell’s first game, Half Life is one of the most influential video games in history. Half Life is a single player first person shooter that uses unique artificial intelligence and graphics to enhance the gameplay. In Half Life, you play as a theoretical physicist named Gordon Freeman who battles an alien invasion in his laboratory. Released in 1998, this game was a huge success that revolutionized gaming. Half Life received over 50 PC Game of the Year Awards that propelled its popularity even further. Valve later released the sequel, Half Life 2, and two others games: Half Life 2: Episode 1 and Half Life 2 Episode 2. Some of the mods for the game became popular too. Minh Lee and Jess Cliffe were two programmers that made a mod for Half Life called Counter Strike. Counter Strike is a competitive shooter game where one team called the Terrorists try to plant a bomb on one of two bomb sites and the Counter Terrorists try and stop them. Today, the newest release of Counter Strike- Counter Strike: Global Offensive is one of the most popular esports in the world. Valve has since taken ownership of Counter Strike as well as games such as Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2.

Gabe Newell has been a huge advocate for esports. ESports are multiplayer online video games that are played competitively for spectators. Some of the most popular esports include Counter Strike, League of Legends, Dota 2, and Rocket League. Players from these games all convene in a city to play tournaments to find the best time. For “The International” the tournament considered the World Championship in Dota 2, Newell had the idea of using crowdfunding for prize money instead of money exclusively from the tournament organizer. During the last International on August 25th, 2018, the prize pool for the tournament was $25.5 million. That meant that the first place team made $11 million alone.

In 2003 Valve released its digital distribution platform called “Steam”. Steam is a software that can be used to buy and play game on your computer. Steam is the biggest video game distributor and has over 700 million games that you can buy or download. Besides some games from other developers such as League of Legends and Minecraft, it has all the games that any gamer would ever want. When Steam was released, it was helpful because it could automatically update games and you could interact with your friends through the community service. Steam is estimated to have 75% of the PC gaming market space and its revenue roughly totaled 4.3 billion in 2017.

Gabe Newell is known as one of the most important developers that helped to revolutionize programming and gaming in programming. Newell innovated the way you make games while making Half Life and paved way for more games such as Dota 2 and Counter Strike. Valve’s Steam is currently the biggest game distributor and currently holds over 700 million games. Gabe’s involvement in esports helped to propel it and give more money to teams and players. Gabe Newell as an essential programmer that made the gaming industry what it is today. Without Gabe Newell some of our favorite games would have never existed and some of the techniques for making these games would have never been realized.

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Gaming industry influential faces: Gabe Newell. (2021, Oct 11). Retrieved November 28, 2023 , from

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