Four successive thoughts bunny-hopped one over the other in my head as I watched Gabe Newell accept his Bafta for Wisest Beard, or whatever.
The first: Oh, he’s nervous. I’ve never seen Gabe Newell nervous before. Now I’m nervous.
The second: Huh, that’s weird. Gabe Newell gets nervous, just like human beings do.
The third: Oh God, Valve was founded by a human being, with a childhood and everything. My achievements are but specks of dust on the mantelpiece of the Milky Way.
The fourth: Of course Valve was founded by a human being. They’re Planet Earth’s one and only human corp., aren’t they?
So imagine that Gabe Newell has just heard that he is to receive an Academy Fellowship for his services to the games industry. And rather than picking up the phone to hire his suit, the first thing he does is consult the room.
What fascinates me about Valve is that they are a metrics-driven studio – almost slavishly so. But unlike every other corporation of their size, they use those metrics to track customer happiness and chase that, knowing that profit will follow in time.
In short: Valve are ace. Let’s celebrate them for a bit. What’s your favourite thing Valve have done?
In other Bafta news: Dishonored won Best Game, don’tchaknow.