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Valve won't go public

Floated companies suffer too much shareholder interference, claims Half-Life studio

Seattle developer and Steam owner Valve has dismissed the possibility of ever floating on the stock market.

The given reason was fear of meddling in creative decisions by shareholders.

"Any bad decision I ever see out there is because somebody created this different customer that was whoever funds them," lead designer Erik Johnson told PC Gamer, "and not the consumer of the product."

Said Valve boss Gabe Newell, "You end up with a totally different set of decisions, and the person who's trying to design the experience is like 'Okay, I guess we'll put Christopher Walken in our game.'"

Valve has also remained resolutely independent throughout its life, despite brief, apparently unfounded speculation about a Google buy-out some years back.

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Latest comments (19)

Andrew Clayton QA Weapons Tester, Electronic Arts10 years ago
Excellent choice. Valve has been doing everything right so far and I would hate to see something like what they have right now ruined by a pointless pursuit of increased profits. Even though I would love to own a piece of Valve, I'd rather have the games (and company) that I know and love right now.
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Yeah. I'd love developers to not be floated. Allows for full control
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Jason Vandiver Designer III, THQ10 years ago
What's wrong with Christopher Walken?
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Show all comments (19)
Bogdan Oprescu Producer, Ubisoft10 years ago
Great statement! Great company! Companies like Valve should never go public as this is the only way for them to do the games they want without any interference from anybody. Way to go!
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 10 years ago
Christopher Walken is great, but I suppose the point is that Valve have repeatedly proven that you can have absolutely top-drawer voice acting in your game without having to pay out for well-known celebrities.

Anyway, this is good news, and really if they don't 'need' to be made a public company then it's probably better for the staff and the consumers, because in my eyes it means products will generally have a longer development cycle, be of higher quality and thus in theory ensure franchise longevity.
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Hunington Sachs COO, Business & Legal Affairs 10 years ago
If you go public, your duty IMMEDIATELY shifts to maximization of share price, because your fiduciary duty is to shareholders, not "great games". "Great games" can only be an objective if it contributes to increased value for shareholders. There's no politics or secret evil agenda to this, it's just the practical manifestation of a state's corporate law and 1000s upon 1000s of cases interpreting these laws. To do otherwise as an officer or director of a publicly-held company is to invite a shareholder suit for breach of this duty.
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Matt Hackett Game Developer, Lost Decade Games10 years ago
Another excellent choice by Valve. I'm sure I'll be happily giving them money for many years to come.
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Private Industry 10 years ago
Hmmm Christopher Walken as Wheatley in Portal 2, that would be intriguing. :D

Good idea to stay that way, now can we have the voice of the Animator back for Wheatley since they don`t have to answer to shareholders? :(

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Private on 2nd September 2010 9:57pm

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Andy Payne Chair/founder, AppyNation10 years ago
Long live Valve and everything they stand for. The did a latter day Peter Grant/Led Zeppelin by changing the 10% to them and 90% to the promoter on it's head to 10% promoter and 90% to them. Brilliant.
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Stephen Northcott Senior Consulting Engineer 10 years ago
Bravo Valve.
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Lawrence Makin Audio 10 years ago
Unfortunately they'll be forced to go public when the majority of gaming switches to digital distribution. At the moment they're by far the leaders in their field.

When competition steps up, they won't have the capital to compete in order to procure the rights to the more lucrative exclusives compared to those publicly listed firms.

Sad but true.
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Joe Martin Journalism 10 years ago
Did they ever suggest or was it ever rumoured that they would go public in the first place? If not then surely this is just business as normal?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Joe Martin on 3rd September 2010 10:03am

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Charlie Andre-Barrett European Digital Sales Manager, Bethesda Softworks10 years ago
Bravo Valve !!
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Mark Hunter Studying MA Environment Modelling, Teesside University10 years ago
you have to respect valve for their independence, cant wait for HL2 ep3
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Stephen Woollard Online Infrastructure Specialist, Electronic Arts10 years ago
@Lawrence - I have to disagree there. At present most if not all of the biggest publishers in the world (including EA) distribute via Steam and I see no reason for that to change.

Steam is arguably the biggest online distribution service in the world for games, and a lot of that success is down to gamers attitudes towards Valve. The simple fact is that, rightly or wrongly, gamers trust Valve - they don't trust corporations. Gamers for the most part believe that Valve have their interests at the forefront, whereas publically listed companies are only looking out for the bottom line and as already stated a corporate's first duty is to its shareholders, not its customers.

Any publisher who chose not to go with Steam would have to have a pretty good reason to make that call, and quite frankly anyone who did so would do no more that demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of the mindset of your average PC gamer. It would be akin to shooting yourself in the foot. If anything, if a company wanted to sign an exclusive deal they would be far more likely to go to Valve than anyone else.
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It's great to see news like this!

Valve is so successful with what they are doing and there is no need for them to become a PLC. As many have stated STEAM is the biggest online distribution service. It's probably the only service where you don't hear any hate or negativity.

STEAM is free and an excellent platform for PC users. It's highly profitable and the more publishers and devs that place content on it make it the standard for the industry. With great updates and improved functionality STEAM is the digital distribution model that all industries should follow.

We love what you do Valve, keep it up!
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Remi Van Loenen Lead Game Designer, Grendel Games10 years ago
Good news indeed.

One note though, and that is that Valve definetely has the cashflow to enjoy their 'independent' moniker.
I wouldn't mind being indepent with that amount of cash in the bank (it is a very powerful perspective, and one I'm quite jealous of :) )
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Tim Carter Designer - Writer - Producer 10 years ago
Valve does great things for Valve.

Too bad it doesn't help the larger game industry as a whole.

Steam, for example, needs to become a full-blown publisher.

Valve needs to fully credit its designers and developers. (Ever look at the credits of a Valve game? Groupthink 101. No one is credited for what they do.)

They aren't perfect.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tim Carter on 5th September 2010 10:44pm

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Stephen Woollard Online Infrastructure Specialist, Electronic Arts10 years ago
The credits thing is interesting. On the one hand it's nice to have your job title in the credits, especially from a CV perspective, but on the other hand by simply listing everyone in alphabetical order it demonstrates that everyones role in bringing the game out is equally important, which I think is a nice touch.

And let's face it, if you have Valve on your CV it probably says enough as it is.
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