Newell: Specialization in Gaming is "The Enemy of the Future"

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Newell: Specialization in Gaming is "The Enemy of the Future"

Gabe Newell

Valve's co-founder credits the company's flexible corporate structure and level of employee trust with the success of Steam and other products.

Valve is one of the biggest names in gaming today, and co-founder and CEO Gabe Newell credits a lot of that success with the company's unconventional corporate structure. In a lengthy interview with The Washington Post, Newell called flexibility one of the greatest strengths of Valve. "You need people who are adaptable because the thing that makes you the best in the world in one generation of games is going to be totally useless in the next," he said. "So specialization in gaming is sort of the enemy of the future. We had to think about if we're going to be in a business that's changing that quickly, how do we avoid institutionalizing one set of production methods in such a way that we can't adapt to what's going to be coming next."

What it comes down to for Newell and Valve is hiring hard workers and then trusting them to do their jobs. Valve avoids giving employees titles so their staff does not associate themselves too strongly with one task. "If somebody becomes the group manager of X, they're going to really resist it when X is not what you want to do in the next round of games," Newell said. "You don't want them to sort of burrow into that - you want them to recognize that being really good at Half-Life level design is not as nearly as valued as thinking of how to design social multiplayer experiences. You've had them feel like they have an organization and title tied up to something when the key is to just continue to follow where the customers are leading."

While it's certainly an unorthodox approach in the business world, its hard to argue with the results. The level of trust the employees had in each other is what ultimately led to the successful launch of Steam, which was seen as a big gamble at the time even by those within the company. "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," Newell said. "They were like 'that's what you want to do wit your time, that's fine, but we're going to spend our time working on Half-Life 2. We think you're kind of wasting your time, but it's your time to waste.'"

Source: The Washington Post

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It sounds all nice when Gabe puts it like that, and Valve's corporate structure definitely has led to some good things happening, but I think it deserves mention that a lot of Valve's biggest problems come from not wanting to have people in dedicated positions.

For example, I would argue that one of Valve's biggest problems is communication with their fans, or lack thereof. The whole Diretide fiasco could have been easily avoided if they just had a couple of dedicated PR people that could give the community some idea of what Valve's plans were, and gauge interest in the event. And don't even get me started on all of the communication issues regarding Half-Life 3.

This corporate structure also seems to be the reason why there isn't better customer support for Steam, which is something they need to fix if they intend on selling hardware. Of course, Valve's corporate structure could have nothing to do with their customer support, but in either case it's something that clearly doesn't have a high priority within the company.

Also:

you want them to recognize that being really good at Half-Life level design is not as nearly as valued as thinking of how to design social multiplayer experiences.

Maybe if they valued Half-Life level design more, they would have actually released a sequel by now.

Actually, I would think that specializing in being a game publisher with no clue as to how the business should be run and no respect for the developers or the customers is the enemy of the future.

Wait, no. That's an enemy of the NOW. The enemy of the future is anyone who thinks progress is control.

Gabe:
You don't want them to sort of burrow into that - you want them to recognize that being really good at Half-Life level design is not as nearly as valued as thinking of how to design social multiplayer experiences.

How depressingly telling.

"You want them to recognise that being really good at half-life level design is not as nearly valued as thinking of how to design social multiplayer experiences"

AhHAH!! The truth revealed!
Am i the only one who took only this information from this report, to the heart?

A lot of what he says here is good, but it seems directly contradicted by what Valve does in practice. Yeah, they're an industry juggernaut, but that's not because of their games. They barely release any games at all. Valve's less of a game developer and more of a publisher these days, and the bulk of their influence throughout the industry comes from controlling Steam.

Don't get me wrong, I really like Valve as a company, but they are not a golden standard to hold up for game developers. If every studio was set up like Valve, we'd have all of a dozen games to play. Their corporate structure seems to work decently well overall, but it's godawful for adhering to a schedule and getting things done in a timely fashion. That's why structures were invented in the first place, so that everyone knows what they're doing, there's minimal overlap, and people don't have to stress about the surrounding portions of their jobs to reach the end product. Valve's setup is great for prototyping and expanding, as that kind of amorphous structure is perfect for rapid adaptation and shifting goals, but not for a sustained, regular business venture. The only reason they've managed to keep it going as long/well as they have is because they're fucking brilliant.

