On Thursday a report in JoongAng, one of the top newspapers in South Korea, claimed that NCsoft and majority shareholder Nexon met with Valve Software in Hawaii to discuss a possible acquisition. The meeting supposedly took place on Wednesday during Nexon's developer summit.
The deal itself was said to be worth more than $893 million USD, and would combine popular Nexon games like the free-to-play MapleStory, NCsoft's Guild Wars 2, and Valve's Half-Life and Left 4 Dead franchises. It would also mean Nexon and NCsoft would have direct access to the Steam platform which controls around 70-percent of this digital distribution market.
Thursday's report seemingly contradicted what Valve CEO Gabe Newell said in a recent interview with the New York Times. He told the paper that he'd rather see Valve disintegrate – its workers scattered like ants scrambling from a smashed hill – than selling the studio to a large publisher like Electronic Arts.
"It's way more likely we would head in that direction than say, 'Let's find some giant company that wants to cash us out and wait two or three years to have our employment agreements terminate,'" he said.
NCsoft reportedly denied the JoongAng report, and now Valve has stepped forward to squash any rumors regarding a possible Nexon acquisition. "It's the same as when Tim Cook came by and visited us," said Valve's Chet Faliszek, referring to a rumor that Apple was in talks with Valve about a possible acquisition.
He goes on to talk about the interview with the New York Times, that this latest rumor was weird given that Newell was quoted as saying there will be no sellout – ever. "It's weirdly twisted how they took it," he added. "They were asking if we were going to sell out to someone and Gabe was like, we're not going to do that. The guy made the question to be about, 'how's this going to end'."
Rest assured: there are no thoughts about selling out, he said. Everyone likes working at Valve Software as it stands now. "We like working together," he admitted. "We like the culture we have, and the way it works because of all the parts of it. We're not changing any of that. We're pretty happy. We're doing OK."
He then went on to officially deny rumors of a possible acquisition by anyone. "It's funny because now all the internal emails will start - 'what's going on, this makes no sense!'" he mused. "Where can these rumors possibly come from?"
He believes the Apple rumor stemmed from someone working at the steakhouse restaurant next door. "Whenever anyone eats there who has some security, they therefore must be meeting with us or something! I don't know, it's bizarre."
If Agent Mulder taught us anything, it's to trust no one, the government denies everything, and the truth is out there. All these acquisition rumors... just a coincidence despite the denials?