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Last active Feb 27, 2022
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All about Valve

Notable Games

  • Half-Life (1998)
  • Team Fortress Classic (1999) - originally a Quake mod, devs hired by Valve
  • Ricochet (2000) - nobody talks about this one
  • Counter-Strike (2000) - Half-Life mod, devs hired by Valve
  • Day of Defeat (2003) - Half-Life mod, devs hired by Valve
  • Counter-Strike: Source (2004) - Remake of Counter-Strike in Valve's proprietary Source engine
  • Half-Life 2 (2004)
  • Portal (2007) - indie devs hired by Valve
  • Team Fortress 2 (2007) - remake of Team Fortress Classic, helped Valve research and build out item drops and trading infrastructure
  • Left 4 Dead (2008) - independent devs hired by Valve, probably because it was made with the Source engine
  • Left 4 Dead 2 (2009)
  • Portal 2 (2011)
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (2012) - known as CSGO, still stays in the Top 10 on a decade later
  • Dota 2 (2013) - sequel to DotA, a WarCraft III mod, where the devs went to make Riot (League of Legends), Dota 2 (Valve), and Heroes of Newerth (S2 Games)
  • Artifact (2018) - a Dota 2 tarding card game which was booed by the audience when announced



Valve is a private and notoriously secret company, so all numbers are speculation.

IHS Screen Digest's games analyst Ed Barton thinks Valve's 2010 revenues were in the "high hundreds of millions of dollars." This fits with a recent report by research firm Forecasting and Analysing Digital Entertainment (FADE) that said Valve's online videogame retailer Steam made nearly $1 billion in revenues in 2010. Analysts estimate the average revenue split is around 30-40% for Steam, the rest to the third-party game publishers that sell their titles on the platform. Given that, Steam made around $300 million to $400 million for Valve in 2010. —

Most of Valve's revenue comes from Steam, which controlled 50 to 70% of the market for downloaded PC games in 2011 and generated an estimated $3.4 billion in 2017. By 2012, Valve employed around 250 people and was reportedly worth over US$3 billion, making it the most profitable company per employee in the United States. —

Valves generates record-breaking $4.3bn in 2017... Steam saw an increase in game sales revenue of $800 million in 2017 over the year prior, according to Sergey Galyonkin of SteamSpy. Based on Golyonkin's estimates, revenue generated from sales peaked at $4.3 billion last year, up from $3.5 billion in 2016, making it a record-breaking year for Valve. Speaking at GDC yesterday, Galyonkin revealed that around half of that $4.3 billion was generated by just 100 of the 21,000 games available on Steam. In other words, 0.5% of games accounted for 50% of sales revenue. —

$3.5B in 2016, $4.3B in 2017 —

Working at Valve

They promise staff the time of their lives. But from tech to Hollywood, there’s a neo-feudal culture of favouritism and fear -- The Guardian

Employee Handbook (2012)

Valve published this which got a lot of people talking:

No bosses. Desks have wheels so you can move your desk and work on what you want. Find out the latest news by peeing near people (not kidding). Sounds utopian, right? Then read what it's really like.

Jeri Ellsworth (hardware engineer, ?-2013)

Fired as part of Valve's "great purge" of 2013, when two thirds of the company decided that they didn't like what the other third were working on (hardware).

Ellsworth later talked about how the structure is "like high school":

Yanis Varoufakis (economist, 2012-2013)

They discussed the culture while working there. Nothing too spicy since they were currently employed:

A much longer discussion that was originally on the Valve blog:

They were only at valve for a year, but the marketplace was probably strongly influenced by him:

Also read Yanis' take on cryptocurrency (2022):

Unknown Former Employee (2019)

Piped up on Hacker News to talk about how Valve is stuck in a rut of survivorship bias, and that Valve is chasing microtransactions and not making games:

Richard Geldreich

Tweets their experience without directly naming the company. A massive expose with lots of highlights.

Money Laundering

Many people have alleged that Steam is a huge money laundering platform and that Valve is aware and benefitting from it. Valve definitely made improvements and it's much harder to get money out of Steam than a decade ago.

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