Valve CEO Gabe Newell wants to discuss relocating game developers to New Zealand

Polycount

Posts: 2,697   +566
Staff member
In context: The Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on most industries, and game development certainly falls into that camp. Game production studios are generally used to a highly-collaborative and tight-knit work environment, so the sudden shift toward work-from-home policies across the globe hasn't been helpful.

Indeed, the issue is so significant across the industry that Valve CEO and founder Gabe Newell is reportedly about to enter talks with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to discuss a plan that might enable developers to relocate to the country.

In case you aren't up-to-date on the Covid-19 situation in New Zealand, the country is one of the only locations in the world to achieve zero -- or, as of recently, near-zero -- new virus cases for weeks on end.

The country's leadership has been lauded for its quick and efficient response to the virus, which has undoubtedly saved thousands of lives. New Zealand's government has been so successful at containing Covid-19 that it's now mostly open, so it's perhaps unsurprising that Newell has taken an interest in helping developers relocate there.

By doing so, even temporarily, development teams could get back to working together in person, which could boost productivity considerably.

Newell's interest in New Zealand is somewhat biased, of course. The CEO has been staying in the country for months now, specifically due to its excellent handling of Covid-19. He was so grateful for his safe harbor that he's hoping to throw New Zealanders a free concert to say thank you.

It's worth noting that Newell never explicitly stated that Valve itself will be moving to New Zealand, even if his talks with Ardern go well. It seems probable, but it isn't guaranteed.

Regardless, it'll be interesting to see whether or not Newell's discussions with New Zealand leaders go anywhere. If they do, we'll certainly keep you updated.

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zavrix

Posts: 48   +30
I doubt that very much...Its the country's sheer geographical isolation & (relative) mono culture population, that's done more than any politician could ever do, to protect it.
Well I live here in New Zealand and I can tell you it was the leadership of our Govt that acted quickly in shutting our borders and putting the country into lockdown early. We all did our bit over here(well almost all of us) and now we are reaping the benefits from that. Yes the fact we are isolated has helped but that is only one of the reasons. We have a good fast contact tracing system in place which when needed swings into action very quickly to isolate anyone who gets Covid. Our biggest threats are cargo ships entering the ports and New Zealander's returning home with Covid. But life is back to fairly normal conditions over here and has been for sometime with the exemption of an outbreak which placed Auckland back into lockdown for a bit but that"s all sorted now. Just this weekend we had an international rugby game with a full stadium of fans. As of right now I wouldn't wont to live anywhere else.
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 165   +118
As a kiwi I, first I heard of this story - he needs to get this story out as Jacinda and Co. are super cautious - We did get lucky and our response has not been perfect - ineffective contact tracing early on - poor border management early on - thankfully both have improved greatly ( par for the course for govts workers ) We have allow Hollywood in - Americas Cup, Now allowing overseas Phd students - Business still clamoring for expert operators in certain fields - They will probably go for this.
One of the problems is our Border managed hotels are running at full capacity - lots of overseas kiwis still wanting to return.
Does make me laugh when we try to not give safe habour for Sailing boats - when they would nearly all done over 14 days isolation at sea.
As a ruling party they lack a serious degree of talent - but normally does not matter as the country is very stable and runs pretty fine when all the MPs go on holiday . hopefully some of the new ones are better.
Labour just won in a landside election - but does really matter now as Govt normally it's quite consensual - so we don't get much swings if National get back in ie Labour enact National like policies ( eg they will soon reform the Resource Management Act ) and Nats will do Labour type policies as well )
 
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Endymio

Posts: 1,091   +905
Well I live here in New Zealand and I can tell you it was the leadership of our Govt that acted quickly in shutting our borders and putting the country into lockdown early.
But other nations which did exactly the same were slammed hard. New Zealand benefitted not only from being an isolated island nation a thousand miles from anywhere, but even more importantly in that its case zero came very late, after China had stopped denying that Covid spread through human-to-human contact. Many other nations had already achieved community spread before New Zealand even had this first case.
 

nnguy2

Posts: 162   +297
But other nations which did exactly the same were slammed hard. New Zealand benefitted not only from being an isolated island nation a thousand miles from anywhere, but even more importantly in that its case zero came very late, after China had stopped denying that Covid spread through human-to-human contact. Many other nations had already achieved community spread before New Zealand even had this first case.
Vietnam, South Korea, and many other Asian countries that took proactive measures have low infection rates and even lower death rates. For one thing they didn't have a ***** president denying the severity of the pandemic.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,091   +905
Vietnam, South Korea, and many other Asian countries that took proactive measures have low infection rates and even lower death rates.
And nations like Belgium, Spain, Italy took those same measures and have death rates as high or higher than the US. Also, a nation like South Korea can (and did) institute mandatory GPS cell-phone tracking and credit-card tracking of all citizens to enable contact-tracing of infections, as well as many other actions which are clearly unconstitutional in the United States.
 
