The History of Valve Software
The story of Valve Software is a story of two men with a dream. Gabe Newell and Mike Harrington joined with Microsoft in the early days of the company designing the earliest Windows operating systems, and after thirteen years with them had become what were known as “Microsoft Millionaires.” Both men enjoyed playing video games and inspired by a friend who left Microsoft to join game development studio ID Software, they decided to leave their lucrative positions at Microsoft to start their own dream company, the company they had always wanted to work for.
The two men who had only had experience creating operating system software set out to create what would become one of the most successful and respected developers in the forty billion dollar gaming industry, Valve Software. Through their mutual friend at ID software the two men were introduced to gaming development legend John Carmack who convinced them to license his Quake game engine to create an action game of their own. So, in 1996 Valve was formed.
Unlike most big developers which had started out as small teams of one or two people before branching out after finding success, Valve had enough starting capital to hire a large team and begin making big budget games right away. Valve sought professional game developers inside the industry, but also sought out talented members of the mod community. A mod is a modification of an existing game by amateur game developers who are usually just fans programming games for themselves and their friends. Newell and Harrison recognized that many of these mod creators had more talent than some of the industry professionals. This was the beginning of Valve’s close relationship with its community. This strategy of working closely with the community was distinct in the gaming industry. Most developers kept their development secrets very tight lipped and only took marginal feedback from the gaming community. Usually the game would be developed...
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