Valve is an American video game developer, publisher and digital distribution company founded in 1996 by two former Microsoft employees and is located in Belleuve, Washington.
Event sponsor: Valve
Their debut was first person shooter game Half-Life, released in 1998 which won more than 50 game of the year awards, and PC Gamer even called it the Best PC Game Ever. It has since then launched the global sensations Counter-Strike and Dota 2, among many other popular titles such as Portal, Left 4 Dead and Team Fortress. In 2003 they launched their software distribution platform, Steam and by 2012, Valve was reportedly worth over $3 billion, making it the most profitable company per employee in the United States.
From developing games to esports
Valve set the standards in multiple areas of PC gaming but perhaps the most notable or at least groundbreaking is the introduction of crowd-funding in 2013 for the Dota 2 International prize pool. Valve took a new approach by increasing their base prize-pool through raising monetary contributions from large key audiences. The concept was first introduced by the company with the release of the virtual “compendium”. The starting prize pool was $1,600,000, and Valve raised an additional $1,374,381 through the sales to the community. This was a drop in the bucket compared to the following years, the most recent being TI9 boasting a whopping $32 million and still counting.