Like 'ohnoitsabear' said, Valve's attitude to how they go about their business is really a double edged sword.
On the one hand they manage to strike gold in various places, on the other hand they take that pick ax and ram it into the forehead of the customer. They really need to take a step back in a lot of situations and ask themselves whether or not their plan is actually going to pan out. Just throwing shit out there and seeing if it sticks and then refusing to actually change it until the thing is dead on the floor really isn't helpful.

Don't get me wrong Valve is going to be Valve and people are going to pretty much love them regardless as long as they get sales...just don't make it hard to love you Valve.

ohnoitsabear:
It sounds all nice when Gabe puts it like that, and Valve's corporate structure definitely has led to some good things happening, but I think it deserves mention that a lot of Valve's biggest problems come from not wanting to have people in dedicated positions.

For example, I would argue that one of Valve's biggest problems is communication with their fans, or lack thereof. The whole Diretide fiasco could have been easily avoided if they just had a couple of dedicated PR people that could give the community some idea of what Valve's plans were, and gauge interest in the event. And don't even get me started on all of the communication issues regarding Half-Life 3.

If those are the biggest problems they have then I'd say they're doing pretty good. People expecting a free holiday event which was never announced or information on a sequel that they may or may not have even been working on this whole time, and have never even come close to officially announcing are pretty mild.

Hell, you could even argue that the problem are Valve's fans, not Valve's communication. Certainly with regard to HL3. Valve provide news on new games when there's actually something worth sharing like a release date, a working Alpha that'll be finished within a year, etc. Too many people seem to forget that they used to announce everything right away which just lead to people getting annoyed when TF2 as it was originally conceived stopped being a priority because it wasn't working, and when HL2 had to be delayed for a year. Now they just don't talk about what they're working on until it's a sure thing that'll be released on time and you get people whining about them not making promises they can't keep anymore.

People can't have it both ways and, frankly, I prefer the latter if I've got to choose between the two. But I guess some people still have it in their heads that the only games they've ever made were Half-Life and Portal.

Maybe if they valued Half-Life level design more, they would have actually released a sequel by now.

This comment doesn't even really make sense.

Rednog:
Like 'ohnoitsabear' said, Valve's attitude to how they go about their business is really a double edged sword.
On the one hand they manage to strike gold in various places, on the other hand they take that pick ax and ram it into the forehead of the customer. They really need to take a step back in a lot of situations and ask themselves whether or not their plan is actually going to pan out. Just throwing shit out there and seeing if it sticks and then refusing to actually change it until the thing is dead on the floor really isn't helpful.

I use Steam extensively and have played every Valve game and I honestly can't pinpoint how your comments relate to anything they've done.

They could still use a team for community management, just saying...

Agayek:
A lot of what he says here is good, but it seems directly contradicted by what Valve does in practice. Yeah, they're an industry juggernaut, but that's not because of their games. They barely release any games at all. Valve's less of a game developer and more of a publisher these days, and the bulk of their influence throughout the industry comes from controlling Steam.

Valve has developed and released a minimum of one game a year since 2004. I'm not sure where people get this idea that they barely release games. They're more prolific than pretty much any developer out there right now. Name one other company that can release that many games in the same time frame and have pretty much all of them actually be very good. I can't think of any.

Regardless of what some people seem to try and claim (either as a result of being ignorant to the extent of Valve's releases, or out of malice), they're doing more as a developer than pretty much anyone. And they're willing to take some fairly big risks for a company that's privately held and a relative newcomer compared to the likes of EA, Activision, Nintendo, Sony, etc. And they're doing it all without actually being a game publisher in the traditional sense of the term.

Whatever they're doing, they're getting an awful lot of things right.

