Valve's Newell Receives GDC Pioneer Award

Joining the ranks of Ralph "Father of Video Games" Baer, Tetris creator Alexey Pajitnov and Harmonix founders Alex Rigopulos and Eran Egozy, Valve co-founder Gabe Newell has been named this year's recipient of the Game Developers Choice Pioneer Award.

The award "celebrates those individuals responsible for developing a vital technology or game design at a crucial juncture in video game history, paving the way for the many who followed them," event organizer Think Services Game Group explained in today's announcement.

The company points to Newell "helping to make possible some of the most important video games of the past two decades"--including Half-Life, Counter-Strike, Team Fortress, Portal and Left 4 Dead--along with Valve's "unprecedented encouragement of modding and community" and his role in co-creating Valve's digital distribution platform Steam, which "has become a key way for many smaller and larger PC game developers to gain fans and make money without requiring a physical retail publisher."

Among the committee that selected Newell were Ben Cousins (EA DICE), Harvey Smith (Arkane), Raph Koster (Metaplace), John Vechey (PopCap), Ray Muzyka (BioWare), Clint Hocking (Ubisoft), with this year's various awards being presented March 11 during the 2010 Game Developers Conference at the San Francisco Moscone Center.

Chris Faylor was previously a games journalist creating content at Shacknews.

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