Eurogamer: And put 800 hours into Dota 2.
Gabe Newell: Yeah. I get to play Dota 2 before the public does. And I get to complain about specific features I want changed.
Eurogamer: Are you that guy on the internet?
Gabe Newell: Yeah, I'm that guy on the internet, and the team ignores me as well, god dammit.
Eurogamer: Do you get sick and tired of being asked about Half-Life 3?
Gabe Newell: I understand why people ask about it. I'm not sick and tired of it. But I don't have anything to say.
Eurogamer: When Valve announces a new game, one of the first things we see is a comment like, that's great, but what about Half-Life 3? Does that have an impact on the company? Does it grind you down?
Gabe Newell: No. We know our customers really well. We talk to them all the time. They show up outside our office with cardboard signs. We like being part of the gaming community and we understand what they're telling us. We think they understand where we're coming from. They get mad at us, and they let us know. Other times they're really happy with us and they let us know that as well. Gamers are passionate and they're smart and they're effective communicators. And they have our email addresses. So we know what they think. It's good. It helps us be a better company.
Eurogamer: Better people care than they don't care at all.
Gabe Newell: Absolutely. I would not trade the enthusiasm and straightforwardness of our fans for a quieter inbox.
Eurogamer: Did the episodic experiment work? Was it successful?
Gabe Newell: We are forced even further down that road. It's more and more about how we can design something so we can very steadily give our customers value every single day. The episodic model was a milestone along a pathway.
Team Fortress 2 is probably the furthest down that road, and it's the model we think is the best, which is, build products that make it possible for us to ship updates as fast and as regularly as possible, and also make room for our customers to participate in the creation of those entertainment experiences. The community contribution site on TF2 has been a huge success. I'd say right now the community is generating 10 times as much content as the TF2 team is, and it's great stuff. Now, when a gamer does that they get money in their PayPal account. It's a great way for the community to be telling the contributing members who's doing the best job in a really clear way.
It's one thing to go and do like Robin [Walker] and John [Cook] did in the original Quake TF days, where you read the forums and hope you understand whether or not you're doing the right thing. It's really different when you're a 14 year-old kid in Kansas and you build something and $8000 shows up in your PayPal account. You're like, oh, really? OK. This is a good idea. I'm doing something valuable, right? It's not hypothetical. I'm not guessing. If I do the next thing and I make $200 they're sending me a pretty clear message. If I do the right stuff and I get $50,000 like some people are getting, then I know I'm on the right track to building useful stuff that's being valued by the rest of the community.
Eurogamer: What's your assessment of Portal 2?
Gabe Newell: We didn't blow anybody up on the team, which is important. Nobody got divorced. A bunch of people took on more responsibility. I was super happy. I wish there could have been more music in the game, but that's a pretty trivial complaint. That's a, yes it's a great game, but... But I was super happy with how the game turned out, and everything about it. It was a great project. I'm really proud of everybody who worked on it. I'm glad for the company. It was a good project.
Eurogamer: What can we expect from Portal 2 in terms of downloadable content?
Gabe Newell: The first thing we're going to do is give them more of the same. That'll be out in September, free on all platforms.
Eurogamer: That's not something we're used to with Xbox.
Gabe Newell: They have complicated rules about how that works, unfortunately. You can do it sometimes and you can't do it others. In this case, we can.
Eurogamer: And further down the road?
Gabe Newell: With all our products we continue to release more. I don't think Portal 2 will be any different in that regard.