I suppose this is as good a place as any to put this, but there's this great extended interview with Gabe from a year ago, which can be found by searching for The Nerdist Podcast. It's two interviews, for a total of over two hours of just casual conversation with Gabe, another Valve employee, the podcast host (Chris Hardwick), I think Chris' girlfriend, and Wil Wheaton.

It's interesting as you get tidbits of what exactly Valve was working on back then, which is keeping with what he was quoted as saying regarding gaming specialization.

*EDIT* Jesus, they were talking about Valve's controller in a podcast from January 2013.

Valve's primary source of income comes from being the dominant retailer in the PC market. If valve never published another game they would still be a multi billion dollar company. You have much larger workforces to develop a greater number of games if you are going to make you income from being a publisher and so called flat management structures don't scale well. For all Gabes flat structure, I bet it doesn't apply the the people who clean the offices but those and such as those who are deemed of high enough skill to be full valve employees.

Vivi22:

Rednog:
Like 'ohnoitsabear' said, Valve's attitude to how they go about their business is really a double edged sword.
On the one hand they manage to strike gold in various places, on the other hand they take that pick ax and ram it into the forehead of the customer. They really need to take a step back in a lot of situations and ask themselves whether or not their plan is actually going to pan out. Just throwing shit out there and seeing if it sticks and then refusing to actually change it until the thing is dead on the floor really isn't helpful.

I use Steam extensively and have played every Valve game and I honestly can't pinpoint how your comments relate to anything they've done.

Greenlight is/was a massive failure.

They are one of the major digital distributors yet they are still pretty much the only one with a one refund for life policy and even then it's like pulling teeth to actually get it done. And their still on an email customer service method of dealing with problems. For a company that rakes in that much cash from their service their methods of dealing with customers problems are pretty bad. See how much outrage and bad publicity it took with the WarZ incident.

You've played all their stuff and haven't seen any problems. What about Man Vs Machine being an absolute nightmare on launch, eating people's tickets with no item payouts. Maps being completed with no rewards, people having to submit tickets to get a refund.
Or how about how Left 4 Dead 1 was basically crippled for 1-2 weeks when steam cloud launched and if you could sync to the cloud the game lost it's shit.

Then there's nonsense like them slapping down Paranautical Activity for jumping the greenlight line yet they front page promote nonsense like Revelations 2012 and Garry's Incident and let those skip the greenlight.

Or how about how Steam sold games that basically didn't work. There's were numerous occasions prior to this before Valve just started adding the disclaimer of "This game may not work on X and Y OS". Heck I still remember being peeved when I bought the Tom Clancy Bundle from steam and damn near every other game had to be fixed from community solutions.

I'm sure there's lots of things that I've forgotten over time that Valve has handled poorly, but those above should suffice.
Don't get me wrong Valve's doing something right, otherwise I wouldn't have stuck with them for 10+ years and have 776 games on steam. But they really do some boneheaded shit sometimes, and it's pretty embarrassing when they're pretty much waving the flag of the PC industry's leader.

Vivi22:
Valve has developed and released a minimum of one game a year since 2004. I'm not sure where people get this idea that they barely release games. They're more prolific than pretty much any developer out there right now. Name one other company that can release that many games in the same time frame and have pretty much all of them actually be very good. I can't think of any.

That's... kinda irrelevant to my point. The number of games they've put out is meaningless (though as far as I can remember, they've only put out Left 4 Dead (and the level pack sequel), Portal 2, and DotA 2 since the Orange Box came out in 2007).

My point was that the vast majority of Valve's recent efforts (or at least, public-facing efforts) are outside the realm of games. As a company, they're now quite focused on Steam, the SteamOS/Steam Box, AR/VR type stuff, and all the other periphery stuff that surrounds games. They haven't been (publicly) truly focused on game creation since Portal 2. That doesn't decrease the quality of the things they produce, but it does make them less of a developer and more of a publisher, because that's what they're focusing on.

