Gabe Newell: “Traditional” Learning Doesn’t Always Ensure Success


Valve can easily be regarded as one of the pioneers of PC gaming industry. Over the past few years, PC gaming has flourished; thanks to modders’ community. However, there is a reason why these modders feel at ease while working with Valve.

In a recent interview with The Washington Post, Valve’s co-founder Gabe Newell has appreciated the efforts of modders and why Valve always welcomes them with open arms.

For Gabe Newell, having a degree from Ivy League Schools can’t predict a person’s success as an employee. When asked as to why his company prefers modders, he said:

“Well, the traditional credentialing really doesn’t have a lot of predictive value to whether people will be successful. One of the things you have to do to be successful in our business is to be responsive to reactions that people have. You can give ten people the same set of forum posts and only one of them will actually take it in a productive direction.”

He further pointed out that successful people often earn good grades but those who manage to engage the audience show the real perks of those working at Valve.

Newell also discussed the creation of Steam like how the idea of introducing multi-player gaming was largely influenced by the employees decisions. Valve has given room to people who prefer single-player along with those who like multi-player experience that led to creation of Steam.

“There were a bunch of people internally who thought Steam was a really bad idea, but what they didn’t think was that they would tell the people who were working on Steam what to do with their time.”

It all seems right as we have a number of examples of modders who eventually got hired by a game studio. For instance, Philip Weber worked at modding The Witcher 2 and ended up getting a job at CD Projekt RED. Similarly, we have Alexander Velicky who worked on a Skyrim mod and now works at Bungie.

Check out the full interview at The Washington Post if you wish to explore further secrets of Valve’s success over others in the gaming industry!

By Arslan Tufail

Arslan is a competitive Tekken and Call of Duty player and crushes pretty much everyone at the office in these games. He loves reading and writing about games and is deathly allergic to half-boiled potatoes.


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