[Update: It's over.] Gabe Newell's Reddit AMA Round-Up

Pikminiman

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Update (March 7, 2014):
Even though the AMA never officially ended -- Gabe said he was going away for a bit, and that he would return after more questions had been upvoted -- it's been three full days since the AMA was left hanging, so we're assuming that it's over at this point. As such, click here for the finished, nicely-formatted PDF containing all of the questions that Gabe answered.


Original Story (March 3, 2014):
Earlier today, Gabe Newell made true on his word to hold an "Ask Me Anything" on Reddit if the"Heart of Racing" charity effort reached a donation goal of $500,000. Even if it was a day later than originally expected, Valve's co-founder took to Reddit and fielded a number of questions submitted and upvoted by the community. Gabe was joined by Valve employees Erik Wolpaw, Erik Johnson, Ido Magal, and Greg Coomer.

In the AMA, Gabe has covered a broad range of questions, ranging from the location of the next Dota 2 International tournament to the reason why Gabe and Mike Harrington picked the name "Valve". (We think they made the right choice, since "ValveTime" sounds better than "RhinoScarTime".)

To read all of the answers Gabe and the others provided, click here for a nicely-formatted, comprehensive PDF containing every question that got answered. If you just want the highlights, though, here they are:

motoxalex:
"What improvements will we see out of the Source 2 engine?"

Gabe:
"The biggest improvements will be in increasing productivity of content creation. That focus is driven by the importance we see UGC having going forward. A professional developer at Valve will put up with a lot of pain that won't work if users themselves have to create content."
indexcardartist:
"Ricochet 2? When?"

Gabe:
"When we announced our products years in advance in the past and then were really late delivering them, it was pretty painful for both us and the community. We'd rather not repeat that."
liamdawe:
"Can we please get an update on when we are likely to see Counter Strike Global Offensive for Linux?"

Gabe:
"It's being worked on but we don't have an ETA."
McMqsmith:
"If Valve could borrow an IP from another company to make a game for it, what would you guys choose?"

Response:
"Gabe: The Warriors
Coomer: Groundhogs Day, Heathers
Wolpaw: God Hand, Saints Row
Ido: Casablanca"
Question:
"[W]here will TI4 be held?"

Gabe:
"We haven't finalized where this year's International will be. We are pretty sure it will be at Key Arena in Seattle, but we haven't gotten everything finalized, and there is always a risk that our schedules and theirs won't align in some way. As soon as we get everything finalized one way or another, we'll get the dates out there for everyone who would like to attend. Should be fun this year."
dudelsac:
"Did the long development time have anything to do with evolving technologies such as Virtual Reality? Are you planning to bring full VR support to future titles, such as Ricochet 2?"

Gabe:
"We aren't holding any game until VR is shipping. You don't want to create that kind of dependency."
failsrus96:
"Before Steam Greenlight was introduced, what was the process of adding a game to the Steam store?"

Gabe:
"We got bottle-necked pretty fast on tools and decision making which lead us to Greenlight, and is now leading us to make Steam a self-publishing system."
domaa:
"Has there been any trouble getting developers to add Linux compatibility?"

Gabe:
"Surprisingly little. There is a lot of popular sentiment in the developer community about Linux and gaming."
Fluttertree321:
"GabeN, what are your specs?"

Gabe:
"Well, I'm a handsome man with a charming personality."
librety:
"Are there any plans to offer a solution so that we can legitimately run WINE instances of Windows games on GNU/Linux through the native GNU/Linux Steam client?"

Gabe:
"WINE is definitely a useful tool for some things, but we're taking what we think is a more sustainable position by asking game developers to support Linux and SteamOS natively, for current and future titles. We think this is mostly what gamers want, too. It puts more power into the hands of developers and will result in better quality games in the end."
voksul:
"Is it possible for some sort of integration with services like Pandora and Spotify, in the future? [...] Could this happen?"

Gabe:
"Yes, we've got some things in the works that we think you'll like."
Technically, the AMA has not yet ended -- Gabe and the others are currently taking a break to wait for more questions to be upvoted -- so we will continue updating this post until it's officially over. You can also expect a nicely-formatted PDF containing all of the questions and answers upon the AMA's completion.
 

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Sidedraft

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One thing is for sure, ....He sure is one handsome man (y) sexy beast.
 

Sidedraft

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Definitely want more and more AMA with gaben. Keep up up to date.
 