They've made their corporate structure work for them, and it works quite well, but the only reason it does work is because they're goddamn geniuses at what they do, and they have a decent helping of luck backing them up. Most companies using a similar structure would collapse under their own inability to get anything done.

Not sure I agree. Quite a few game makers specialize and excel at their type of game, and are doing very well for it. Bethesda, BioWare, Spiderweb Software, formerly, Id Software...

The real enemy of the future that is killing games is the trend of developing games for the lowest common denominator. Which seems to be a 14 year old with a game pad.

Gabe! I don't want to hear another word from your mouth unless it refers to Half Life 3 and when it's coming out.

Let me just leave this here...
https://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/Valve_Time
IMO, Valve is great for managing Steam, and for making good videogames.... They just wait WAY TOO MUCH TIME!!

Agayek:
"Valve don't make games anymore." - paraphrased

Agayek:

Vivi22:
Valve has developed and released a minimum of one game a year since 2004.

That's... kinda irrelevant to my point. The number of games they've put out is meaningless

I'm sorry, but....what?

I'm mean, seriously. What?

Your comments are so contradictory it's a wonder you've a leg to stand on.

Rednog:
Heck I still remember being peeved when I bought the Tom Clancy Bundle from steam and damn near every other game had to be fixed from community solutions.

With the exception of GOG that tries to make the old games work properly out of the box even the games that you buy in stores usually need community solutions for multiple things (especially somewhat older games), its part of PC gaming where nothing is exactly tailored to anything and you end up having to tweak the shit out of everything yourself

Vigormortis:

Agayek:
"Valve don't make games anymore." - paraphrased

Agayek:

Vivi22:
Valve has developed and released a minimum of one game a year since 2004.

That's... kinda irrelevant to my point. The number of games they've put out is meaningless

I'm sorry, but....what?

I'm mean, seriously. What?

Your comments are so contradictory it's a wonder you've a leg to stand on.

According to valves detractors any game put out by valve isn't actually a game unless it is a half life game. I'm not certain how it works but apparently this is the case.

I'll be happy when Half Life 3 comes out myself but I'm hardly begging for it or demanding it like so many people seem to be. Indeed I tend to be more interested in the new stuff valve is working on, they will release a new half life game when they are ready and it will be good, until then I'm more curious about the other stuff they are doing.

1. Valve is the industry standard for the whole "lightning in a bottle" idiom. However their major success hasn't been from games they made but rather Steam's platform of ease of use, delivery and mainly SALES. Beyond that, Portal and HL2 are their only major successes with TF2, L4D, and Counter-Strike in my view are the minor leagues.

2. Did anyone else catch the "social multiplayer" comment? I really fear for what that means to a company who made great games that were mainly single-player experiences, TF2 and Counter-Strike don't count, neither does DOTA 2 because they weren't Valve-centric ideas but mods they bought the rights to and monetized.

3. The issue with other publishers is that their leadership/management seems to be extremely out of touch with the developers AND their customer base. By that I mean a publisher NEEDS to be run by someone who actually is a gamer at heart and I don't see that in most of the AAA companies, which is why we see so many soulless carbon copies of other pub/dev's "hit" games and big budget rushed titles with DLC that isn't worth its price-tag. If I were a major stockholder, I would want the person running x-company I own that shit-ton of stock in to have a CEO who is passionate about the products they make, not just surface passion. For all their faults Nintendo is a company run by game enthusiasts. Satoru Iwata loves his games, his hardware choices. While not everyone loves Nintendo, he does love his products and as a Nintendo fan it does show. Granted the gimmick hardware choices are a little bit wonky, but overall I can't say I'm disappointed with 90% of what Nintendo puts out. Thats more than I can say for the likes of EA, ActiBlizz and other publishers.

