If there's one thing we can count on, it's that Valve Software boss Gabe Newell will tell it like it is. He's been extremely vocal about Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 platform, calling the new OS a "catastrophe." Now Newell reportedly said he'd rather see Valve disintegrate over time rather than sell out to a company like Electronic Arts. Honestly, that's good to hear.
In the New York Times article which also revealed the Big Picture beta and Valve's VR goggles, two unnamed sources – wanting to remain anonymous – admitted that gaming giant Electronic Arts has pursued Valve Software for years. The publisher would have valued Valve at well over $1 billion USD had talks progressed to that point, sources close to the discussions claimed.
But Newell admitted that Valve would likely disintegrate – that its independent-minded workers would scatter – before a multi-billion dollar publisher would swoop in and purchase the Source Engine studio. "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.
Valve Software, the studio behind the Half-Life, Portal, Team Fortress and Left4Dead titles, is valued at $2.5 billion USD according to Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities. There's indication that EA made its offer long before Steam became a huge hit and seemingly took control of the digital distribution market. The denial of a buyout may have also been what prompted EA to develop its own distribution platform.
EA has been on an acquisition spree over the last few years, scooping up Chillingo, Firemint, Playfish, and even PopCap. Some of its biggest acquisitions of late have been Mythic Entertainment and DICE back in 2006, and JAMDAT Mobile in 2005. However EA's largest purchase to date was in 2007, as it shelled out $860 million for VG Holding Corp which at the time owned Bioware and Pandemic Studios.
Despite their slight rivalry on the digital distribution front, EA and Valve remain on somewhat friendly terms, as the publisher recently served as distributor of Portal 2 for the console versions.