Aizawa

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Gabe:
"We aren't holding any game until VR is shipping. You don't want to create that kind of dependency."

just like 2-5 days ago we discussed with someone who said Valve maybe waits for VR to release HL3, uh... ricochet 2 sorry :D
 

Pikminiman

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It's been well over 7 hours since Gabe's last post. I hope we aren't left hanging like this indefinitely for the AMA. I assume Gabe will return to properly close it off, if only because he said he'd return. But then, I suppose an utter lack of closure might be a pretty good symbolic gesture for keeping the status quo in this fanbase.
 

Omnomnick

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Gabe:
"We aren't holding any game until VR is shipping. You don't want to create that kind of dependency."

just like 2-5 days ago we discussed with someone who said Valve maybe waits for VR to release HL3, uh... ricochet 2 sorry :D
What Gabe is saying is that they aren't going to wait and hold a game back just for VR to ship, but I think it's extremely likely that Valve has plans to target games around the release of these peripherals, aka 2015.
 
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A guy asked
Thank you for doing this ama.
I am planning on majoring in Computer Science, and I want to someday work in game development. What do AAA companies look at, other than a degree? Past experiences, etc?
Gabe awnsered
We look for a history of shipping things. There is no substitute for shipping things that make your customers happy.
A reply was
My eBay feedback is 100%. Hire me.
heheh
 

Larry Brent

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Gabe:
"When we announced our products years in advance in the past and then were really late delivering them, it was pretty painful for both us and the community. We'd rather not repeat that."
Rather not repeating, anouncing their products years in advance in the past and then delivering them really late could mean:
  1. Instead of announcing their products years in advance, they'd rather announce them short before release and then deliver them in time, would mean we could be short before an annoucement/delivery
  2. A reasonable product is years from being ready to be delivered, hence no announcement these days, rather announcement and delivery will take years
ref. 1.) Thanks, that's what we wanted to hear.
ref. 2.) I may not gonna see Gordon finishing what had been promised long ago before my personal retirement. No comment (I must concentrate to control myself)
 

MainframeMouse

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I can't believe no-one asked him about the inadequacies and unfairness of SFS, and what is the reason that Valve can not do a per game sharing system.
 

Aizawa

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SFS? Steam Family Sharing? whats so unfair about that lol
 

MainframeMouse

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Off the top of my head.
It favours friends and extended family over close family living in one house.

5 friends/cousins sharing are all likely to have full libraries and when cross sharing are unlikely to find them unable to play. Add long distance friends then the chances of blocking each other out become almost non-exsistant.

While families under one roof will have one or two accounts with most games and child accounts with very few. This means at most times 4 of the 5 familymembers are unable to use steam.
 

Aizawa

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uhm okay... at least we have something like family sharing
 

MainframeMouse

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No, no we don't have anything like sharing. We have a system called Steam Family Sharing which falls very short of the description Anna Sweet made when SFS was first announced.

Read
http://steamcommunity.com/groups/familysharing/discussions/0/630802979334897616/
and
http://steamcommunity.com/groups/familysharing/discussions/0/630800444264178111/

Comments regarding locked rooms refer to the offline loop hole valve took 6 months to fix.

Before SFS, i'd log into my account on my kids computer and put it in offline mode. I can be free to play my other games. Thats how SFS should work. One of my kids should be able to play PvZ while another petson gets to play another game from that account.

You don't lend someone a book only to deliver them your entire book case.
 

Sidedraft

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Mainframe are you forgetting about the fact you can have other users get off your game at your will? Don't you have an option to request that player get off?
 

MainframeMouse

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The ability to instantly recall lent games still does not make up for the fact only one game can be active at any one time. As I said, if I lend you a book from my library it can still read any of the other books with out taking that book away trom you.
 

MainframeMouse

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Imagine me and you on a park Bench sharing a pizza in ValveLand. 8 slices of pizza which I purchased.
I pick up the first slice and start eating, under valveland law the pizza box is shut untill i stop eating.

I finish my first slice and the box lid opens, hungry you grab a slice and then I grab my next slice. 5 bites into your pizza a cop with a gravity gun snatches the pizza away from you mouth and tosses it into a bin.

Before you get grab your next slice i'm already onto my third so the box lid to shut.

By the time I've finish my 4th slice you've only had 10 small bite fulls.

Now if you had a pizza and I had a pizza you could eat mine while I eat yours. All great accept your mate Phil has just wandered by and grabbed on of your slices so the box is shut.

Tell you what, its getting late, so I head home and buy two more pizza for the family. Only mum, dad (me) son and two daughter like pizza.
My son gets the first slice, every one sits at the table twidling their thumbs while their tummies grumble. Daughter 1 gets the next slice, by now daughter 2 is crying. She knows there are 14 slices of pizza left, but she can't eat any of them because of stupid laws.
Being watchful daughter 2 grabs the next pizza, while son scratches his hand on the rapidly closing box lid. Son is now very upset.

