In an extended interview with New Zealand’s television network 1 News, Valve co-owner Gabe Newell spoke about his relocation to the country and a foreseeable future where the staple Dota 2 tournament The International along with CS:GO Majors could be hosted there.
“It’s a realistic possibility and it gets more realistic all the time,” Newell said to 1 News when talking about hosting The International and the CS:GO events in New Zealand. “As long as Covid keeps mutating, it certainly is increasing the likelihood that we’ll be having events here,” he added while saying that if he would have to guess when it will be safe to host an in-person tournament anywhere else in the world, he wouldn’t be able to do so.
Gabe Newell came with his family and a group of friends to New Zealand on a holiday at the beginning of 2020, but as the Covid pandemic spread all over the world, he decided to extend his stay. In the meantime, he’s been granted New Zealand residency and he is now working on getting citizenship status. As the year passed by since his arrival in NZ, many of his Valve employees expressed a “strong interest” in joining him, he said. While stating that there are ongoing conversations about moving the Valve offices from Seattle, Washington, to New Zealand, Newell explained that he doesn’t want to jump the gun and take a rushed decision.
“There’s a lot of interest at a grass roots level inside of the company to have some people move,” Gabe Newell said, but at the same time, “you don’t want to uproot a bunch of families, have them come here, and then the situation gets a bunch better and then they have to turn around and go back. So, that’s why getting a better handle on how long the epidemic is going to be affecting our operational decisions is important to that.”
Newell described New Zealand as a perfect place for game development companies. “The infrastructure is what you need. There’s a lot of local development talent as well. There’s absolutely no reason why game development companies couldn’t be located here,” he said while emphasizing on New Zealand’s care for public health.
“You’ve never really had to worry about that before when setting up a software company, but it’s about to become a critically valuable thing. It’s as if there’s a new element that’s been discovered called ‘not-stupidium’, and New Zealand is one of the world’s producers of it, it’s actually something that’s been built by the people of New Zealand. It’s absolutely, insanely valuable – like, any high-tech company would say our people are going to be a lot more productive in New Zealand than they are going to be in Ireland or Los Angeles or lots of other places,” Newell added.
headline picture: Valve Corporation