Gabe Newell AMA Uneventful Though Interesting

Reddit AMAs are seldom the font of hot news we want them to be, but they are at least a subtle look beyond the curtain. AMA’s demystify people and organizations without really answering our burning questions. So, after Valve founder Gabe Newell‘s time in the Reddit hot seat, I am happy to repeat two real pieces of news. The J.J. Abrams Half-life and Portal films are still in the works and there will likely be a new IP set in that universe.

Apart from that, nothing that came out should really stop the presses. That isn’t to say that it wasn’t interesting. A major update for Team Fortress 2 is being worked on, that features a new campaign, a pack for the Pyro class, some matchmaking improvements and balancing changes. Newell enjoys Portal 2Dota 2, and medium rare steaks. Most talk centered around Valve‘s design philosophy and Steam itself.

“The big thing right now is broadening the range of options we have in creating experiences,” said Newell when asked about the company’s direction. “We think investing in hardware will give us those options. The knuckles controller is being designed at the same time as we’re designing our own VR games. Much more narrowly, some of us are thinking about some of the AI work that is being hyped right now. Simplistically we have lots of data and compute capability that loos like the kinds of areas where machine learning should work well. Personally I’m looking at research in brain-computer interfaces.”

As is often the case with Newell, he tends to flip between glib and sincere at the drop of a dime. One moment he decried the number 3, and espoused the validity of unidentified anonymous internet sources, in another he earnestly discusses why Valve often seems uncommunicative with the community surrounding it, the short answer being that that prefer to answer fans by enacting change and releasing things rather than promising players things they may not be able to deliver.

Half-life 3 remains unconfirmed, but the whole thing is an interesting read to say the very least.