I put him on my knee and grab a slice, 5 seconds later the window is opened up and the cop with the gravity gun pulls the pizza away from daughter 2. Now she's crying.

Mum has a great idea, she has her own pizza and brings it to the table, however no one but mum like pickled egg pizza.

Dads now upset, the only way to get every to eat at the same time is to give each child enough money to buy their own pizza, even though their is enough pizza for everyone and too buy more is a waste.
 

Krynn72

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I think your family needs to stay away from pizza altogether. Daughter 2 needs to get her priorities straight, damn.
 

Ikagara

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Its a bummer, but not really unexpected that the sharing system is set up like that. Allowing a friend/family to play/try out a game as much as you want, but if they really like it and want to continue playing it regularly that will have to buy it without it getting in the way of your own gaming. otherwise they may lose potential sales of a game because one person has permanently lent it to another friend. I understand the real world analogy, but DRM has moved in to the direction of preventing the sharing/selling of pc games (to varying degrees of success) so they can sell more games. the sharing feature as it is maintains the desire to sell, while allowing people to let friends try out games or for those living int he same household to more effectively share games in a living room setting. I think that its fine the way sharing works. If they where to really do anything, it would be to allow users to sell games in their library as /used/ to friends, where valve and/or developer takes a % of the sale.
 

Sidedraft

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Mainframe, i think valve was trying to simulate real life interactions, and what i mean by that is that I, and literally everyone i have known, has never just lent out vast quantities of games to large masses of people. We are not Game-banks, who give out videogame-loans. It's almost always very very few at a time if not only one game and usually to a best friend, or someone you can trust. If multiple games could be active at one time, wouldn't people just achieve mass libraries, and let people play for free, or even charge them a small fee, sure your paying 5 bucks, but you could be spending a whole 60, and by doing so they would essentially be robbing from the game companies.
 

Sidedraft

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Valve's not trying to make it so you can have a way to play every game you at once, there just trying to make it so you can occasionally share your game like you can with disc games.
 

MainframeMouse

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Firstly let me say I don't want an open system that can be easily abused. I want a system that is locked down but fair, which the current system is not.

If I'm playing Tomb Raider then that game should be locked out, no-one else can play that game while I'm playing it. However all my other games should be playable.

Valve have already locked the system down so that only 5 other people can access the library. So we're not talking about uncontrolled sharing to the masses. In addition, Valve's brianchild requirement to log onto target machine seriously reduces the chance of strangers sharing to get free games (it does happen, but its a very small number and those are likely to have their accounts abused). This helps stop people trying to rent out their games. Also you are limited on how many changes you can make to the people/machines authorised. The protection is already there to stop almost all avenues of abuse even with per game sharing enabled.

If valve made it so the owner can play and at the sametime 1 or 2 other authorised can play other games from that account I would be happy and more over my children would be happy.

SideDraft: The system does not model real world interactions, its almost the complete opposite.
Real World: I lend you one game, the rest I can play.
ValveLand: I lend you 1 game game and all other games are effectively locked out. It IS like I've given you ALL my games. Yes I can play my game, but it will disconnect you.

REal World: Lending to someone miles away is difficult. Delay in send and returning.
ValveLand: Lending to someone 1000's of miles away is Easy. Instant return and lend.

Here it is better to lend with someone 1/2 way across the world rather than my own children because we will never conflict when playing. That is FREE games for them and me, no waiting for someone to finish playing and no chance of being booted off. But Sharing with Family in the same house only one person can access my games at a time.

This is the problem. Families, That is mum, dad and children all living under one roof, requested and fought for this system. We're the ones that the initial press release said asked for a sharing system. But it is families that get the least out of it.

Friends sharing, even if in the same time zone, get 10's if not 100's of free games. While families get nothing.
 

Aizawa

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you genius. If its your family just log into every computer in offline mode and everyone can play at the same time, only single player of course. Wow. Family Sharing just came out of beta, and people already start bitching. They could also never do something like family sharing and it would be "okay" as it was always.
Oh and btw I didnt read your text, waay too long.

and btw: real world: I lend you a game. If I want to play it I have to wait until you finished it and brought it back to me. And also I can only lend games to people who are really close to me.

And steam is digital, real world is not. There is a huge difference. Why people are so stubborn. You think so one-sided. If you were a developer you would think different. (An indie developer)
 

MainframeMouse

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I was in the second wave of beta testers and commenting on this since SFS first went into beta. In the deep history of the suggestions forums there are pleanty of requests for a SFS like feature some with my name on them.