So what does this all mean? Gabe Newell in my view has tunnel vision. Blind by his success (or maybe diabetes) he doesn't see that his company isn't producing anything of worth beyond the occasional Portal or Half-Life, and his other successes in gaming are due to smart buyouts of popular mods along with STEAM.
Don't get me wrong I don't hate Valve I just think Gabe is right for the wrong reasons by using his company's limited library as the totality of it's success.

amaranth_dru:
1. Valve is the industry standard for the whole "lightning in a bottle" idiom. However their major success hasn't been from games they made but rather Steam's platform of ease of use, delivery and mainly SALES. Beyond that, Portal and HL2 are their only major successes with TF2, L4D, and Counter-Strike in my view are the minor leagues.

...I'm sorry?

image

Top 10 games currently being played on Steam. 6/10 are Valve games (one of them being released over 10 years ago) with Garry's Mod using their engine. And all of them being "minor league" with no Portal nor Half Life.

amaranth_dru:

2. Did anyone else catch the "social multiplayer" comment? I really fear for what that means to a company who made great games that were mainly single-player experiences, TF2 and Counter-Strike don't count, neither does DOTA 2 because they weren't Valve-centric ideas but mods they bought the rights to and monetized.

I actually did catch that, Valve's been making most of their recent fame via online multiplayer games so it's not entirely surprising they're shifting their focus. I completely disagree with not attributing both TF2 and Counter-Strike to them as TF2 is completely different from the original Team Fortress mod (it was originally a realistic shooter, look how that changed) and Counter-Strike has gone through multiple iterations with different dev teams. And even DOTA 2 despite hiring the initial devs and funding them they did apply their F2P business model they pioneered from TF2 to it and added it's own inhouse developers to the team. It's disingenuous to entirely ignore their contributions to the franchises they purchased.

I completely agree with 3, this is ironically one of the reasons why Valve is so successful. The reason (they claimed) that set in motion them purchasing DOTA was some of the lead devs sending them fanmail.

amaranth_dru:

So what does this all mean? Gabe Newell in my view has tunnel vision. Blind by his success (or maybe diabetes) he doesn't see that his company isn't producing anything of worth beyond the occasional Portal or Half-Life, and his other successes in gaming are due to smart buyouts of popular mods along with STEAM.

See above, although Steam is still a huge part of their success admittedly.

I kind of agree the big problem of Valve's setup is it leads to really poor community management, the whole Diretide fiasco was born entirely of Valve ignoring the communities demands for information despite having something in the pipeline that would have soothed them. I would say hiring a dedicated PR manager would be a wise investment, although Valve's general sincerity with public affairs (most of the time *cough*L4D2*cough*) is kind of endearing when they aren't being unnecessarily secretive.

EDIT: Also, Valve games by year starting at 2004:

2004: HL2, Counter-Strike Source
2005: Day of Defeat: Source
2006: HL2 Episode 1
2007: HL2 Episode 2, Portal, TF2
2008: Left 4 Dead
2009: Left 4 Dead 2
2010: Alien Swarm, Mac OSX ports (alright I'm kinda pulling out of my ass for this year)
2011: Portal 2
2012: Counter-Strike GO
2013: DOTA 2

Damn, Valve sure doesn't make any games.

amaranth_dru:
1. Valve is the industry standard for the whole "lightning in a bottle" idiom. However their major success hasn't been from games they made but rather Steam's platform of ease of use, delivery and mainly SALES. Beyond that, Portal and HL2 are their only major successes with TF2, L4D, and Counter-Strike in my view are the minor leagues.

2. Did anyone else catch the "social multiplayer" comment? I really fear for what that means to a company who made great games that were mainly single-player experiences, TF2 and Counter-Strike don't count, neither does DOTA 2 because they weren't Valve-centric ideas but mods they bought the rights to and monetized.

3. The issue with other publishers is that their leadership/management seems to be extremely out of touch with the developers AND their customer base. By that I mean a publisher NEEDS to be run by someone who actually is a gamer at heart and I don't see that in most of the AAA companies, which is why we see so many soulless carbon copies of other pub/dev's "hit" games and big budget rushed titles with DLC that isn't worth its price-tag. If I were a major stockholder, I would want the person running x-company I own that shit-ton of stock in to have a CEO who is passionate about the products they make, not just surface passion. For all their faults Nintendo is a company run by game enthusiasts. Satoru Iwata loves his games, his hardware choices. While not everyone loves Nintendo, he does love his products and as a Nintendo fan it does show. Granted the gimmick hardware choices are a little bit wonky, but overall I can't say I'm disappointed with 90% of what Nintendo puts out. Thats more than I can say for the likes of EA, ActiBlizz and other publishers.