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nnguy2

Posts: 162   +297
And nations like Belgium, Spain, Italy took those same measures and have death rates as high or higher than the US. Also, a nation like South Korea can (and did) institute mandatory GPS cell-phone tracking and credit-card tracking of all citizens to enable contact-tracing of infections, as well as many other actions which are clearly unconstitutional in the United States.
You would be surprised to know that in cases of public health and pandemics the CDC and government can take away a lot of your rights. If you came down with a case of smallpox you can kiss your rights and liberties goodbye. It's too bad the US government lacked leadership and a game plan.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,091   +905
You would be surprised to know that in cases of public health and pandemics the CDC and government can take away a lot of your rights.
The CDC (and indeed the Federal Government itself) cannot order general quarantines or lockdowns. They have authority only over peoples entering the U.S. or travelling interstate. Under the US Constitution, the power to quarantine entire populations, and the primary responsibility for health matters lies with state governments. It's interesting to note that the US state with by far the highest per-capita death toll is New York, a state whose governor says he refused to listen to President Trump, and claims he "followed the science" entirely. In fact, counted as a separate nation, New York has by far the highest death toll in the entire world -- despite its lockdowns and mask mandates.

It's also ironic to note that when the epidemic began, President Trump was engaged in an impeachment trial, accused of unconstitutional actions -- yet is now being criticized for not taking clearly unconstitutional acts of ordering mass shutdowns and other mandates which exceed his presidential authority.
 

Rayneofpayne

Posts: 251   +236
True but PC component manufacturers are quite English literate I am sure, and most people in Taiwan can speak a bit of English shouldn't have too much trouble getting around.
People in Taiwan speak better english than some US regions, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea I have never had issues in fact most of the people get excited to have a native English person to speak to, you just have to be aware of some Asian etiquette depending on region.
 

nnguy2

Posts: 162   +297
The CDC (and indeed the Federal Government itself) cannot order general quarantines or lockdowns. They have authority only over peoples entering the U.S. or travelling interstate. Under the US Constitution, the power to quarantine entire populations, and the primary responsibility for health matters lies with state governments. It's interesting to note that the US state with by far the highest per-capita death toll is New York, a state whose governor says he refused to listen to President Trump, and claims he "followed the science" entirely. In fact, counted as a separate nation, New York has by far the highest death toll in the entire world -- despite its lockdowns and mask mandates.

It's also ironic to note that when the epidemic began, President Trump was engaged in an impeachment trial, accused of unconstitutional actions -- yet is now being criticized for not taking clearly unconstitutional acts of ordering mass shutdowns and other mandates which exceed his presidential authority.
Coumo botched the covid respond with nursing homes. Look up the last case of smallpox in the US. That was a force quarantine by federal government.

You really buying that Trump had a plan for Covid19? I mean this besides waiting for the heat to kill it, or for it to disappear one day, his plans included than my pillow, HCQ, spraying bleach and stick uv light inaide your body.
 

nnguy2

Posts: 162   +297
The CDC (and indeed the Federal Government itself) cannot order general quarantines or lockdowns. They have authority only over peoples entering the U.S. or travelling interstate. Under the US Constitution, the power to quarantine entire populations, and the primary responsibility for health matters lies with state governments. It's interesting to note that the US state with by far the highest per-capita death toll is New York, a state whose governor says he refused to listen to President Trump, and claims he "followed the science" entirely. In fact, counted as a separate nation, New York has by far the highest death toll in the entire world -- despite its lockdowns and mask mandates.

It's also ironic to note that when the epidemic began, President Trump was engaged in an impeachment trial, accused of unconstitutional actions -- yet is now being criticized for not taking clearly unconstitutional acts of ordering mass shutdowns and other mandates which exceed his presidential authority.
Also force quarantine for public health is not the same as bribe a foreign country for politic dirt.
 
