I know that working for the company who put out the Portal and Half-Life games would be sweet, but apparently being a Valve’er is held in even higher regard than you’d think.
When asked by International Game Developers Association (IGDA) “what developer/publisher would you most like to work for?” Valve came out on top of the list – despite there also being the possible answer of “for my own company”, which came second.
Yep, you read that properly. Out of 2,200 developers surveyed in the whole industry, more people would like to work at Valve than start up their own development company.
To be honest, I can understand why. From what we see in gaming news – lawsuits between companies over who’s to blame for badly-received games, fans expressing their rage over the exact timing of ‘timed’ exclusives, and even where the worst games are buried – it takes a lot of work to start up a games company when there’s so much competition and so many hair-trigger-temper players just waiting to bury your reputation – and your stock value – with one below-average expansion pack.
So when it came to the crunch, the majority of respondents went for Valve instead. And why not? Here are three things that really set them apart from the rest of the games industry:
- They’re privately owned. So immediately Valve can draw its own map, and make the games it really wants to without pressure from investors and corporate backers to rush a game out for Christmas, or do yet another instalment of Call of FIFA.
- They’re flat – or at least, they claim to be. As a non-hierarchical company, everyone at Valve is on a level pegging – even founder Gabe Newell, apparently. This obviously doesn’t mean that people don’t take charge on the big issues, but it can be merely a case of the most experienced person making those decisions rather than any chain of command. To my untrained and non-corporate eye, this seems pretty ideal.
- They created the Portal and Half-Life games, for god’s sake. Isn’t that enough of a reason to make a company stand out? Plus, if you ever did get a job there you’d be well-placed to call a meeting which consisted simply of you scrolling through slides of Gordon Freeman standing next to a big fuck-off number 3. Now that’s good business strategy.
And if you needed any more persuading, the Valve employee company handbook is one of the greatest pieces of business documentation I’ve ever seen. And I should know; I’ve written a fair few myself. Read it and be inspired. And keep nagging your Valve employee friend to make Half-Life 3 if you have one.
The Top 10 games developers from that survey by the IGDA:
- My own company
- Activision Blizzard
- Current employer
- Naughty Dog
- Double Fine
- Bethesda Game Studios