Valve is a very secretive video game company, but its boss is currently opening up in an online question-and-answer forum.
Gabe Newell, the chief executive officer of Valve Software, is answering community questions in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session right now. The founder of the Half-Life developer and creator of the Steam digital-distribution service is notorious for not saying much, but he’s already answered a number of questions including whether Steam, which is responsible for nearly three out of every four PC games sold in the U.S., will accept Bitcoin. This would give the crypto-currency access to one of the biggest players in the multibillion-dollar gaming industry … but it also looks like it isn’t going to happen any time soon.
“There are two related issues [with crypto-currencies],” Newell said. “One is treating a crypto-currency as another currency type that we support, and the broader issue is monetary behaviors of game economies. The first issue is more about crypto-currencies stabilizing as mediums of account.”
No one would currently describe crypto-currencies as “stable.” The popular Bitcoin-trading site Mt.Gox recently shut down after having millions-worth of the digital currency stolen from it. The site is currently filing for bankruptcy.
When Newell wasn’t answering questions about virtual money, he was answering what his favorite game that Valve didn’t make. Answer: Super Mario 64.
Newell went on to talk about what Valve is doing with the upcoming Source 2 development tools. This is the software-development kit that studios and content-creators can use to make games or items for games built on the Source 2 engine.
“The biggest improvements will be in increasing productivity of content creation,” wrote Newell. “That focus is driven by the importance we see user-generated content having going forward. A professional developer at Valve will put up with a lot of pain that won’t work if users themselves have to create content.”
Two of Valve’s games, Team Fortress 2 and Dota 2, feature user-generated items that have earned the community creators millions of dollars. Newell is obviously hoping to expand on that with its new tools.
Finally, in case you were wondering about Newell’s eating habits, he recommended the Japanese sushi and steak bar Nishino in Seattle. Valve is based in Bellevue, Wash., which is just outside of Seattle.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go place a listening device that turns on whenever the words “half,” “life,” or “three” are said in a certain Pacific Northwest restaurant.