Valve boss Gabe Newell says the adoption of Dota 2 was a natural part of the company process, with its focus on pursuing whatever projects its employees are most interested in. He says the team didn't "deliberately" go out of its comfort zone, and says that the team was just "more excited to build this game than anything else."
"I haven't seen Erik [Johnson] have this much fun in half a decade," Newell told Develop. "He's working twice as hard as he's ever done, because he likes Ice Frog, and he wants Dota 2 to work, and he loves these types of games." He says the team approached the project as "enthusiasts."
Newell points out that the team is working to make this game run internationally, leading to a question about targeting the game for the Asian market. "We really don't know how to do that kind of targeting," Newell said. "It's really, really hard to make a good game, let alone make one targeted for a certain demographic. So the plan is to make Dota 2 good. That's just so hard in itself."
When it comes to microtransactions for Dota 2, Newell seems to shy away, instead focusing on mods from the community. "One of the best things World of Warcraft has is its user interface mods, but that mod is being built entirely outside of their economy. People are creating content for you, so you have to build a system that allows them to create and publish their work, and then be paid for it." He compares the community for Dota 2 to the hat designer players of Team Fortress 2.
The conversation then turned to Portal 2, which Newell says will be an example of Valve "pushing very hard in increasing overall play value." On that note, he referenced the upcoming DLC as proof of Steamworks' worth on consoles. "With the release of the first Portal 2 DLC people will really see the value of Sony allowing Steam to be released on their system. We can patch and update regularly, and I think not only us but other developers are benefiting from Sony's approach. I think Sony will start to benefit from what it's doing. They've done the scary thing and I think it's up to us as developers to make sure Sony and its customers are rewarded."