Valve Corporation

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Valve Corporation

legal form Corporation
founding 1996
Seat Bellevue , Washington , United States
United StatesUnited States 
management Gabe Newell ( President and CEO )
Scott Lynch ( COO )
Number of employees 360
Branch Software development and hardware development
As of October 18, 2016

Valve office lobby area (2016)

The Valve Corporation [ vælv ] ( English "valve") is an American software company based in Bellevue in the US state of Washington . Valve was founded in 1996 by Gabe Newell and Mike Harrington, formerly two senior Microsoft employees .

The company initially exclusively developed computer and console games and established itself in the computer games market in 1998 with Half-Life . However, with the release of the Internet distribution platform Steam in 2003, Valve expanded into a digital publisher for games and software over the next decade . In 2013 Valve released SteamOS, a free operating system based on the Linux distribution Debian . SteamOS was installed from the factory on the Steam Machines - a series of complete systems that were developed with various cooperation partners - from 2015 . As with the Steam Machines, Valve cooperates with other companies on its own hardware projects . The Vive virtual reality glasses were developed and marketed with HTC .

Company history

Foundation and organization

Valve was founded by longtime Microsoft employees Gabe Newell and Mike Harrington on August 24, 1996. The company was initially located in Kirkland and in April 2003 moved to the nearby town of Bellevue . In 2010 the company moved again to larger offices, still in Bellevue, in order to enable the steady growth in the number of employees.

The organization of the company is considered to be " radically flat "; H. apart from Gabe Newell, who acts as CEO, there are no formal hierarchies and all decisions are made by consensus by self-formed teams (which form anew as required); a handbook that interprets this form of organization for new employees has found widespread use on the Internet and has been discussed several times in literature and science as a prime example of such organizations. The later Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis worked temporarily for Valve and describes the form of organization in his works.


After Valve secured the rights to the Quake game engine through Michael Abrash, a friend and colleague at id Software , work on Half-Life began in late 1996 . After the game was initially due to hit the market in late 1997, it was finally released on November 19, 1998 and was financially successful. The game was able to give new impetus to the genre of the first person shooter and was later expanded by the community to include numerous mods , such as Counter-Strike , Team Fortress Classic or Day of Defeat . Valve took over many developers and modifications at this time and continued them as commercially-distributed products. The Counter-Strike series in particular is still one of the most popular online tactical shooters and was recently expanded to include Counter-Strike: Global Offensive .

Distribution platform Steam

Valve published together with Counter-Strike 1.6 the sales platform Steam , which allows games from Valve, other publishers and independent game developers to be bought over the Internet. The platform also offers free games such as Team Fortress 2 , game trailers, demos and general software applications. With its Steam platform, Valve is considered a pioneer in the distribution of games over the Internet. The use of Steam is free, although users without credit or purchased products are subject to certain limitations.

Game engine source

After Half-Life and numerous modifications of the game were successful, Valve released Half-Life 2 and Counter-Strike: Source, the Source Engine , in 2004 , which was to serve as the basis for all Valve titles for over a decade. A total of six game series of the company were developed with the engine: Half-Life , Team Fortress , Portal , Counter-Strike , Left 4 Dead and Day of Defeat . The source engine has been continuously developed over the years and equipped with new features.

On March 3, 2015, Valve announced the successor Source 2 , which is a larger iteration of the Source engine and was initially released as an update for Dota 2 in September 2015 .

Steam Machines

Valve announced at the end of 2012 that it was currently working on its own video game console or a compact mini PC, which should compete with the current and upcoming generation of consoles. Other manufacturers should also be encouraged to produce such devices. Valve has entered into a cooperation with the PC manufacturer Xi3 to support them in the production of such a device, the Xi3 Piston , but these are not Valves Steam Machines . Linux will be used as the operating system in Valve's Steam Machines . The Steam Machine was first shown at the Consumer Electronics Show 2013 . The Steam Machine should also be available in several versions at different prices.

HTC Vive

On March 1, 2015, HTC introduced the HTC Vive, a head-mounted display for displaying virtual reality . The Vive is a co-production between Valve and HTC. Valve released The Lab , a collection of experimental games from Valve, on April 5, 2016 for SteamVR and the HTC Vive headset.

