Great tech innovators: Gabe Newell

Gabe Newell - influential
Gabe Newell - influential
  • Age: 52
  • Company: Valve
  • Best known for: PC gaming, Half Life, Steam, Steam Machine
  • Quote: "I'm not sure we're all going to put down our game controllers and pick up touch screens - which is a reasonable view, I'm just not sure I buy into it."

In terms of gaming on the PC, Gabe Newell can lay claim to being one of the most influential figures of the 21st century, but his influence in tech is creeping beyond the traditional Windows platforms into consoles and other hardware.

A 52-year-old former Microsoft man, newell made his first fortune in Redmond, but made himself a billionaire by taking the risk of leaving the software giant to set up Valve with Mike Harrington and work on Half-Life, one of the greatest games of all time.

Newell and Valve's ambition extended beyond just making great games however, and the launch of Half Life 2 on the company's proprietary Source engine, allowed Valve to push through a PC game digital distribution and delivery system called Steam, which quickly became ubiquitous and then a store front for the PC as Microsoft turned their attention to Xbox.

Now, Valve is using Steam at the heart of its plan for the next era of gaming with Steam Machines and, yet, it is Newell's first party games that will perhaps define success or failure of that platform and also others (like VR).

And yes - we are talking about Half Life 3.

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Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.