So what does this all mean? Gabe Newell in my view has tunnel vision. Blind by his success (or maybe diabetes) he doesn't see that his company isn't producing anything of worth beyond the occasional Portal or Half-Life, and his other successes in gaming are due to smart buyouts of popular mods along with STEAM.
Don't get me wrong I don't hate Valve I just think Gabe is right for the wrong reasons by using his company's limited library as the totality of it's success.

And? They don't NEED to release a game every bloody year, we bemoan people that release games every year, if the biggest problem Valve has, is that they didn't give people an event they only care about because it game them free items, then I would say Valve is pretty well off.

Vigormortis:
I'm sorry, but....what?

I'm mean, seriously. What?

Your comments are so contradictory it's a wonder you've a leg to stand on.

Not at all. Both of my posts are trying, albeit apparently not succeeding, to say the same thing:

Valve has more or less stopped focusing on creating games, at least to any level of public scrutiny, and has instead shifted their focus onto other, ancillary aspects of the industry, such as running Steam, putting together the SteamOS, working on an Occulus knock-off, etc. Very little of their core business is about the production of video games anymore. They still do it, certainly, but it's far from central to their business.

My original point was that I'd rather they don't try to spread their corporate structure throughout the industry, because such a shift in focus is inevitable, because it really isn't a structure. The business will shift and move at almost complete random, drawn by the whim of the employees. Valve has made it work fantastically well, through a solid combination of talent, drive, good recruiting practices, and a decent helping of luck, but very few other businesses could handle such a setup and stay in business for long.

Vivi22:

Agayek:
A lot of what he says here is good, but it seems directly contradicted by what Valve does in practice. Yeah, they're an industry juggernaut, but that's not because of their games. They barely release any games at all. Valve's less of a game developer and more of a publisher these days, and the bulk of their influence throughout the industry comes from controlling Steam.

Valve has developed and released a minimum of one game a year since 2004. I'm not sure where people get this idea that they barely release games. They're more prolific than pretty much any developer out there right now. Name one other company that can release that many games in the same time frame and have pretty much all of them actually be very good. I can't think of any.

Valve hasn't really developed most of those those games. They find other people who are and then offer them a job at Valve.

Agayek:
That's... kinda irrelevant to my point. The number of games they've put out is meaningless (though as far as I can remember, they've only put out Left 4 Dead (and the level pack sequel), Portal 2, and DotA 2 since the Orange Box came out in 2007).

"Only"? How many games is Valve supposed to put out to suffice your expectations? One game per year is a very good average for a high tier developer in my books, not even taking into account the amount of post release tweaking and patching.

Seeing how he's not liable to stock holders and has the most successful digital distribution program online, I'd say he's flaunting more than being sincere. They took a gamble with Steam and it blew up rather well into what it is now. The only reason they can survive as they do is because they have a steady revenue stream and aren't liable to stockholders. They have money coming in without investors, only reason they can continue the way they do.

Smertnik:
"Only"? How many games is Valve supposed to put out to suffice your expectations? One game per year is a very good average for a high tier developer in my books, not even taking into account the amount of post release tweaking and patching.

It's one per two years, unless I missed something, which is entirely possible but if there are other games, they sure as hell didn't advertise them any.

But it's also irrelevant to my point.

See:

Agayek:
Not at all. Both of my posts are trying, albeit apparently not succeeding, to say the same thing:

Valve has more or less stopped focusing on creating games, at least to any level of public scrutiny, and has instead shifted their focus onto other, ancillary aspects of the industry, such as running Steam, putting together the SteamOS, working on an Occulus knock-off, etc. Very little of their core business is about the production of video games anymore. They still do it, certainly, but it's far from central to their business.

