Valve CEO Gabe Newell is to be honoured by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) with the Academy Fellowship at this year’s British Academy Games Awards. The ceremony takes place on 5 March at the London Hilton, Park Lane.
Awarded annually by BAFTA, the Fellowship is the highest accolade bestowed upon an individual in recognition of an outstanding and exceptional contribution to games. With a career spanning three decades, beginning with Microsoft in 1983 and then as head of Valve from the company’s inception in 1996, Newell follows in the footsteps of other games Fellows, including Peter Molyneux, Shigeru Miyamoto and Will Wright.
Following the development and release of the hugely popular Half-Life and Counter-Strike games, in 2004 Newell led Valve’s introduction of a new digital platform for PC games, Steam. Today, the service offers gamers access to over 2,000 games from over 200 independent and commercial studios, enabling greater reward for creativity among those making and publishing their own titles, and has over 50m active accounts on PCs, Macs and Linux computers around the world.
Newell’s belief in “working with the community” has been evidenced since Valve launched its support for Half-Life community developers, dubbed ‘Modders’, who have created their own variants of Half-Life using tools released by the company. As a result, Counter-Strike and Day of Defeat and many other titles were born from the ‘Mod’ scene. Steam, with the recently launched Steam Workshop, represent the leading marketplace for those making today’s independent games as well as individuals creating in-game items.
Valve is no stranger to success at the British Academy Games Awards, having previously won BAFTAs for Left 4 Dead in 2009 and Left 4 Dead 2 in 2010 (Best Multiplayer), and for Portal 2 in 2012 (Best Game, Story, and Design).
On being informed of his Fellowship, Newell said:
“It is an honour for myself and everyone at Valve to be presented such an award by one of the world’s most respected and recognised organisations. Valve owes a tremendous thanks to many in the UK – to those who have played our games, to the great support of the UK press, and to UK-based creative contributors such as Garry Newman. I look forward to accepting this prestigious honor on behalf of everyone in our community.”
Harvey Elliott, Chair of BAFTA’s Games Committee, added:
“Gabe’s contribution to the industry is unique, and he is very different to many others that BAFTA could recognise. As well as enjoying great critical and commercial success with phenomenally popular franchises such as Portal and Half-Life, his work in giving back to the games industry through developing and showcasing other games makers has been outstanding. He is an inspirational developer and truly deserving of our Fellow recognition.”
The British Academy Games Awards will take place on Tuesday 5 March at the London Hilton, Park Lane, and will be hosted for the fifth consecutive year by comedian and gamer, Dara O Briain.