Valve president Gabe Newell says there is a “realistic possibility” that future Valve esports events will take place in New Zealand. Valve hosts some of the biggest esports tournaments which boast the largest prize pools, with Dota 2’s The International leading the line as one the world’s most prestigious esports competitions.
Newell has been living in New Zealand for nearly a year, after his short trip to the country coincided with the start of the coronavirus pandemic and New Zealand’s subsequent national lockdown.
As PCGamesN reported, Newell said he can “work [in New Zealand] pretty much as effectively as I would if I were home”. In October, he applied for residency in the country, but at the time had no plans to move Valve offices to the country. However, it seems that he has rethought his position, as he tells TVNZ’s One News that “there’s absolutely no reason that game development companies couldn’t be located here.”
As well as explaining that there are a lot of employees who support the idea of relocating to the Pacific island, Newell cites New Zealand’s “amazing” public healthcare system and handling of the pandemic as reasons for moving LAN tournaments to the country. “It’s as if there’s this element that’s been discovered called ‘notstupidium’,” he says. “And New Zealand is one of the world’s producers.”
While he reiterates that nothing is planned at present, he says that hosting events in New Zealand seems like the way forward in the pandemic.
“It’s a realistic possibility and it gets more realistic all the time,” he says. “If I had to guess when it would be safe to do an in-person tournament anywhere [else] in the world, it would be very hard for me to say that — whereas I think, with a lot of confidence, we’d be able to plan for that in New Zealand.
“Hopefully the procedures can be put in place so that becomes feasible — like, you know, this is what the quarantine would look like.
“As long as COVID is mutating, it certainly is increasing the likelihood that we’ll be having events here.”
GabeN seems fairly confident that Valve will be able to hold their prestigious tournaments in New Zealand, but we’ll have to wait for confirmation before getting too excited.