Highlights from Gabe Newell’s AMA

HELLO FRIENDS! In bold you will find the original questions from the AMA. (What’s an AMA? Glad you asked! It stands for ASK ME ANYTHING!) Right below the question will be Gabe’s response and because we can’t have anything nice, I’ll be throwing in some pennies as well.

What is your personal favourite Valve game/series?

I think Portal 2 is our best single-player game. I play Dota 2 the most of our multiplayer games.

Maybe, if we’re lucky we can get an opportunity to last kill a creep before he does. 

Just a question out of curiosity really, but interested in seeing what your view is on the direction that valve as a company should take in the future? Such as what would you like to see the company achieve/what improvements would you like to see valve undergo/what role would you like to see valve serve/undertake in the industry as it evolves etc. and if any, have you made any past decisions that you look back on now that you regret/could've handled differently? 

The big thing right now is broadening the range of options we have in creating experiences. We think investing in hardware will give us those options. The knuckles controller is being designed at the same time as we're designing our own VR games. Much more narrowly, some of us are thinking about some of the AI work that is being hyped right now. Simplistically we have lots of data and compute capability that looks like the kinds of areas where machine learning should work well. Personally I'm looking at research in brain-computer interfaces.

Gabe supports the rise of the machines. 😱

Do you think the steam trading system could be improved realistically? Are you happy with the system right now? Have you ever been scammed? Do you have any plans to impose more punishments/restrictions on those types of people? Would you like to implement a more human-based system for this type of thing in the future, rather than automated?

Yes. No. No. Yes. Possibly. 6 Treants! 


Does Valve have any plans on making customer support better? And did you ever think of making it into live support? 

Yes! We are continuing to work on improving support. Since the last AMA, we've introduced refunds on Steam, we've grown our Support staff by roughly 5x, and we've shipped a new help site and ticketing system that makes it easier to get help. We've also greatly reduced response times on most types of support tickets and we think we've improved the quality of responses. We definitely don't think we're done though. We still need to further improve response times and we are continually working to improve the quality of our responses. We're also working on adding more support staff in regions around the world to offer better native language support and improve response times in various regions. 

Finally! I’m still waiting for someone to get back to me about that code on that pin that was exclusive to The International 4 that I can’t show off virtually. Who needs physical items if you can’t show them off digitally. Right?

Why does Valve not talk to its community about the games/apps its developing as much as other companies? 

Because our decision making is way more conditional than most other companies. The one thing we won't do is waste our customers time and money, which means we will cancel or change stuff much later in development. Tracking our choices would be annoying and frustrating.


Want to read more? Be sure to check out the rest of the AMA here.