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.