Gabe Newell Discusses Valve’s Budgeting Process, or Lack Thereof

Gabe Newell

Valve is one of the biggest video game developers of all time and arguably the biggest digital game distribution company in the world. With Gabe Newell (Gaben, The Gabe) at the helm, the company has thrived since its inception in 1996. Producing memorable franchises, such as Half-Life, Portaland Left 4 Dead, along with the almighty Steam, Valve surely rakes in a lot of cash. Of course, in order to make money, you need to spend some of it. Some people like to set up a budget. The Gabe? Not so much.

The scarce commodity here is not money — it’s how many hours there are in a day.”

Recently, Newell spoke with Gamasutra about Valve’s budgeting process… or the fact that they don’t have one. “At Valve, we don’t have a budgeting process. There’s not like some group of people who go off and say this is how much money we think we’re going to make on this title, so that’s how many people we’re going to assign to work on that project,” said Newell. “That’s an economy based on that budgetary process. Our economy is based on people’s time. That’s the scarce commodity.”

He then went on to dive a little deeper into the idea that time is worth more than money. Gabe speaks about how after Adrian Finol started, people began to gravitate towards his project because they found it to be interesting and felt that they could add something. This brings us to the fantastic point that people are working on things they deem significant at Valve. “Nobody’s working on yet another sequel. ‘Oh, it’s the fall, we have to come out with, you know, version 17.'”

While running a game company like this sounds outstanding, it’s not difficult to imagine that it can only work for a select few. Valve just happens to be lucky enough to be one of them. Gabe even mentions this and how it can prove arduous attempting to convince other companies that Valve is truly run this way:

I talk with other people at other companies and they just…” Newell said, raising his hands in the air wordlessly before continuing. “I’ll talk to another CEO and they’ll say, ‘you don’t have a budgeting process?’ And they’ll say, ‘you are lying. There’s no way a modern company could work like that. Either that or you’re incredibly unprofessional, and you guys will eventually implode.’ And we’re like, no, actually this system works.”

Will this way of running things continue to work for The Gabe and Valve? Only time will tell, but until then, we’ll continue wishing them the best! Did somebody say Half-Life 3? No? Okay, must have just been our imagination. Let us know how you feel about Valve not having a budgeting process in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you! Before you do that, of course, you should definitely check this out. One lucky fan accidentally received the Nintendo Switch early and they were kind enough to show it to the rest of the world. For more gaming related news, be sure to follow Don’t Feed the Gamers on Twitter and Facebook!

Eric Garrett2269 Posts

Eric is an editor and writer for Don't Feed the Gamers. When he is not staring at a computer screen filled with text, he is usually staring at a computer screen filled with controllable animations. Today's youth call this gaming. He also likes to shoot things. With a camera, of course.


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