Forbes Magazine calls Gabe Newell of Valve the next “billionaire of videogames.”
Billionaires made by videogames are rare. They’re even rarer when not working for a company like Nintendo or Blizzard. According to a Forbes article, Gabe Newell is closing in on these executives thanks to his futuristic vision as the co-founder of Valve.
However, Newell’s literal vision was almost completely lost years ago. The article talks about a situation in 2006 and 2007 where Newell was forced to undergo double cornea transplants to fix a congenital disease called Fuchs Dystrophy. Newell once said he had “dead-people eyes,” but after the operations could “see better than [he] ever had before.”
And now, Forbes puts Newell on the track to becoming a seriously rich man. It estimates that Steam, the digital distribution platform with over 30 million users, owns 50-70% of the $4 billion download market, which exceeded physical PC unit sales in 2010 for the first time. Newell says Valve is “tremendously profitable,” with analysts estimating the company earned revenue in the “high hundreds of millions of dollars” in 2010 due to reported year over year growth of 200%.
It’s no wonder that Newell has no interest in selling Valve. He believes that the company brings in more money per employee than Google or Apple. Total value of Valve is estimated at $2 to $4 billion, for whatever those unconfirmed estimates are worth.
The success of Steam apparently helps out the entire industry, too. Forbes writes that publishers earn a profit margin of 70% on Steam, while at retail that’d be more than cut in half at 30%.
So while Newell is probably earning a mint for his time, it’s a mint that goes back into gaming as a whole. I hear he’s also really hot.