With Half-Life: Alyx officially launching today, Valve‘s head and industry legend Gabe Newell has been speaking out more. In an interview with Edge Magazine, he revealed more about Valve’s work on the new Half-Life title, Steam as a platform, a potential revival of Artifact, but more hilariously, that he was once a World of Warcraft gold farmer.
Of course, with his assets, it was not the money he was after. In fact, gold farming was a form of research for Newell. It eventually led into the creation of the Steam Workshop, and everyone can thank WoW for that.
“We were always used to thinking about games as entertainment experiences, but then we started thinking of them as productivity platforms,” Newell stated. “As a sort of proof-of-concept, I decided to be a World of Warcraft gold farmer for a while. I was making $20 an hour farming gold. I was making what was a spectacular wage for most people in most parts of the world”
That’s when we started focusing heavily on things like the Steam Workshop and trying to think of everybody as a content creator. There’s this story of the parents that called us up because they thought we were selling their kids drugs.
What happened was PayPal pinged the parents and said ‘Your kid is exceeding our limits of how much money they can put into PayPal per month. They’re probably selling stolen goods or drugs because there’s no other explanation’.
That particular sojourn into gold farming revealed to the Steam team that it was helpful to view “games as platforms” and it basically guided all of Valve’s decisions about “multiplayer games subsequently.”
All hail Gabe Newell, for being just like the rest of us, and also not.