Influencers 2010

Influencer: Gabe Newell, Valve Software

The 'Citizen Kane' of PC Gaming Reinvents the Genre

By Published on .

NEW YORK ( -- Gabe Newell. You won't find the name on Twitter, Facebook, or Foursquare (not the real one, anyway), but it is well known on message boards, chat rooms and everywhere from game-world locations Black Mesa and Aperture Science to real-world cities like New York and Shanghai.

Mr. Newell is president and co-founder of Valve Software, a video game developer known for its first-person shooters, puzzle games and Valve Time, churning out one blockbuster after another.

"Valve founded infrastructure that rallied PC gamers under one roof—a store and social platform," said PC Gamer Editor-in-Chief Logan Decker.

Under Mr. Newell, privately held Valve has released games such as Half-Life and Portal, which have transcended their respective genres and acted as templates for many other developers. "I don't think there's any other person who's as single-handedly responsible for elevating PC gaming," said Mr. Decker, noting Mr. Newell "understood that PC games could be much more than genre exercises." Mr. Decker noted that when Half-Life debuted "everything that came before it suddenly seemed unambitious by comparison. Half-Life became the 'Citizen Kane' of PC gaming, and Gabe Newell became our Orson Welles."

As if that wasn't enough, Valve has also "cemented the PC as the most innovative and forward-thinking gaming platform of all," said Mr. Decker, "and if there's one person to thank for it, that'd be Gabe Newell."

And to think he did it all without Twitter.

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