Gabe Newell: Reflections of a Video Game Maker

A couple of ideas taken out from the video “Gabe Newell: Reflections of a Video Game Maker“:

  • In the 1980s, IBM considered 1000 lines of code per year the average productivity for a software developer
  • The goal of a game company is to make the customer happy, not some venture capitalist
  • Management is a skill, not a career path (@19:10)
  • Management all about making your subordinates more productive. It’s a service, not hierarchy of power. (before @20:22)
  • “One office per employee” sounds great but people started to tear down the walls because this policy impeded their productivity. When you hire the smartest brains, give them the power to make themselves more productive. (before @25:07)
  • Customers beat Valve in creating content for Team Fortress 2 by 10:1 (before 34:00)
  • In-game economies cause interesting issues in real life. In Korea, game companies have to file income-tax-forms for games where players can trade items. Valve was wondering if they should increase drop rates for the affected players to make up for the income tax, or maybe increase drop rates for poor players who could trade their game items for real goods. At one time, they broke Paypal because so many trades happened and PP was starting to worry what they were up to. During the day, they would start to see mini financial crises when certain items dry up (before 37:20)
  • Interesting evolution of the Steam store system (40-48:00)
  • Our children will never know products that are all the same. Companies have stopped selling you products; instead they sell you the 3D printing data for you to use in your local 3D print shop (near the end)

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