In a New York Times piece published today, it was revealed that Electronic Arts has been trying for quite some time to acquire the industry’s biggest privately-held company. Valve, operator of Steam and dominion of one Gabe Newell, was apparently offered “well over $1 billion” multiple times, but has continued to turn down EA’s offers. We can assume that this failure to acquire the famed Half-Life publisher is what eventually led to the creation of the Origin digital distribution platform.
However, it is apparent that Newell never even seriously considered the offers. Said transactions never “reached negotiation,” and the wealthiest individual in gaming was quoted as saying it was more likely that the company would just choose to disintegrate rather than “find some giant company that wants to cash us out and wait two or three years to have our employment agreements terminate.”
If you are crazy enough to endure the madness of the BT Podcast every week, then you know that Steam is my go-to platform whenever possible, so you would think I would be incensed over the idea of a monolithic corporation trying to take it over. It’s a fair assumption, but honestly, this isn’t surprising. Companies exist to make money, and no one has found a bigger wellspring of capital in recent years than Valve. Origin may be too little, too late, but at least EA was quick to recognize that PC gaming wasn’t dead and that digital distribution was starting to play a pivotal role.
Although, I think we can all agree that the world is a better place with Valve as its own independent creative factory–even if nobody there can count to 3.