My original point was that I'd rather they don't try to spread their corporate structure throughout the industry, because such a shift in focus is inevitable, because it really isn't a structure. The business will shift and move at almost complete random, drawn by the whim of the employees. Valve has made it work fantastically well, through a solid combination of talent, drive, good recruiting practices, and a decent helping of luck, but very few other businesses could handle such a setup and stay in business for long.

They've made it fairly clear over the past year or two that they are becoming less and less interested in creating games.

He's apologizing for Half-Life 3 isn't he?

Well, I wouldn't exactly trade the existence of steam for the existence of half life 2 episode 3 and onward but Gaben needs to understand that a reputation for making quality games doesn't give you a lifetime pass for not making them timely, it just eases the wait a bit. Over specialization is one thing, but you do have to decide what it is you want to do and if Valve wants to make games in addition to selling them, then they should get on with making them.
I'd say as well that their corporate structure is a huge part of what success they've had. Not being beholden to stockholders has kept them from putting out shovelware and has also kept the creation of their games in the hands of those for whom it is an avocation rather than putting it into the hands of businessmen. Again though, make fucking games if that's what you want to do.

Vivi22:
Hell, you could even argue that the problem are Valve's fans, not Valve's communication. Certainly with regard to HL3.

It's a pretty big communication problem; There was hard cut after episode 2 and no one there has said a bloody word since. It's not like they made a few self-contained games and whether or not they make another one doesn't matter...
No, they went
"That gap between HL and HL2 was too big, right? So, we'll do episodes now. Here's episode one, picking up right where our last game left off".
Then,
"Here's episode two. Oooh things are really heating up for our heroes now!"
And then...
"Here's a 4-player cooperative Zombie game."
Wait, what.
Then,
"Here's a sequel to that 4-player coop zombie game! Nobody asked for it and fans of the first are even angry we're making it, but whatever!"
Um, ok, it's pretty cool, I guess...
"Hey, you now that little gem we released called Portal? It was a short-and-sweet, 100% self-contained narrative, but we're making a sequel to it! It's not like anyone's waiting for anything else, right?"
Well you can certainly make that good, but what abo-
"Hey, you know that Warcraft mod, Defense of the Ancients? We're making a sequel to that!"
Whaaaaa??

Cecilo:

And? They don't NEED to release a game every bloody year, we bemoan people that release games every year, if the biggest problem Valve has, is that they didn't give people an event they only care about because it game them free items, then I would say Valve is pretty well off.

Never said they need to release games every year, nor did I say they aren't well off. My point is their success as a company is largely due to Steam and not their published games. And their top successful games developed by them aren't really their own idea in the first place but rather mods they bought rights to. Again, I have nothing against Valve just that Gave seems to be largely ignoring the things that made his company successful in this news post.

albino boo:
For all Gabes flat structure, I bet it doesn't apply the the people who clean the offices but those and such as those who are deemed of high enough skill to be full valve employees.

Most companies that rent office space don't have employees clean up; the building owner contracts the job to a cleaning company. I'm pretty sure Valve leases several floors of a fairly big building. So yes, it's entirely possible that every Valve employee has at least a Bachelor's degree.

UNHchabo:

albino boo:
For all Gabes flat structure, I bet it doesn't apply the the people who clean the offices but those and such as those who are deemed of high enough skill to be full valve employees.

Most companies that rent office space don't have employees clean up; the building owner contracts the job to a cleaning company. I'm pretty sure Valve leases several floors of a fairly big building. So yes, it's entirely possible that every Valve employee has at least a Bachelor's degree.

The public ethos of valve is let people chose what to do and don't specialise, well guess what no one choses to clean up the toilets so they have outsource to a 3rd party. Guess how much choice they get. The whole flat managment thing is artificial because it does not give the cleaners and the ancillary services that Valve need to run a choice. Its not a real flat organisation because it only gives choice to a very narrow part of the business.

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