For most of us, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a living nightmare that we can’t wake up from, but down in New Zealand, things are much more peaceful. The country just elected its current Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, to a second term largely due to her handling of the pandemic, which has seen New Zealand totally eliminate the coronavirus cases not once, but twice.
Valve CEO Gabe Newell had the good fortune to get stuck in New Zealand just as the pandemic was hitting the US harder than anywhere else. While he’s been trapped in South Pacific island nation, he’s worked on his tan, got started with a bunch of charitable causes, and even gone on New Zealand media to talk about next-gen gaming.
Gabe actually really likes it down there, and although he could return to the US now if he really wanted to, why would he? In the US it’s all political strife and deadly pandemics. In New Zealand, it’s just perfect weather and sheep. Frankly, there’s no contest.
That’s why Gabe is even considering the possibility of moving Valve to New Zealand.
“Because I’ve been going on a pro-New Zealand campaign lately, I’m probably going to be meeting with the Prime Minister,” Gabe said in a private Discord town hall hosted by Geoff Keighley. “And one of the positions I’m going to be arguing for is that given that there has been something super valuable that has been created here in New Zealand due to the hard work of the population of New Zealand, there is likely a large want to temporarily relocate production teams into the country.”
We only know about this thanks to Valve News Network, who was given special permission to disclose some of Gabe’s quotes during the private town hall meeting. Other industry insiders were required to keep quiet.
Besides the obvious return to some semblance of normalcy, Gabe’s argument is that Valve production is way down because everyone is working from home. Valve is very much a conversational company, with frequent in-person meetings and discussions to foster a creative work environment. Zoom meetings just ain’t the same, so Gabe wants to get that magic back by having everyone in a peaceful, coronavirus-free country.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. There’s a lot of people working at Valve, and New Zealand might not want a bunch of Americans showing up at their doorstep even if Gabe vouches for them. For now, this is just an idea, but as the pandemic wears on, it might become a popular one with Valve employees.
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