Gabe Newell indifferent to consolidation

Valve co-founder Gabe Newell doesn’t seem too concerned about the recent wave of industry consolidation.

Talk with Rock Paper Shotgun for the launch of its Steam Deck handheld, Newell was “more skeptical” about what value consolidation brings, saying these unions should ultimately create more value for customers and developers.

“If you don’t do something like that, then these types of acquisitions and consolidations don’t end in a positive way,” Newell said. “And if you do, then you know, well, you’re improving the game market.”

Newell said he didn’t see any evidence that people were pushing towards closed platforms, and added that he didn’t think “the PC industry would tolerate it”, nor did he expect nor that the consolidation leads to the unavailability of games on Steam Deck or PC.

“People love PC and despite many people preferring other outcomes, PC gaming continues to improve year after year, relative growth against other closed and proprietary platforms continues to improve. improve,” Newell said.

He was also asked about the company’s position on blockchain games and NFTs, which Valve does not allow on Steam.

Newell said blockchain technology is interesting, and some of the ideas blockchain advocates are touting — such as digital asset ownership — are reasonable.

“People in the space, however, tend to be involved in a lot of criminal activity and sketchy behavior,” Newell said, adding, “With the players who are in this NFT space right now, it’s just not not people you really want to do business in. It says nothing about the technology behind it, it’s just a reflection of people currently viewing it as an opportunity to scam customers, or engage in money laundering. money, or other things like that.”

He noted that Valve previously accepted cryptocurrency payments on Steam, but stopped after discovering that the resulting price volatility was a problem for consumers, and that the “vast majority” of crypto transactions -currencies he was dealing with were fraudulent.

As for the Steam Deck, Newell said he was happy with the outcome of the handheld, although he admitted that Valve thought the price – $399 for the lowest model – would be more significant. than he ultimately was.

“I think we were very obsessed with it,” Newell said. “And then people pre-ordering it are all buying the most expensive SKU, way more than we expected, so the signal we’re getting from customers is that they would have preferred…I mean, not preferred, we’ I certainly sell a lot of the entry level SKU but if you asked me I would have thought 60-70% of that was going to be the low end SKU and it’s kind of reversed .

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