Gabe Newell refuses to divulge Steam console plans to New Zealand high schoolers

Gabe Newell being interrogated by New Zealand high school students
(Image credit: Sancta Maria College (via Facebook))

Valve boss Gabe Newell has been living in New Zealand for more than a year now, and I'm starting to think that maybe he's getting bored. A few months ago he went on NZ television to talk about brain interfaces that could create games "superior" to reality, and more recently he trucked off to an Auckland high school for a Q&A session, where he teased the possibility of Valve bringing Steam games to consoles.

"Will Steam be putting any games on console, or will it just stay on PC?" a student asked during the Q&A session.

"You will get a better idea of that by the end of this year," Newell replied. The answer brought a wave of "ooooh" and some laughter from the audience, which led Newell to add, "And it won't be the answer you would expect."

It's not a very informative reply to say the least. The end of the year could arrive with absolutely no movement toward bringing Steam games to consoles and then, as promised, we'd have a better idea: The answer is "no." I'm also not sure what Newell thinks we're expecting, especially now that he's fired off this oblique tease. Maybe now we're leaning toward yes? Which would mean that the actual answer is, as previously anticipated, "no." It's all very confusing.

To me, though the most interesting thing here isn't the tease itself but that Newell decided to lay it all out not at a big trade show or in a promotional livestream, but in a high school gym—specifically, Sancta Maria College. And he didn't even put socks on! All the kids at the school have to wear jackets and ties to class, and Newell shows up looking like he woke up on the beach three minutes ago.

As for Newell's tease, if Valve is indeed planning some movement on the console front, it could be just about anything: Maybe it's going to port Half-Life: Alyx to PSVR, maybe Half-Life 3 is going to be a timed exclusive on the Xbox Series X, or maybe Valve wants to take another crack at a platform of its own— Steam Machines Redux, perhaps. Or maybe it's something else entirely, like an Orange Box re-release, which would actually make some sense, now that I think about it.

To be fair to Newell, the original question wasn't very clear either. It's possible the student may have mixed up Steam with Valve, and he really just wants to know if he'll ever be able to play Dota on his PS5. Whatever's going on, we'll apparently find out (or not) within the next six months or so.

According to redditor Odysseic, who recorded Newell's appearance (and apologized for the bad audio), Newell also said that CS:GO will be getting new anti-cheat updates, and more updates are coming to Team Fortress 2 as well. You can watch the whole thing on YouTube: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.