Posted by: seanmalstrom | August 16, 2012

Email: Valve, taking credit for things they didn’t do

Check this out:

Relevant quote:

“Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Counter-Strike and Team Fortress) “
Huh. I thought Counter-Strike and Team Fortress were created by independent modders, who were then hired by Valve, who then claimed the copyright for what they created. It would be one thing if they said something like “Valve, the company responsible for turning independent mods into best-selling game franchises,” because that would be true. But no, they have to claim they CREATED those mods in order to burnish their image as a fertile, creative game developer rather than a distributor that buys independently created IP (and it is really smart of them to harvest their talent from modders, since they haven’t created valuable companies). The funny thing is bringing this up to Valve-loving gamers causes choruses of rage, despite the fact that EA is simultaneously loathed for building its company by buying talent (and as much as I hate what EA did to many of the companies it bought, it had to pay good money for them, unlike Valve). I think there’s such reverence for Half-Life that PC gamers just aren’t able to emotionally accept that Valve is turning into the EA of modern PC gaming, except worse. In the bad old days when EA ruined everything, you had to build a valuable company, and then EA would buy you out. Now you make a popular mod, and Valve hires you on as a mere employee, and 90% of the people who collaborated on the mod get $0.00. Yay.
And they’re worshipped for it!It’s more of standard Valve Corporation marketing.The Valve Corporation certainly does have an abnormal amount of cheerleading on the Gaming Message Forums… even for the usual Game Industry company. I suspect part of their public relations operations is to target these boards.

More specifically, I’m referring to ‘Gabe Newell does/say X’ as news. First of all, why is Gabe Newell anyone worthy of news time? Unless he has a Steam sale to announce, why does he get any press time? It’s not like his company is going to make games (without hiring modders to do it for them).

Even as a salesman, his technique is just bad. The reason why I say he reminds me of a mattress salesman is because of this image:

This reminds me of Mattress Hilton. Conan O’Brien made him famous. For some reason, the station manager of Houston hated Conan and delayed his show until 2AM (where mattress commercials would be his sponsors). The Houston delay really bothered Conan because he kept devoting so much showtime to it. I remember when he took his cameras to the university there at 2 AM and thought, “Maybe they are all watching my show!” hahaha.

Watch this Conan clip and how he ‘helps’ the the mattress guy. Tell me what you think.

If Gabe Newell is going to use himself to publicize his company, he could do it in a way that is superior to a mattress salesman.

Anyway, speaking of the Valve Corporation, look at the ‘Truth Behind Icefrog” blog. This was written by someone who worked at the Valve Corporation.

“But Malstrom, the Valve Corporation said this was fake.” Nope. What happened is that Greg Brousseran (sp?) of 3d Realms said in a twitter that someone from Valve told him it was fake. “Then it must be fake, Malstrom.” Yes, it is because twitter statements from another game company hearing about what another game company said obviously is all the scrutiny we need. Where is the game journalism? No one investigated this. Enough information was put out on the blog to confirm or deny. Yet, it was never done.

What I find interesting about the blog is that if it is a fake, it is a very well done fake. The blog writer perfectly hits the notes from what I’ve seen from annoyed game developers.

He writes:

This blog is not about putting DOTA 2 down, nor is it about putting down the hard work of the development team. This blog is about letting people understand the truth behind the people at the helm of the project, and how they are trying to steer Valve away from its roots as a gamer-first company.

Now, isn’t the bold a strange statement to make? Notice he protects the game and the development team, his beef seems to be with the top management. He even addresses Gabe at one point.

I’ve lately been talking about how the Valve Corporation is more like Amazon than a company that makes video games. Seeing the bold really stood out to me.

As far as I understand, he has been complained about a lot, but management refuses to do anything to him because they see too much gold in DOTA.

Let’s assume, for a moment, this blogger is real. If you were at a game company (or any type of company) and everyone was complaining about a person but the management refuses to do anything they think they will get money, what type of action can you do? All that frustration would bottle up and likely result in an action like making a blog about that frustration. This is why I say, if fake, it is a very well done fake. Strangely, the blog’s content makes more sense today than it did a couple years ago (such as the part about Valve Corporation leaving behind its roots as a company that makes games). The people at the Valve Corporation went there to make games. They would be quite upset if the company is going in a different direction.

I am a Valve employee, but before that, I am a gamer. I was drawn to working for this company for the same reasons everyone is drawn to its games. I simply have the privilege of getting the full picture, and feel it is my duty to share it.


Whatever he is being paid, it is ridiculous, because the game is literally identical to DOTA. Everything from voices to art is being transferred over, because he demanded it. This game could have been made without his involvement at all.

Emphasis is his.

I mock game developers in their ‘vision quest’ for creativity, but this is more about them trying to turn the game into something it isn’t (like Pac-Man being about the feelings of Pac-Man and having dialogues with ghosts). The exact opposite also applies: the game developers being nothing more than mules and just porting stuff over with zero creative output. That just sucks.

Let’s see what changed from DOTA 1 to DOTA 2

Nothing has changed. The AI bots can already be done in some DOTA Warcraft 3 maps. There is absolutely nothing new in DOTA 2. Nothing. Not even a new map. What the hell?

Why does the Valve Corporation need Icefrog in order to make DOTA 2 since everything is being ported over? It certainly isn’t for celebrity reasons since they aren’t saying anything publicly about the guy.

I don’t see the point of why anyone would play DOTA 2. You can play the same exact game with DOTA 1 (and get Warcraft 3 which is a fun game). DOTA 1 won’t have any of the hats and other bullshit the Valve Corporation will try to sell you. And DOTA is very old. It needs to shake itself up, not do a port from the Warcraft 3 map.

If what the blogger said was true and Riot Games didn’t hire him, my respect for Riot went up. I used to be a closed Real Time Strategy games beta tester and some of those testers went and founded Riot Games (not sure if they are still there now or what).

And here is one last thought to conclude this blog post: why doesn’t the Valve Corporation showcase someone at the company other than Gabe Newell? If this company is all about the game developers, then why not shine the spotlight on them for a change?



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