Meet Gabe Newell, the richest man in the video game business
The wealthiest man in the video game industry has a name you likely haven't heard; he runs a company you probably haven't heard of; he wears a wild beard and, often, the same black polo.
Yet, Gabe Newell is worth over $4 billion, and the company he founded, Valve Software, is one of the most successful game companies in the world.
Sound familiar? It should: Steam is, by far, the most widely-used digital storefront online.
It's got nearly 200 million active users around the world, and every time those folks buy a game, Valve takes a cut. (Though that cut is variable, the average is about 30% of each sale.)Notably, Valve remains a private company. Outside of operating Steam, the Bellevue, Washington-based company also makes some wildly popular games: "DOTA 2" and "Team Fortress 2" are among the most popular games on Steam.Valve also co-produces the HTC Vive virtual reality headset, and the hardware is powered by - you guessed it - Steam. Like Apple, Valve created an ecosystem that hundreds of millions of people bought in to in Steam; it's the equivalent of Apple's App Store, only for PC and Mac computers. Steam is also far better than Apple's App Store on Mac.
As such, Steam users are fiercely loyal - competing services like EA's Origin and Microsoft's Windows 10 storefront capture a tiny fraction of Steam's massive userbase. That combination of massive numbers and loyalty adds up to a very profitable business - one that turned Newell into a billionaire many times over.
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