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Gabe Newell wins GDC Pioneer Award

For work on Steam and influential games.

The organisers of the Game Developers Conference have announced that Valve co-founder Gabe Newell is to receive the event's Pioneer Award this March.

Newell is being recognised for his work on Steam, Valve's digital distribution platform, and "helping to make possible some of the most important videogames of the past two decades", including Half-Life, Portal and Team Fortress 2.

The GDC Awards Advisory Committee, which selected Newell for the award, consists of noted developers including DICE's Ben Cousins, Ubisoft's Clint Hocking, Metaplace's Raph Koster, BioWare's Ray Muzyka and Arkane's Harvey Smith.

Newell established Valve in 1996 after a profitable stint at Microsoft. He has previously attributed the studio's ongoing success to a number of factors, including staff continuity.

"I've been working with everybody here for a long time, and we get better," he told Eurogamer in 2007.

"It's one of those things that when you ship a product you learn a bunch of stuff about how to do that better, and it would be a tragedy to lose that. So that's another thing that contributes to our ability to do this is just the longevity of our shared experience. People change roles a lot inside of the company."

Valve's last game was Left 4 Dead 2, and along with its ongoing support for the zombie shooter series and Team Fortress 2, the studio is known to be working on a sequel to Portal and the third and final instalment in its series of Half-Life 2 episodes.