Valve Index

On April 30, 2019, Valve announced a specially developed head-mounted display for use with SteamVR. Compared to the HTC Vive, the resolution, frame rate, audio output and visual display have been improved. Furthermore, the so-called index controllers are published together with the head-mounted display , which make it possible to record the movement of individual fingers. The hardware was released on June 28, 2019.

Overview of the projects

Valve licenses the Source Engine to various development studios, which can use this as a basis to develop their own computer games. This also applies to the previously used GoldSrc engine . In 2015 Valve announced the successor Source 2, the engine will be available for free. The online sales platform Steam is also developed and operated by Valve. Steam has been the standard sales platform for all of the company's projects since 2004.

Computer games

Game name Initial release genre platform
Windows Mac Linux / SteamOS Xbox PS2 Xbox 360 PS3 Xbox One PS4 Android IOS
Half-life 1998 Ego shooter Yes Yes Yes Yes
Half-Life: Opposing Force 1999 Ego shooter Yes Yes Yes
Team Fortress Classic 1999 Ego shooter Yes Yes Yes
Ricochet 2000 Ego shooter Yes Yes Yes
Counter-Strike 2000 Ego shooter Yes Yes Yes
Half-Life: Blue Shift 2001 Ego shooter Yes Yes Yes
Deathmatch Classic 2001 Ego shooter Yes Yes Yes
Day of Defeat 2003 Ego shooter Yes Yes Yes
Counter-Strike: Source 2004 Ego shooter Yes Yes Yes
Half-Life 2 2004 Ego shooter Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Half-Life 2: Deathmatch 2004 Ego shooter Yes Yes Yes
Half-Life: Source 2004 Ego shooter Yes Yes Yes
Day of Defeat: Source 2005 Ego shooter Yes Yes Yes
Half-Life 2: Lost Coast 2005 Ego shooter Yes Yes Yes
Half-Life Deathmatch: Source 2006 Ego shooter Yes Yes
Half-Life 2: Episode One 2006 Ego shooter Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Half-Life 2: Episode Two 2007 Ego shooter Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
portal 2007 Adventure / puzzle game Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Team Fortress 2 2007 Ego shooter Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Left 4 Dead 2008 Ego shooter Yes Yes Yes
Left 4 Dead 2 2009 Ego shooter Yes Yes Yes Yes
Alien Swarm 2010 Third person shooter Yes
Portal 2 2011 Adventure / puzzle game Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive 2012 Ego shooter Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Dota 2 2013 MOBA Yes Yes Yes
Artifact 2018 Online trading card game Yes Yes Yes
Dota Underlords 2019 ( Open Beta ) Auto-Chess variant Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Half-Life: Alyx 2020 VR first person shooter Yes Yes


Software name Initial release Brief description
GoldSrc (Goldsource) 1998 Game engine for half-life
Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) 2002 Software for the detection of cheaters in online games
Steam 2003 Internet distribution platform for computer games and software
Source Engine 2004 Game engine for Half-Life 2
Source SDK 2004 Software development kit for developing mods and other content based on the source engine
Source Filmmaker (SFM) 2012 Software for creating animations with Valve's Source Engine
VOGL 2014 Debugger for the OpenGL programming interface
Source 2 2015 Larger iteration of the Source Engine , which in 2015 as part of an update for Dota 2 was released


Hardware name Initial release Brief description
Steam Link November 2015 Network device that accepts a stream (eg. As computer games) content from PCs to TVs in the local network allows
Steam controller November 2015 Specially developed gamepad
Steam Machines November 2015 A console developed by Alienware in cooperation with Valve.
HTC Vive April 2016 Head-mounted display , which is developed by HTC in cooperation with Valve.
Valve Index June 2019 Independently developed head-mounted display
Valve Index Controller June 2019 Independently developed VR controller for movement and finger control
Valve Index Base Stations June 2019 System for precise location of sensors within a limited space; Further development of the Lighthouse technology used for the HTC Vive

Other projects

In March 2014 Valve released the documentary Free to Play for free on its own distribution platform Steam, which accompanies three professional Dota 2 players on their way to the The International tournament . Valve has also released various sequences of the lives of various Counter-Strike: Global Offensive professional players.


