Gabe Newell on the future of game development

Games development will become ever more democratic as games companies increasingly provide the tools for communities to create their own content, says Gabe Newell.

The Valve co-founder and president told us that this is really only the beginning for user-created videogame content. “I’d point to Garry’s Mod or Minecraft as examples of how much even just a new player can contribute overall,” said Newell. “The balance is shifting, so indie games is another manifestation of that, but I think it even goes further – it becomes even more democratic the further into the future we look, right?”

Valve aims to facilitate the movement through Steam, says Newell. “We have people making over 500,000 dollars a year through the Steam Workshop, selling the fruits of their labour on a worldwide basis. And there are other game developers who make more money on the Steam Workshop than they do in their day jobs. These are the kinds of things we see that reinforces this notion that the process of game development is going to be further and further democratised, and we see that as a huge positive.”

The Valve figurehead believes that game companies need to release more tools into the community to truly realise democratised development’s huge potential. “When all of the different aspects of game development are available to a much wider audience you’ll see this continued process of creativity and production that we think is both inevitable and going to be great for everyone in the game community.”

Referring to Valve’s position at the top of our inaugural Edge Developer Awards listing, he added: “One thing that we think is happening is at some point you guys are going to have developer of the year and it’s going to be the gamers themselves.”

“We’re going to end up with a situation where companies are best at creating a framework in which gamers are creating the vast majority of the value; that notion of user-generated content is going to be critical for the next round of successful entertainment properties.”

You can read the full list of the world’s 50 greatest videogame developers here, and an in-depth Valve profile in Edge 250.