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Valve confirms plans to stay independent

Valve boss Gabe Newell has told <i>GamesIndustry.biz</i> that he believes maintaining independence is key to the company's ongoing success.

Valve boss Gabe Newell has told GamesIndustry.biz that he believes maintaining independence is key to the company's ongoing success.

Speaking in an exclusive interview, part two of which is published today, Newell said, "I think something that contributes to our ability to be successful is that we don't have external financing on our projects.

"There's no venture capitalists breathing down our neck, and I think that helps us make decisions that are more focused on what customers will like than what a third party has an opinion about."

Former Microsoft man Newell established privately-owned Valve Software (now Valve Corporation) in 1996 with his friend and business partner Mike Harrington.

The money the duo made during their time at Microsoft, along with the success of the developer's first game, Half-Life, has allowed the company to independently finance its own projects rather than forging ties with major publishers.

But while Newell is positive about the benefits of independence, he points out that even developers funded through third party publishers are in a better position than they might be in other entertainment industries - like the film industry, where he's heard of "shocking" amounts of interference "in what should be really straightforward product development decisions".

"People suddenly have an opinion and have really terrible opinions that break the development process, so, as frustrating as it can be in the games industry, in the feature films business there are whole other levels of people having opinions," he explained.

"I'm glad that we have orders of magnitude greater ability to make those decisions that we think are the right ones, that customers will say 'Good job' rather than worry that some third party's going to step in and tell us to ship on a particular date or take this out or put this out or whatever."

Valve is currently working on a second instalment in its episodic continuation of the Half-Life 2 first-person shooter, along with highly anticipated multiplayer title Team Fortress 2 and puzzle game Portal.

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Ellie Gibson

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Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.

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