Litigation with Vivendi

Before the release of Half-Life 2 in 2004, there was a legal dispute between Valve and its distribution partner Vivendi as to whether Half-Life 2 should be sold on Steam. Valve was able to win the legal dispute because a contract was signed with Vivendi in 2001, which states that Valve has the sole distribution rights over the Internet. Vivendi also had to pay a fine for making Valve products available through internet cafes. Vivendi Universal terminated the contract with Valve on August 31, 2005. Electronic Arts (EA) has been the distribution partner for retail versions of Valve games since September 1, 2005 .

Litigation with Activision Blizzard

In April 2009, Valve initiated a lawsuit with Activision Blizzard after they also took over Sierra Entertainment through the acquisition of parent company Vivendi . According to Valves, Activision broke the court order in the previous legal dispute between Valve & Vivendi because Activision paid only $ 1,967,796 of the previously committed $ 2,391,932 and refused to pay the remaining $ 424,136, stating that the sum was already through excessive payments were covered in the past.

Litigation with Blizzard Entertainment

Shortly after Valve registered the Dota brand to secure the rights to Dota 2 , DotA-Allstars , behind which contributors to the original Warcraft 3 modification Defense of the Ancients (often called DotA ) stood, launched a trademark litigation in August 2010. DotA All-Stars was then sold in 2011 to Blizzard Entertainment , the development studio of the Warcraft series. In November 2011, the DOTA brand was initially successfully attributed to Valve, whereupon Blizzard initiated another trademark litigation. It was based on the usage license of the editor, with which the game modification Defense of the Ancients was initially developed, and the complete ownership of the DotA-Allstars company , which had previously been taken over. On May 11, 2012, Blizzard and Valve announced that the lawsuit had been resolved. Valve retained the rights to use the term Dota commercially, while Blizzard was permitted to use the term for non-commercial purposes. Blizzard then changed the name of their StarCraft 2 - Map Blizzard DOTA to "Blizzard All-Stars" . Blizzard All-Stars was then converted into its own game, which is now known as Heroes of the Storm .

Web links

Commons : Valve Corporation  - Collection of Images

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Andy Chalk: Valve denies wrongdoing in skin gambling legal rumblings: "no factual or legal support for these accusations". In: PC Gamer. October 18, 2016, accessed February 26, 2018 .
  6. BBC: Valve: How going boss-free empowered the games-maker , September 23, 2013, accessed on April 24, 2019.
  7. Handbook for New Employees , published by Valve Corporation, March 2012 (PDF)
  8. Michael Y. Lee and Amy C. Edmondson: Self-managing organizations: Exploring the limits of less-hierarchical organizing Research in Organizational Behavior January 2017, available at researchgate
  9. Yanis Varoufakis: "The whole story. My examination of Europe's establishment" , Antje Kunstmann Verlag, Munich 2017, p. 81
  10. Yanis Varoufakis : Why Valve? Or, what do we need corporations for and how does Valve's management structure fit into today's corporate world? . Valve Economics. August 3, 2012. Archived from the original on August 7, 2012. Retrieved on August 12, 2012.
  11. Alex Hern: Valve Software: free marketeer's dream, or nightmare? . New Statesman. August 3, 2012. Archived from the original on August 5, 2012.
  15. System requirements and VR headsets for Half-Life Alyx
  16. Dota 2: Reborn Update published: RIP Source 1. In: Retrieved January 4, 2016 .
  17. ^ Christian Klaß: VU Games and Valve end cooperation , , April 29, 2005
  18. It's Ugly: Valve Sue's Activision, Activision Threatens to Sue Valve . April 30, 2009. Archived from the original on May 2, 2009. Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Retrieved May 1, 2009: "Against that backdrop, Activision cut Valve a check last week for $ 1,967,796 — the amount handed down by the arbitrator less the disputed $ 424K. According to Valve's suit, Activision said that it wouldn't pay the rest and if Valve went to court Activision would countersue. Valve has apparently called Activision's bluff and the parties are now once again at odds. " @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  19. ^ Valve Corporation v. Activision Blizzard, Inc. . United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit. July 30, 2010.