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For a man who is among the world’s billionaires, Gabe Newell appears pretty unassuming, but then so do a lot of people in his financial bracket. Gabe’s is not a name that can ever be forgotten when talking about the evolution and increasing 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, Valve Corporation is a massive video game development and digital distribution company that has firmly etched the CEO’s name in the annals of e-gaming history.
Gabe Newell’s Biography
Gabe Logan Newell was born in Seattle, in the State of Washington, on November 3, 1962. Nothing is known about Newell’s schooling before his tertiary education.
In 1980, Gabe gained admission into the prestigious Harvard University. Perhaps, it is that he felt underwhelmed in school or he was trying to channel his role model, Bill Gates, but in 1983, Newell dropped out of Harvard and picked up employment at the American technology company Microsoft. Newell worked extensively for the company in the development of their early software and operating systems. He was notably involved as the producer of Windows 1.01, 1.02, and 1.03 operating systems.
Apparently, this time at Microsoft is one that Gabe remembers with fondness. He has often said that his first quarter at Microsoft taught him much more than he ever learned in his three years at Harvard. The computer programmer credits this as one of the major reasons he stepped away from the scene of formal education.
While working at Microsoft, Newell met Mike Harrington, a fellow Microsoft employee. The duo left Microsoft at the same time in 1996 to launch 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 turned out to be a success.
Newell and Harrington bootstrapped the company’s operations as they worked to their first game and its accompanying game engine. The company eventually came out with the game engine GoldSrc – 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 ahead of its time with its immersive play, seamless and realistic gameplay, graphics and narrative. The game received over fifty “Game of the Year” awards.
Gabe Newell capitalized on the success of the game and in November 2004, Valve released the sequel to the game Half-Life 2. It was a massive $40 million dollar five-year project. Again, this received a myriad of positive reviews that praised 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. As at December 2008, Half-Life and Half-Life 2 had sold 9.3 million copies and 6.5 million copies in retail sales respectively.
During the development of Half-Life, Gabe Newell took some time to work on the development of his digital distribution platform, Steam. Steam was developed for two major reasons: to provide faster and automatic updates to their online games, and strengthen anti-piracy and anti-cheat measures, and also to be able to make game sales much faster than retail sales. In 2013, Steam was reported to be the largest digital distribution platform for PC games, and by 2017, it had recorded about $4.3 billion in-game title purchases. By early 2018, Steam had garnered 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 gaming consoles (especially for the PlayStation 3 in 2007), terming it a disaster and a waste of everybody’s time. However, in 2001, prior to his public outbursts, he had adapted the ultra-successful Half-Life for other operating systems and interestingly, for the PlayStation 2 console. In 2010, he revealed at the Electronic Entertainment Expo that one of his company’s games Portal 2 would be adapted for PlayStation 3 while praising the open nature of the console’s development. He went after Microsoft’s Windows 8 OS for the very same reason, calling it a threat to the open nature of PC gaming.
In 2010, Gabe was recognized by Forbes particularly for his extensive work with Steam and the major partnerships he had sealed with various major developers. He also received a BAFTA Fellowship award in 2013 for his contributions to the development of the video game industry. The Valve Corporation co-founder was already a juggernaut by the early 2010s. However, in October 2017, he hit his biggest milestone yet; he was listed by Forbes on the list of 100 Richest People in the United States. He ranked No.97 on the list with a massive net worth of $5.5 billion.
Newell’s Valve Corporation has also produced several other successful games played and streamed by millions around the globe. Some other Valve games include Dota, Dota 2, Portal 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, 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 report or happenings. He got married to Lisa Mennet Newell in 1996, and the couple has been together ever since.
Gabe and Lisa’s union has produced two sons. However, Gabe, his wife, and children have chosen to keep their identities and everything else about his family a secret.
Gabe Newell’s body measurements: His height and weight loss problems
Gabe Newell stands at a height of 5 feet 5 inches (1.7m), which is a respectable height for anybody.
However, the bigger issue with Newell is his weight. Over the years there have been several discussions on fan pages and forums about Gabe’s weight. Many of his devoted fans have expressed their fears about how this could lead to health risks for their idol. Gabe has always been on the heavy side since his Microsoft days and has not shed any weight since then.
His weight is not public information but it has inspired some really insensitive memes and video parodies. According to a picture of the Valve founder’s high school yearbook that surfaced some time ago, he used to be skinny.
Quick Facts about Gabe Newell
1. Gabe is not a hugger
As Gabe puts it, people always want to give him a hug whenever they run into him alone or with his family. He says it makes him uncomfortable as he is not a hugging person. However, with the help of his children, he is learning to accept all 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 line of work, this was a career-threatening disease. Gabe had to undergo two cornea transplants in 2006 and in 2007. Both operations were successful.
3. Gabe Newell’s favorite Valve game is not “Half-Life”
For all the success Half-Life brought to the company, Gabe does not list the game as his favorite Valve game. The programmer names Portal 2 as his favorite single player game, and Dota 2 as his favorite multi-player game, both under the Valve label.