For a man who is one of the world’s billionaires, Gabe Newell seems rather unimpressive, but so do many people in his financial career. Gabe’s is a name you can never forget when talking about the development and growing popularity of e-sports in today’s world. Originally an employee of perennial multi-billionaire Bill Gates, Newell eventually founded his own company.
Today, the computer programmer is the closest thing the e-gaming world has to a deity. His company, the Valve Corporation, is a huge company that develops and digitally distributes video games and has the CEO’s name firmly engraved in the annals of e-gaming history.
Gabe Newell’s Biography
Gabe Logan Newell was born on November 3, 1962, in Seattle, Washington State. Nothing is known about Newell’s school career before his university education.
In 1980, Gabe was admitted to the prestigious Harvard University. Maybe it was because he felt under-challenged at school or because he tried to channel his role model Bill Gates, but in 1983 Newell left Harvard and took a job with the American technology company Microsoft. Newell worked intensively for the company to develop the first software and operating systems. He was particularly involved as the manufacturer of the operating systems Windows 1.01, 1.02, and 1.03.
Apparently, this time at Microsoft is a time that Gabe fondly remembers. He has often said that he learned much more from his first quarter at Microsoft than he ever learned in his three years at Harvard University. The computer programmer cites this as one of the main reasons for his withdrawal from the formal education scene.
While working at Microsoft, Newell met Mike Harrington, a Microsoft employee. The duo left Microsoft at the same time in 1996 to form their own company, Valve L.L.C. Their move was inspired by another former Microsoft colleague, Michael Abrash. Abrash left the computer software company for id Software L.L.C. to work on their computer game Quake, which proved to be a success.
Newell and Harrington bootstrapped the company’s operations when they worked on their first game and its game engine. The company eventually released the GoldSrc game engine – an extensively modified version of id Software’s Quake engine – and the single-player first-person shooter game Half-Life in 1998. The game was released by Serria Studios for the Microsoft Windows platform. Gabe and his debut game received tons of positive reviews. It was heralded as a game that was ahead of its time with its immersive gameplay, seamless and realistic gameplay, graphics, and narrative. The game received over fifty Game of the Year awards.
Gabe Newell took advantage of the game’s success and in November 2004 Valve released the sequel to Half-Life 2, a massive $40 million five-year project. This too received countless positive reviews, praising every aspect of its development. It also won 39 Game of the Year awards, including the Game of the Decade award at the 2012 Spike Video Game Awards, and by December 2008 Half-Life and Half-Life 2 had sold 9.3 million and 6.5 million copies respectively at retail.
While developing Half-Life, Gabe Newell took some time to work on the development of his Steam digital distribution platform. Steam was developed for two main reasons: first, to provide faster, automatic updates to their online games and strengthen anti-piracy and anti-fraud measures, and second, to enable games to be sold much faster than retail sales. In 2013, Steam was reportedly the largest digital distribution platform for PC games, and by 2017 the company had recorded approximately $4.3 billion in-game purchases. By early 2018, Steam had accumulated over 150 million registered accounts.
Gabe Newell has never been a fan of game consoles. He has often spoken publicly about his aversion to the idea of adapting his games for game consoles (especially for the PlayStation 3 in 2007), calling it a disaster and a waste of time for everyone. However, in 2001, before his public outbursts, he had adapted the highly successful Half-Life for other operating systems and, interestingly, for the PlayStation 2 console. In 2010, he announced at the Electronic Entertainment Expo that one of his company’s games, Portal 2, would be adapted for PlayStation 3, praising the open nature of the console’s development. For the same reason, he chose Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system, citing it as a threat to the open nature of PC games.
In 2010, Gabe was honored by Forbes in particular for his extensive work with Steam and the major partnerships he’d formed with several major developers. He also received a BAFTA Scholarship Award in 2013 for his contributions to the development of the video game industry. The co-founder of Valve Corporation was already a Moloch in early 2010. In October 2017, however, he reached his biggest milestone yet: he was named by Forbes to the list of the 100 richest people in the United States. With enormous net assets of 5.5 billion dollars, he was ranked 97th on the list.
Newell’s Valve Corporation has also produced several other successful games that are played and streamed by millions of people around the world. Some other Valve games include Dota, Dota 2, Portal 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Half-Life 2: Episode 2, Left 4 Dead, and Team Fortress.
Gabe Newell’s Family: Wife and Children
Gabe Newell has managed to keep his marriage free of any scandalous reports or incidents. He married Lisa Mennet Newell in 1996, and the couple has been together ever since.
The union of Gabe and Lisa produced two sons. However, Gabe, his wife, and his children have chosen to keep their identity and everything else about his family secret.
Gabe Newell’s body measurements: His height and weight loss problems
Gabe Newell stands at a height of 1.7 m (5 feet 5 inches), which is a respectable height for anyone.
But the bigger problem with Newell is his weight. Over the years there have been several discussions about Gabe’s weight on fansites and forums. Many of his loyal fans have expressed their fears that this could lead to health risks for their idol. Gabe has always been on the heavy side since his time at Microsoft and has not lost any weight since then.
His weight is not publicly known, but it has inspired some really insensitive memes and video parodies. According to a picture from the Valve founder’s high school yearbook that appeared a while ago, he used to be thin.
Quick Facts about Gabe Newell
1. Gabe is not a hugger
As Gabe puts it, people always want to hug him when they meet him alone or with his family. He says it makes him uncomfortable because he is not a hugger. However, with the help of his children, he learns to accept everything that comes with a public image.
2. He has suffered from Fuch’s dystrophy
This is an eye defect that affects the cornea. For someone in his industry, this was a career-threatening disease. Gabe had to undergo two corneal transplants in 2006 and 2007. Both operations were successful.
3. Gabe Newell’s favorite Valve game is not “Half-Life”
For all the success Half-Life has brought to the company, Gabe does not list it as his favorite Valve game. The programmer names Portal 2 as his favorite single-player game and Dota 2 as his favorite multiplayer game, both under the Valve label.