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Gabe Newell welcomes the crowd at The International in 2016. (GeekWire)

Valve has been teasing virtual reality games since last year, but on Friday the Bellevue-based company finally gave details about what’s in store.

Don’t get your hopes up: the details are still vague (there’s no timeline on when to expect them), but founder Gabe Newell did confirm to Eurogamer that Valve is building three VR games. The company isn’t just putting its toes in the VR pool, either; it’s diving right in.

“When I say we’re building three games, we’re building three full games, not experiments,” Newell said at a media roundtable.


At Valve’s Dota 2 tournament in August, Newell said he was spending most of his time working on VR technology. Newell encouraged fans to demo some of Valve’s VR games at the tournament, asking them to email him with feedback.

Valve’s current work, however, doesn’t look like it’s repackaging the companies existing games into VR. Speaking to the press, Newell said there was “absolutely nothing compelling” about running old games on a new system.

“VR is not going to be a success at all if people are just taking existing content and putting it into a VR space,” he said.

The three new games will be built on both Source 2 and Unity, and Newell said the company is designing the hardware at the same time that its designing software. By working on them simultaneously, Newell hopes Valve will be able to build better games. He compared the strategy to that of famous Japanese video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto.

Miyamoto’s Nintendo reshaped the world of gaming, and Newell believes VR will have the same influence.

“It feels like we’ve been stuck with mouse and keyboard for a really long time and that the opportunities to build much more interesting kinds of experiences for gamers were there, we just need to sort of expand what we can do,” Valve’s CEO said. “But it’s not about being in hardware, it’s about building better games. It’s about taking bigger leaps forward with the kinds of games that we can do.”

Founded in 1996 by former Microsofties Newell and Mike Harrington, Valve has grown into an absolute powerhouse in the gaming industry, powered in part by it Steam gaming platform. Based in Bellevue, Valve is said to be valued at upwards of $4 billion.

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