Gabe Newell And Valve Are Genuinely Thinking About Moving To New Zealand

Gabe Newell And Valve Are Genuinely Thinking About Moving To New Zealand
Image: TVNZ

The co-founder of Valve, Gabe Newell, has been stuck in New Zealand basically since the pandemic began. And because the developer and business leader has been having a great time in the country — and most of his Seattle-based colleagues are still stuck at home — it’s logical that Newell, and Valve, are starting to practically think about the logistics of living in New Zealand permanently.

In a lengthy new interview, Newell told TVNZ that there is “a lot of interest at a grass roots level inside of the company” to have some employees relocate to New Zealand. “[New Zealand has] been great at keeping the epidemic under control,” Newell said.

Newell said there were no plans last year to open a New Zealand branch. but the ongoing pandemic — and its handling in the United States — seems like it’s changed the appetite for relocation. Newell confirmed that he personally will continue seeking citizenship in New Zealand “for the foreseeable future”, and his application for residency has been granted in principle.

That said, there’s a lot of moving parts. Before Valve actually uproots more of its staff, one of the key factors will be the length of the pandemic.

“You don’t want to uproot a bunch of families, have them come here, and then the situation gets a bunch better and then they have to turn around and go back,” Newell is quoted as saying. “So that’s why getting a better handle on how long the epidemic is going to be affecting our operational decisions is important to that.”

New Zealand already has a groundswell of talent in game development and associated industries, but a bigger question now is supporting infrastructure. Something Newell mentioned directly was healthcare, something the United States has historically failed at.

“There’s this new requirement, where it would be really nice if they had amazing public health infrastructure. You’ve never really had to worry about that before when setting up a software company, but it’s about to become a critically valuable thing. It’s as if there’s a new element that’s been discovered called Not-Stupidium, and New Zealand is one of the world’s producers of it. So how New Zealand ends up deciding to take advantage of the fact that it has this resource, right, you can just collaborate more effectively when you’re doing it face to face.”

The most realistic possibility is that this year’s International, Valve’s mammoth Dota 2 global tournament, will be held in New Zealand. Newell said the constant mutations of COVID mean “It’s a realistic possibility and it gets more realistic all the time” that New Zealand will be the only country where Valve could actually plan to hold the International.

“Hopefully the procedures can be put in place so that becomes feasible — like, you know, this is what the quarantine would look like,” he said.

Gabe Newell also spoke about playing games in the interview, including his current passion, Ancient Planet Tower Defense from Moonlight Mouse. “I have this horrible problem where I just min-max the hell out of things … I’ve just been obsessed with trying to figure out all of the possible ways to play that game.”

He also spoke about turning his travelling companions into Dota 2 players, and that Valve has a chunk of employees who are huge fans of Apex Legends.

“I think I’ll enjoy playing it, which is good, but I also think there’s a bunch of things I’ll learn as a video game developer from playing it,” Newell said.

Comments

  • and Australia misses out, again to New Zealand. Australian Government – take note. New Zealand – Congratulations.

    • Australia for the most part has been very good about managing the pandemic too all things considered, aside from the big spike in Melbourne last year. I’m willing to bet that if it was Australia where Newell was stuck in rather than NZ, he’d be considering setting up shop here instead.

      • NZ also has one more thing over Aus that makes it lucrative though.. and thats the existing fttp network structure as opposed to the more hapazard system we have right now over here

    • As much as Australia is indeed screwing up attracting good companies and talent to set up shop here, to be fair: Gabe Newell only chose New Zealand not because of the health care or it’s COVID handling, but because he was holidaying in NZ when the pandemic hit, he got stuck there, and then grew to love the country.

    • That’s ok, we’ll just claim Valve as being Australian the same way we do everything else good that NZ has 😀

  • I dunno, if any of his employees have kids with stuff like autism, NZ is notorious for declining citizenship even if the parent is super well paid. They are big on the discrimination front as far as chronic illness goes. Factors to take into account before anyone relocates.

    • Most countries are when it comes to illnesses and disabilities, my brother can’t ever come to Australia from NZ for the same reason and my sister had to move back to raise her kids, there’s simply no support.
      On the upside, my son automatically has dual citizenship and my partner now has the option too.

      • Yeah, it’s an unfortunate situation, but I don’t know how many people consider it before moving until it happens to them. I’m stuck in Australia because I’m a bag of chronic disease and that makes travelling difficult even without immigration. Hope none of them end up like that professor in NZ who ended up leaving after years of research when they told his son to take a running leap.

  • So ‘Uncle Gabe’ if you love this side of the world so much how come you still won’t let us buy the Valve Index without resorting to screwing around with postal forwarding companies???????

    • He spoke a bit about that — basically they’re getting screwed by supply, with Apple and co. taking years of bookings to secure their own inventory. I don’t know how much their components are affected per se, or how much their manufacturing line is screwed because of that higher demand from bigger manufacturers, but that was the reason he gave.

  • New Zealand is where all the Silicon Valley & Seattle tech executives and Hollywood directors/producers decided they wanted to put their doom prepper homes at… NZ govt even gave them expensive visas. Should be seeing industries that are not compatible with constant work from home like film and television shift their focus outside of US and Europe.

    • The selection certainly seems like holiday house leftovers, and given their strategically odd placement on a near empty magazine shelf they look to be more set decoration than something he might actually play.

  • Gabe Newell And Valve Are NOT Genuinely Thinking About Moving To New Zealand

    Before Valve actually uproots more of its staff, one of the key factors will be the length of the pandemic. “You don’t want to uproot a bunch of families, have them come here, and then the situation gets a bunch better and then they have to turn around and go back,” Newell is quoted as saying. “So that’s why getting a better handle on how long the epidemic is going to be affecting our operational decisions is important to that.”

    All that’s happened is that a bunch of people on his team have mused about how nice it would be move to New Zealand until the pandemic blows over, after which the lot will be happily naffing right back off again to California.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!