Gabe Newell, co-founder of Bellevue’s Valve Software, is receiving the Pioneer Award for breakthroughs in the game industry. It will be presented at the Game Developers Conference in March.
The award “celebrates those individuals responsible for developing a vital technology or game design at a crucial juncture in video game history, paving the way for the many who followed them,” according to a release from GDC organizers Think Services Game Group.
Newell was chosen by a committee of industry leaders including PopCap’s John Vechey. Newell left Microsoft in 1996 to co-found Valve, which has created a series of hit games and the standout PC game service, Steam. Half-Life, its first game, has sold more than 8 million copies.
Steam, the release noted, “has evolved from a method of seamlessly delivering game patches to a full community-based digital download ecosystem which regularly has more than 2 million concurrent users. Thus, it has become a key way for many smaller and larger PC game developers to gain fans and make money without requiring a physical retail publisher.”