Valve founder Gabe Newell is not a fan of cryptocurrency or NFTs. The veteran PC developer made that abundantly clear last year when crypto and NFTs were banned from Steam. In recent interviews, Newell explained the reasoning behind the ban on crypto, much to the dismay of enthusiasts.
Gabe Newell thinks NFTs are all scams
In an interview with Eurogamer, Newell explained that the entire crypto industry was too volatile and sketchy to support. NFTs —non-fungible tokens — were banned alongside cryptocurrency as the cryptoart industry followed in the sketchy nature of its precursors.
Valve is well-known for the sale of digital-only assets. Not only are all of its games digital only, but a healthy marketplace of skins, trading cards and wallpapers all exist without cryptocurrency. And they have for almost two decades now. However, when those digital assets were blockchain-based, the company couldn't support it.
“The things that were being done were super sketchy," Newell said. "And there was some illegal shit that was going on behind the scenes, and you're just like, yeah, this is bad. Blockchains as a technology are a great technology, that the ways in which has been utilised are currently are all pretty sketchy. And you sort of want to stay away from that.”
Newell continued to explain that the backbone of NFTs, cryptocurrency, was also too volatile to back.
“50 percent of the cryptocurrency paid for transactions were fraudulent,” he did. “You look at that and you're like, well, that's bad. And then cryptocurrency volatility meant that people had no idea what price that they were actually paying. They're like, ‘How come I just paid $498 US dollars for this product?’ That's what happens when you have a highly volatile currency that you're paying for. Today, you paid 99 cents for it. Tomorrow, you're going to pay $498 for and people that makes people super cranky.”
The Metaverse isn't new
In a separate interview, this time by PC Gamer, Gabe Newell was asked about the recent metaverse trend. Backed by massive companies, the metaverse has been pitched as a completely immersive VR Internet for work, play and relaxation.
Valve has been at the forefront of virtual reality technology with many preferring SteamVR to Meta’s Oculus. However, unlike the formerly-Facebook company, Valve has shown no interest in the metaverse. That's because they think it’s pointless.
"There's a bunch of get rich quick schemes around metaverse," Gabe Newell told PC Gamer. Most of the people who are talking about metaverse have absolutely no idea what they're talking about. And they've apparently never played an MMO. They're like, 'Oh, you'll have this customizable avatar.' And it's like, well… go into La Noscea in Final Fantasy 14 and tell me that this isn't a solved problem from a decade ago, not some fabulous thing that you're, you know, inventing."
This has been shown countless times in recent months. From metaverse weddings to metaverse banking, the hyped-up virtual worlds have been decades behind video games. They look worse and are utterly useless in the face of games like Roblox and Second Life.