Valve president and co-founder Gabe Newell still can’t count to three, but he managed to mosey on over to Reddit for an AMA on Tuesday afternoon, and he didn’t even Munson it. Among the information he revealed is that Valve is still working on games, and there’s also a chance of a new IP in the same universe as Half-Life and Portal. He also opined that Portal 2 is “our best single-player game” (agreed) and the multiplayer game he plays the most is Dota 2.
He also offered an explanation for why Valve is often so secretive about their upcoming projects:
Q: Hi GabeN, Why does Valve not talk to its community about the games/apps its developing as much as other companies?
Newell: 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.
[Newell added this in a separate reply.] Another way to think about this, and the way we talk about this internally, is that we prefer to communicate through our products. We are all pretty devoted to reading and listening to the community – everyone here believes it is an integral part of their job to do so. And when it comes time to respond, we generally use Steam – shipping updates that address issues or add functionality. Obviously this doesn’t work for everything. Working this way imposes latency on our communication – it takes longer to ship and update than to do a blog post. This can lead to the feeling of an echo chamber, where it seems like Valve isn’t listening. We’re always listening. So sometimes the latency is rough for everyone, including us when we want to address issues quickly. On balance we think it’s usually worth the trade-off.
He did reveal a little about Valve’s future projects, which include artificial intelligence and “brain-computer interfaces.” (!)
Q: Hey Gabe/other valve employees, 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?
Newell: 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.