Two things: Gabe Newell is still absolutely loving the hell out of New Zealand, and he absolutely prefers the Xbox Series X to the PlayStation 5.
The Valve co-founder and unofficial Pile of Shame icon appeared on the Kiwi edition of The Project recently. Like his other appearance on breakfast TV, Newell was there to promote the free festival that him and his entourage (which includes Newell’s parents) are bankrolling. The festival is Newell’s way of saying thanks to the generosity shown by New Zealanders towards what he calls “COVID refugees”, tourists stuck in New Zealand from early March when the coronavirus pandemic began.
He reiterated that gratefulness on The Project, saying that “because we’re here, our lives are very different” compared to the friends, families and co-workers in the United States. “Coming here to the studio tonight, you’re going downtown Auckland, it looks — to my eye — like a normal Friday night, and you look at what our friends and family are going through in Seattle, and it’s like tumbleweeds are blowing through the downtown. 30 percent of the restaurants have already closed.”
But unlike the last appearance, someone on The Project actually asked Newell a question about video games. It wasn’t related to Half-Life or anything Valve actually makes, but about the upcoming Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. A member of the panel asked Newell which he thought was better, and he simply said: “The Xbox.”
When asked why, he simply replied: “Because it is … I don’t have a stake in that race. So obviously we do most of our development on personal computers, but of the two I would definitely go with an Xbox.”
There was an interesting exchange earlier in the interview about the future of Ghost in the Shell or Matrix-esque brain interface devices, something Newell argued is much closer to reality than many think. “Rather than going in through your eyes and your senses, we’ll be able to create those experiences inside your brain … there’ll be both invasive and non-invasive, and it’s happening a lot quicker than people realise,” the Valve co-founder said.
Another panellist asked how they could feel less motion sick when playing VR. Newell’s suggestion: Buy a better VR headset. Sadly, nobody on the panel asked him why the Valve Index isn’t being sold in the region.