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dihartnell

Posts: 13   +9
I doubt that very much...Its the country's sheer geographical isolation & (relative) mono culture population, that's done more than any politician could ever do, to protect it.
Some people here are showing their ignorance of NZ and our very multicultural society and Kiwi culture and when we got our cases and what NZ did to control this virus. Isolation didn't help us at all. NZ has millions of overseas tourists, students and workers coming in every year especially in the Jan-April time frame. The Govt's actions, their willingness to listen to doctors and NZers acting in the countries best interests rather than their self interest are the reasons we are in the good position we are in right now. We got it pretty early (feb) and about the same time as many other countries. It spread rapidly and the entire country was put into a very strict lock down in March and stayed there for months until until mid June when it was well under control. Another outbreak happened more recently which also spread very rapidly (no surprises it came through the border) and the govt again acted quickly and put a large region (Auckland) and our largest city (Auckland city) into strict lock-down once again for a month.

Several countries including NZ, Thailand Vietnam, Australia, Singapore etc did what was necessary to protect their elderly and vulnerable. Others did not and they are paying a very heavy price for it. Our only current restrictions are our borders which remain closed. That being 15000KM (9300Miles) of coastline, 4 international airports, 23 Seaports remain closed to people unless you are willing to do a 2 week quarantine (in a nice hotel).

 

dihartnell

Posts: 13   +9
But other nations which did exactly the same were slammed hard. New Zealand benefitted not only from being an isolated island nation a thousand miles from anywhere, but even more importantly in that its case zero came very late, after China had stopped denying that Covid spread through human-to-human contact. Many other nations had already achieved community spread before New Zealand even had this first case.
Zavrix is correct.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,091   +905
Coumo botched the covid respond with nursing homes. Look up the last case of smallpox in the US. That was a force quarantine by federal government.
Oops, wrong again. The 1947 outbreaks (with the last death in 1949) was a response by state governments. See link here. Again: the federal government does not have authority to issue mandatory general quarantines. Congress tried to pass a law granting just such authority in the 1800s, but the attempt failed: See this link here.

You really buying that Trump had a plan for Covid19?
Given the media's predictions in March -- 3 to 11 million people dead, mass graves in all major cities, and hundreds of thousands of patients going without ventilators and hospital beds, it seems the federal aid to states worked very well indeed. Not one single patient has gone without a ventilator or hospital bed, and the federal program to develop a vaccine has yielded by far the fastest results in history.
 
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Endymio

Posts: 1,091   +905
NZ has millions of overseas tourists, students and workers coming in every year
And each and every one of them arrives by plane at an airport, where they can be easily held and screened. Or-- in this case-- halted entirely. As an island nation, New Zealand has no land borders to seal. In the US, just one single point of entry -- San Ysidro, CA -- has more traffic than the entire country of New Zealand. More people cross US land borders in a single day than in an entire year in New Zealand. Millions of them cross illegally, and cannot be tested, screened, or held. This is a problem New Zealand does not have.

More importantly, prior to the pandemic, the US had more than 60 direct flights arriving into it from Wuhan Province, China. New Zealand had none. New Zealand's first case didn't arrive until the end of February, after China admitted the truth about Covid. Most experts believe Covid was spreading in the US since mid January, perhaps even as early as December. By the time China (and the WHO) stopped denying the truth about Covid, the US (and many European nations) were already experiencing community spread. New Zealand was not. Once community spread occurs, testing and contact tracing is no longer a viable strategy.

Finally, I should point out that there are only two nations in the world that not only count actual confirmed Covid deaths, but "assumed" cases as well: the United States, and Belgium. As as result, the US and Belgium overstate deaths in their official statistics, whereas other nations understate them.
 
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kiwigraeme

Posts: 165   +118
But other nations which did exactly the same were slammed hard. New Zealand benefitted not only from being an isolated island nation a thousand miles from anywhere, but even more importantly in that its case zero came very late, after China had stopped denying that Covid spread through human-to-human contact. Many other nations had already achieved community spread before New Zealand even had this first case.
We definitely had some luck early on - really defined clusters - making up more than half the cases . We had no super spreader going everywhere.
We probably should of closed down a week earlier - but was full tourist season - lots of export dollars pouring in . The Govt allowed St Patrick's day to go ahead - amazing only 1 small cluster in a smaller town from it . Saying that NZers did a great job during lockdown - of following rules - So annoyed some of us later when Govt actions at border were worst than general population - like allowing some mingling, early releases in to community with no testing ( that's why we had no positives for quite a few weeks - as none of arrivals or border workers were being tested - border workers only got tested much later after more incompetency ) - When friends and family had kept their bubbles during lockdown