Valve’s Gabe Newell Honored with Game Developer’s Choice Pioneer Award

Creator of Half-Life series and Steam Is Awarded For Gaming Innovation

January 15, 2010 – Gabe Newell, the co-founder and managing director at Valve Software, is being honored with the 2010 Game Developers Choice Pioneer Award. The Award, which first originated in 2008, honors breakthrough figures in the game industry and celebrates the individuals responsible for changing the world of gaming.

Newell dropped out of Harvard to work at Microsoft and then went on to work on Quake at id Software. In 1996, Newell founded Valve with Mike Harrington and funded the creation of Half-Life, widely considered to be one of the greatest games ever made. He then went on to develop Half-Life 2 and Steam, the product-delivery service that has revolutionized the way PC gamer’s buy games and get content.

Half-Life tells the story of Gordon Freeman, a scientist and graduate of MIT who works at Black Mesa, a government research facility. While conducting an experiment, everything goes wrong and a portal to another world is opened. The facility becomes flooded with aliens and Freeman has to escape. Over the course of the game, Freeman has to fight both aliens and the military, who have been sent in to quell the alien flood and eliminate any witnesses. Despite Freeman’s heroic efforts, the aliens invade earth and, in Half-Life 2, Freeman is called into action once again, to eliminate the alien forces entirely.

Half-Life revolutionized the industry by presenting interactive cut-scenes that never interfered or took the gamer out of the experience. The AI was remarkably intelligent and the story was enthralling. It featured vicious and brilliant shooting action, interactive NPC’s and revolutionary graphics. Half-Life 2 was recognized for continuing the excellent storyline and featured enhanced AI, the most advanced graphical engine seen at the time, and brilliant character interaction. Both games won many Game of the Year awards and are recognized today as two of the greatest games ever made.

In addition, Newell oversaw the creation of Team Fortress, Left 4 Dead, Portal, and the Steam distribution service.

Steam has allowed developers of all sizes to sell their games without a physical distributor. It has revolutionized the gaming community and changed the way PC games are delivered to gamer’s systems. It was introduced with Half-Life 2, the first game to be downloaded and authenticated via Steam.

Previous winners of the award include Ralph Baer, Alex Rigopulous and Eran Egozy.

Source: GDC Press Release