This is not a sunden "ooh its out of beta lets moan", its a long term fight to get valve to adhere to the laws regarding license ownership and to conform with almost every other digital media and content delivery system. iTunes and ultraviolet both allow users to share their digital purchases with family in a way that more than one person can access the content at onve.

Before SFS was anounced, I used to put my account in offline mode and let my kids play that way. However that is a work around and against the SSA and T&C, SFS should have allowed families to share games in a safe and secure way. But it doesn't, amd hence the fight continues.

By the way, I have 15 years IT experience. 8 of those in software development I know first hand the ins and outs of licensing and the needs to protect the interests of developers. However there are consumer rights regarding software licenses and right now SFS conflicts with those rights.
 

MainframeMouse

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Is that "OKAY" as in "okay, I can see where you're comming from"

Or

OKAY as in I'll say "OKAY" and hope the mad rambling man moves on.
 

MainframeMouse

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Unfortunately it is not an issue that can be summarised in a few sentances. It requires a number of analogies and scenarios to explain that the system is unfair to those thst purports to be targeted for.
 

Aizawa

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Is that "OKAY" as in "okay, I can see where you're comming from"

Or

OKAY as in I'll say "OKAY" and hope the mad rambling man moves on.

the first okay :)

actually when I think about it, it could work. Because right now the only way to activate family sharing for someone is to log in in that person´s computer, so people couldnt do that over the internet to random people because they could do shit with their account.
But I dont think they will do something like that without some kind of restriction. They said they are working on it in the family sharing FAQ I think, so maybe they just try to find the best way of doing it.

Right now I have 2 friends who use my library via family sharing, and they dont buy games anymore, because most games I do buy anyway, so they can play them too.
 

MainframeMouse

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They said they are working on it in the family sharing FAQ I think, so maybe they just try to find the best way of doing it.
Have you got a link to that? We've been asking for this for over 6 months and valve have been stubbornly silent on the issue. There has been, as far as I know, no official response to any question regarding changing the library lock.

And thanks for reading

Right now I have 2 friends who use my library via family sharing, and they dont buy games anymore, because most games I do buy anyway, so they can play them too.
Are they games they definitely would have brought? One of the safe guards, I think is, needed for SFS is new releases should be unshareable for the first month after purchase.
 

Aizawa

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Have you got a link to that? We've been asking for this for over 6 months and valve have been stubbornly silent on the issue. There has been, as far as I know, no official response to any question regarding changing the library lock.
I thought they said something like that on the FAQ page, I cant find it anymore :S Maybe it was something related to trading cards or something else and I just remember wrong, sorry.
Are they games they definitely would have brought? One of the safe guards, I think is, needed for SFS is new releases should be unshareable for the first month after purchase.
I mean its just 2 of my friends, hard to say if you could apply that to everyone. Sometimes its games they would have bought, but later for a lower price, sometimes its games they would never play without family sharing (latest example: Thief). Oh but one friend bought Skyrim after playing 100 hours from my library, it was the only game he had so he couldnt play anyhting else when I played something, so he bought it xD
For the 3 of us the system works very good. There hasnt been much conflict until now, but with more people probably it will be hard to play something as you said. One friend actually bought Banished, so I have something to play too :D
The nice thing is that I can use his library while he uses my library :D

What you can do too is log in with the same account multiple times I think, because of the new inhome streaming thing. Maybe that makes it more comfortable if you are in one house and have to go offline mode and online mode and stuff on multiple PCs.
 

MainframeMouse

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I'm beta testing the in home streaming too. While 2 machines can be logged in at the same time omly one game can be active, start a new game on other machine and the first game shuts down.
 

MainframeMouse

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Here is where the balancing act comes in. Valve want to motivate people into buying games, but it also has to be fair.

While a friend might buy their own copy of a shared single player game, a family is not going to buy a second copy of a game unless its a multiplayer.
 

Zuul

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I can't believe anyone asked about HL3....
 

Zuul

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how can that be? I would think that was the one question ...conspiracy theory
 

Aizawa

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people want ricochet 2 more than hl3
 

Pikminiman

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Well, since it's been three full days since Gabe left the thread hanging, I'm going to assume it's actually over at this point. As such, I've updated the article with a nicely-formatted PDF containing all of the questions and answers that Gabe fielded.
 

Adul

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Well, just because we didn't see any response for some time does not mean it's over. ESPECIALLY since it's Gabe Newell and VALVEtime.
 
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