Valve boss Gabe Newell can afford to buy whatever he wants in the next Steam sale without having to hide the receipts from his significant other. That much we know. But is he loaded enough to snag a spot among the 100 wealthiest people in America? According to Forbes' most recent list of the 400 richest people in the country, the answer is yessir.
"It was another record year for the wealthiest people in America, as the price of admission to the country’s most exclusive club jumped nearly 18%," Forbes wrote. "The minimum net worth to make The Forbes 400 list of richest Americans is now a record $2 billion, up from $1.7 billion a year ago."
The man many know as Gaben surpassed that barrier to entry quite easily, with an estimated net worth of $5.5 billion (or in current parlance, a lot of lootboxes) as of October 19. Forbes noted that Newell has been at the head of Valve since he co-founded it in 1998, and while Valve is not a publicly traded company and thus doesn't disclose its financials, the site estimates he owns just over half of it.
Valve "found initial success with games like Half-Life and Portal," Forbes wrote, but the secret to its longevity and influence is Steam. "Some liken it to the iTunes of videogames. Steam sells game licenses to 125 million users of its own and other developers' titles and collects a percentage of the sales."
There's a natural temptation to say that this is why Valve doesn't make games anymore (I mean, why would it bother?) but one quick-witted redditor noticed the secret message : Newell is number 97 on the list of wealthiest Americans—three positions up in the top 100. Three.
(Nothing, actually: Because the ranking is based on estimates rounded to the nearest hundred million, Newell shares the position with nine other people, including Wal-Mart heiress Ann Walton Kroenke, hedge fund founder David Shaw, and a handful of pipeliners from Texas. But dare to dream, right?)