In an a wide ranging interview with Auckland, New Zealand, network 1 NEWS, Valve Corporation co-founder Gabe Newell said that moving his company to the country is a possibility he has been considering, along with hosting Dota 2 and Counter-Strike Global: Offensive Majors and The International there. Newell’s family and a large number of Valve employees went to New Zealand in 2020 and decided to stay there in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
On moving Valve to New Zealand, Newell told the network that he didn’t want to jump the gun and confirm any plans, but there has been an ongoing conversation about moving its Seattle, Washington, studio to New Zealand. Much of this has been driven by the country’s low number of COVID-19 cases and by employees still in the U.S. approving of the idea.
Newell also said that hosting Valve’s esports tournaments in New Zealand is getting “more realistic all the time,” though, like his thoughts on the company moving to New Zealand, is only in the early stages of conversation.
“I literally could not, if I had to guess when it would be safe to do an in-person tournament anywhere [else] in the world, it would be very hard for me to say that — whereas I think, with a lot of confidence, we’d be able to plan for that in New Zealand,” he told NEWS 1.
It could simply be a case of Newell being enamored with the country and its effective battle to contain COVID-19, which in turn has allowed him and his close knit group the ability to have freedom to explore and enjoy the country. According to the World Health Organization, New Zealand has had a total of 1,906 confirmed cases and 25 deaths. The United States recently hit a grim milestone of more than 400K COVID-19-related deaths.
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