Gabe Newell Biography

Gabe Newell, the co-founder of Valve Corporation, is an American computer programmer and businessman who has made significant contributions to the field of advanced graphics and artificial intelligence in gaming. After dropping out of Harvard University, he worked with Microsoft for 13 years, where he produced several versions of the Windows operating system. However, his true passion was to have his own software company, which led him to establish Valve Corporation with Mike Harrington. Together, they funded the development of popular video games such as Half-Life and GoldSrc for Microsoft Windows. Gabe Newell also created the digital distribution platform Steam, which has become a dominant force in the gaming industry, boasting over 200 million users by 2017. Additionally, Valve developed the HTC Vive virtual-reality headset hardware, positioning itself as a major competitor to Apple’s App Store on Mac. Currently serving as the managing director for game development at Valve, Gabe Newell’s success has earned him a place among the 100 richest businessmen in the US, with a net worth exceeding $5.5 billion according to Forbes.

Quick Facts

  • Nick Name: Gaben
  • Also Known As: Gabe Logan Newell
  • Age: 61 Years, 61 Year Old Males
  • Family: Spouse/Ex-: Lisa Newell (m. 1996)
  • Occupation: Computer Scientists, IT & Software Entrepreneurs
  • Height: 5’7″ (170 cm), 5’7″ Males
  • U.S. State: Washington
  • City: Seattle, Washington
  • Education: Harvard University (dropped out)

Childhood & Early Life

Gabe Logan Newell, born on November 3, 1962, in Seattle, Washington, US, developed a passion for computer games and information technology (IT) as he grew older. He studied at Harvard University from 1980 to 1983 but dropped out to work at Microsoft. Newell believed that he learned more during his first three months at Microsoft than he could have at Harvard. He always had a dream of becoming an entrepreneur.


Newell started his career in computer programming with Microsoft in 1983 and worked with them for 13 years. He was the producer of the Windows operating system versions 1.01, 1.02, and 1.03. He worked closely with Bill Gates, who also dropped out of Harvard to start Microsoft. Newell held important positions in program management and operating systems at Microsoft. He played a key role in the introduction of Windows NT. He traveled extensively to gain practical knowledge of the industry.

Newell and his co-worker Mike Harrington left Microsoft to start their own organization, Valve Corporation, in 1996. They funded the development of the science-fiction first-person shooter video games Half-Life and GoldSrc for Microsoft Windows. Newell is considered a pioneer in advanced graphics and AI in gaming.

His next venture was the development of the software store Steam, a digital distribution platform that offers gaming, video streaming, and social networking. Steam has over 200 million users and distributes over 1500 games. Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2 are the most popular games on Steam. In 2009, Steam acquired over 70% of the digital distribution market for video gaming. Newell also developed Steam for Schools, an educational software used to teach physics, chemistry, and math in an interactive manner.

Newell was instrumental in the development of PlayStation 3 for Sony, although he once called it “a waste of everybody’s time.” Valve Corporation developed the first-person puzzle video game platform Portal 2 for PlayStation 3. He also developed the HTC Vive virtual-reality headset hardware that uses Steam and competes with Apple’s App Store on Mac.

Currently, Newell serves as the managing director of game development at Valve Corporation, with a focus on technology. He believes that staying up-to-date with the latest trends and designs is crucial for a game’s success.

Major Works

During his time at Microsoft, Newell was the producer of the Windows operating system versions 1.01, 1.02, and 1.03. He also jointly funded the development of the science-fiction first-person shooter video games Half-Life and GoldSrc. He is known for developing the successful digital distribution platform Steam.

Awards & Achievements

Newell was featured as “A Name You Should Know” by Forbes in December 2010 for his contribution in developing Steam with multiple developers. He received the BAFTA Fellowship Award in March 2013 for his contribution to the video game industry. In October 2017, he made it onto Forbes’ list of the 100 richest businessmen in the US with a net worth of $5.5 billion.

Personal Life

Newell married Lisa Mennet in 1996 and has two sons. Despite being a private person, he spends quality time with his family at their home in Long Beach, Washington. He overcame the congenital disease Fuchs’ dystrophy through cornea transplants in 2007. This did not hinder his professional work.

Newell enjoys playing video games, with Super Mario 64 and Doom being his favorites. He is also a fan of the animated series My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and is known as “Gaben” in the gaming community. He is approachable, interactive, and has a good sense of humor, which has contributed to his success in understanding gamers’ challenges. He believes in out-of-the-box thinking to stay ahead.


Newell dropped out of Harvard University at the insistence of Steve Ballmer, the head of sales at Microsoft. He was inspired by Michael Abrash, who left Microsoft to produce the gaming software Quake at id Software. Newell was critical of the development of PlayStation 3 for Sony, calling it a waste of time. He has also expressed criticism of Windows 8 and Xbox Live. He believes that most games incur losses, with only 10% making massive profits. He also believes in providing consumers with products better than what pirates can reproduce.

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