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Imagecat For other uses, see Newell (disambiguation).

Gabe Logan Newell[2] (born November 3, 1962) is the co-founder and current managing director of the independent game development company Valve Software.

Newell was educated at Davis Senior High School and attended Harvard University in the early 1980s before dropping out to join Microsoft, where he helped create the first iterations of the Microsoft Windows operating system. Together with Mike Harrington, he left Microsoft in 1996 to found Valve. He has a net worth of approximately US $5 billion. He is married to Lisa Newell and has two sons.[3]


Early life

Newell attended Davis Senior High School in Davis, California.[4] Following that, he enrolled at Harvard University in 1980 but dropped out to work for Microsoft in 1983.[5]


After dropping out of Harvard University (1980 - 1983[6]), Newell spent thirteen years working for Microsoft Corporation, ultimately becoming a "Microsoft Millionaire." Newell has described himself as "producer on the first three releases of Windows."

Later on, inspired by Michael Abrash (who left Microsoft to work on the computer game Quake at id Software), Newell and another Microsoft employee, Mike Harrington, left Microsoft to found Valve in 1996. Harrington and Newell used their money to fund Valve through the development of Half-Life starting with twenty-eight people.[7]

During the production on Half-Life 2, he spent several months focusing on the development of Steam.[8]

Gabe newell

Newell in August 2007.

In 2007, Gabe openly expressed his displeasure over developing his software for gaming consoles, predominately the PlayStation 3. In regards to the system, Newell has once been quoted as claiming that the developing processes for the PlayStation 3 in general was "a waste of everybody's time" and "a disaster on many levels ... I'd say, even at this late date, they should just cancel it and do a do over. Just say, 'This was a horrible disaster and we're sorry and we're going to stop selling this and stop trying to convince people to develop for it'." He later went back on this statement, apologizing and announcing that the PS3 version of Portal 2 would be the best console version.[9]

Newell has also criticized the Xbox Live service, referring to it as "a train wreck."[10] He was also critical of Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system, calling it a "catastrophe" and "a threat" to the open nature of PC gaming.[11]

On Valve's official website, Gabe Newell's function is stated as the following: "Gabe held a number of positions in the Systems, Applications, and Advanced Technology divisions during his 13 years at Microsoft. His responsibilities included running program management for the first two releases of Windows, starting the company's multimedia division, and, most recently, leading the companies efforts on the Information Highway PC. His most significant contribution to Half-Life was his statement 'C'mon, people, you can't show the player a really big bomb and not let them blow it up.'"[12]


Gabe Newell GDC 2010 (cropped)

Newell at the 2010 Game Developers Conference receiving The Pioneer Award.

  • In December 2010, Forbes named Newell as "A Name You Should Know" mainly for his work on Steam having partnerships with multiple major developers.[13][14]
  • In 2013, Newell was added to the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame.[15]
  • In March 2013, Newell received the BAFTA Fellowship award for his contributions to the video game industry.[16]
  • In October 2017, Forbes listed him among the 100 richest people in the United States, with an estimated net worth of US $5.5 billion.[17]

Personal life

Gabe Newell - 2002

Newell in 2002.

Newell suffered from Fuchs' dystrophy, a congenital disease which affects the cornea, but was cured by two cornea transplants in 2006 and 2007.[18] In 2011, Newell stated that some of his favorite video games were are Super Mario 64, Doom, and Star Trek played on a Burroughs mainframe computer.[19] Doom convinced him that video games were the future of entertainment, and Super Mario 64 convinced him video games were art.[19]

He married Lisa Mennet (now Lisa Mennet Newell) on the same day he founded Valve with Harrington.[20] [21] [22] The couple has two sons, including Gray. The birth of Gray in the late 1990s served as inspiration for the final boss of Half-Life, as the couple considered childbirth to be the most frightening thing they could think of at the time.[23]

Within the gaming community he is jokingly known as Gaben which is derived from his work email address.[24] Newell stated that he has tried to grow into his public image: "They hug me when they run into me. I'm not a hugging person, but that's what they want. I was with my kids the first time that happened in public, and my kids were pretty cool with it. But I wasn't. 'Dad, roll with it.' Even now, I'm learning from our customers."[25]

In 2020, Newell resided in New Zealand with a group of friends during the COVID-19 pandemic, electing to stay in Auckland rather than returning to Seattle once airlines travel restrictions were eased.[26] As an expression of gratitude for the hospitality that New Zealand provided, Newell and others planned an event called "Thank You Aotearoa" that featured live performances from musical artists across New Zealand.[26] [27] That October, Newell applied for permanent residency in the country.[27]


  1. The Wavelength
  2. 2.0 2.1 Steam Community profile
  3. TUNED TO THE DUNES on Seattle Times
  4. https://kotaku.com/this-is-gabe-newell-in-his-freshman-year-of-high-school-5928006
  5. https://www.forbes.com/forbes/2005/1212/064.html?sh=2b3e89a4d11c
  6. MySpace profile
  7. Newell´s profile on Allgame
  8. The Final Hours of Half-Life 2 by Geoff Keighley
  9. E3 2010
  10. https://kotaku.com/valve-figured-microsoft-would-fix-the-xbox-live-train-5634305
  11. https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-18996377
  12. Company People on Valve's official website
  13. [http://kotaku.com/5689296/forbes-lists-gabe-newell-as-a-name-you-should-know Forbes list Gabe Newell a name should know]
  14. Forbes lists Gabe Newell as a 'name you need to know' in 2011 - PlayStation 3 News at GameSpot
  15. http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-11-15-gabe-newell-named-as-next-aias-hall-of-famer
  16. http://www.bafta.org/press/press-releases/valves-gabe-newell-to-be-honoured-with-bafta-fellowship
  17. http://www.pcgamer.com/gabe-newell-is-worth-55-billion-according-to-forbes/
  18. The Master of Online Mayhem
  19. 19.0 19.1 Gabe Newell: My 3 favourite games
  20. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G4_(American_TV_network)%7C(November 16, 2004). Icons: Half-Life. Event occurs at 2:20.
  21. https://spong.com/article/8051/Valve-wins-round-one-in-Half-Life-distribution-debacle
  22. https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/apps/valve/Valve_NewEmployeeHandbook.pdf
  23. https://www.kotaku.com.au/2018/02/half-lifes-final-boss-was-based-on-gabe-newells-son-being-born/
  24. https://web.archive.org/web/20110309071944/http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/108247-Gabe-Newell-Gives-Away-Personal-Steam-Password (archived)
  25. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2014/01/06/gabe-newell-on-valves-intimate-relationship-with-its-customers/
  26. 26.0 26.1 https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/billionaire-us-gaming-tycoon-gabe-newell-sets-up-event-thank-nz-having-him-during-covid-19
  27. 27.0 27.1 https://www.pcgamer.com/gabe-newell-has-been-a-covid-refugee-in-new-zealand-since-march/

External links