Valve is maybe one of the most important companies in the games industry. Not only did it create some of the most iconic shooters in the world (Half Life), but it also got to revolutionize the way we play games thanks to the creation of Steam. Normally, Steam was a platform created to play games like Counter Strike and Half Life on it. But Valve decided to include third party developers, and that was a very successful move for their business. With that in mind, here you have some of the reasons behind Valve’s success and how everything came to be!
1. Valve was created by two Microsoft millionaires
It sounds strange but it’s also the truth. Valve would not exist if we wouldn’t have Microsoft. Gabe Newell and Mike Harrington both worked at Microsoft for more than 10 years, and they wanted to start their own gaming company. This is why they eventually quit Microsoft back in 1996 and used their fortunes to create a new business. One thing to note is that Newell and Harrington did amass a large fortune. In fact, each one of them got to acquire more than a million USD during the time they worked at Microsoft. Harrington did eventually leave the business in 2000.
2. Counter Strike was originally a Mod
A lot of people play Counter Strike 1.6 and CS:GO, but what they don’t know is that Counter Strike was originally a mod. The game was designed as a mod for Half Life, alongside other modes like Day of Defeat (which also became a standalone game), Gunman Chronicles and Ricochet.
3. Steam covers more than 75% of the digital gaming marketplace
Steam was one of the first platforms created specifically for downloading and playing games. The platform has evolved a lot during its 14 years of existence and it even got multiplatform support. But the striking thing is that it does cover more than 75% of the digital gaming sales. In fact, many companies just end up selling Steam keys and not go through the trouble of hosting any games.
4. There are more than 150 million Steam accounts
This is a huge number, and the interesting thing is that numbers are continually growing. This estimate was shared at the beginning of 2018, and there’s no sign of stopping. Why? Because you can find just about any type of game you want on Steam and there are no restrictions when it comes to when or how you play.
5. Valve created its own operating system
Called SteamOS, this is basically a Linux distribution modified to support Linux games on Steam Machine Microconsoles. The idea is that you can easily play at home and just have fun, and there are no real limitations in regards to the games that you can play.
6. All Valve games are created using the Source engine
This is a proprietary engine created by Valve. Even if the company didn’t release games for a few years now, the ones they did develop were mostly focused on using and improving the Source Engine. And this really works, with the Source Engine being a platform that’s seemingly very easy to expand and use.
7. Half Life 2’s story never got completed
While Half Life 2 did have an ending, Valve decided to create a series of episodes, and they did stop at Episode 2, leaving the story incomplete. Not only that, but the rumored Half Life 3 never got to see the light of day and it’s the subject of many memes and internet jokes.
8. Valve was infiltrated by hackers only a few times
This happened early on when Half Life 2 was released on the internet before it was ready and when the customer database was compromised in 2011. Also, there were some issues with the Steam database during Christmas 2016 too, which were seemingly caused by hacks.
9. There are 2 cancelled games from Valve
Yes, Valve did work on two projects, but they decided to cancel them. These include Prospero and Stars of Blood. They also worked with Arcane Studios on a project called The Crossing that was canceled in 2009 as well. So yes, Valve did end up canceling some rather relevant projects.
10. J J Abrams and Valve are working on a movie
The project was announced back in 2013, and it’s basically a Portal movie. Little is known about the project years after its announcement though, and we don’t even know if the project will ever come to life. But it is a nice idea and a great setting for a movie, that’s for sure.
11. Valve is one of the most profitable companies per employee in the US
Gabe Newell stated this back in 2011, and the huge company growth in the last few years has definitely cemented his statements. The interesting thing about Valve’s profitability is that it mostly comes from Steam. However, they do have some VR projects they are working on in-house, not to mention the constant updates for their games like DOTA 2 or CS:GO!
12. The company created its own controller
Valve did create the Steam controller, which is a dedicated controller that makes playing games on Steam a lot easier. The interesting thing about the controller is that it works with any computer regardless of the operating system. And yes, it does have some unique tactile features that make it easy for you to play even mouse-intensive games like strategy games with a controller.
13. Around 6000+ games are launched on Steam each year
In 2009 or so Valve didn’t have more than 6000-8000 games on Steam. However, since then the platform has expanded so much in scope and content that it adds around 6000+ games per year. Valve does have Steam Direct, which enables indie developers to publish their games via the system. They also shared multiple discovery updates, to help people find the games they want a lot faster.
Valve is one of the most important companies in the gaming world, and that success comes from its iconic games and the hugely successful Steam platform. Nothing is as relevant as their gaming platform, and the company does continue to shine and deliver amazing results, all thanks to its commitment to professionalism and gaming excellence!