Watch Gabe Newell deliver Steam Decks and recall his days as a telegram boy

A few days ago some folk on reddit claimed that they'd been hand-delivered signed Steam Decks by Gabe Newell. Accompanied by a slightly blurry photo of what looked like the gaming Santa, some were suspicious about whether Valve's head honcho was really out-and-about in Seattle delivering Decks: anyway, wasn't this guy supposed to be in New Zealand?

Valve has now posted video of Newell making the rounds to some lucky customers, and it's quite a wholesome watch. Ask yourself, how would you react to Gabe Newell turning up at your house? Well, nobody loses their shit or starts shouting about Half-Life 3—which is a real pity—but most do recognise who he is, and one guy manages to strike up a brief chat about Final Fantasy 14. 

User SeattleRainPidgeons, posting in r/Steam, claimed to have seen Newell and a camera crew making a delivery to their neighbour's house. They said hello, at which point he gave them signed Decks despite not having preorder reservations. Which just sounds like a nerd's wet dream: but no, that very moment happens right here.

The sweetest element by far of this video though, apart from getting to watch Gabe walk around and enjoy being IRL Santa Clause, is Newell's insistence on telling each customer his personal email address. He's been doing this for as long as I remember, and I still remember being so tickled when Valve started doing developer commentaries in their games and, without fail, Newell would always include his email. Imagine how many he gets a day.

Another nice moment comes when someone answers the door but doesn't recognise Newell and (understandably) thinks he's a deliveryman, to the extent she asks if he's waiting for her to sign for the parcel. "So the first job I ever had delivering newspapers, but then the next job I had was delivering telegrams for Western Union," laughs Newell. "Overall this is sort of bringing me back to my days as a Western Union delivery boy."

Sadly it's going to be tough to get your hands on a Steam Deck in the near future, with Valve struggling as best it can to keep up with demand. The hardware is the real deal, however, so I'll just keep praying for a visitation from the angel Gabriel.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."