NZ's newest billionaire: Covid-stranded American gaming CEO Gabe Newell applies for NZ residency

Valve Corporation CEO Gabe Newell has confirmed to 1 NEWS that he is applying for New Zealand residency - but says reports of him moving developers for his video game company to New Zealand are unfounded.

Gabe Newell, CEO of Valve Corporation. Source: 1 NEWS

Various gaming media outlets reported yesterday that Newell had indicated he was looking to move developers to New Zealand as the gaming company faced the challenge of Covid-19.

According to the reports, he was arranging a meeting with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to discuss the prospect of bringing developers to New Zealand.

However, he told 1 NEWS that those reports were inaccurate.

"I do not have a meeting lined up with the PM," he said.

"Valve does not currently have plans to open an office in New Zealand, which isn't to say that it would be a bad idea. It's just not something we are working on."

Newell has been visiting New Zealand since before the Covid-19 pandemic took hold, and decided to stick it out and shelter in place along with a group of friends.

Speaking to 1 NEWS today, he didn't specify which visa he was applying for.

If he becomes a resident, he will be among New Zealand's wealthiest, with a net worth according to Forbes of about NZ$6 billion.

Newell is also in the process of re-organising a concert event to say thank you to New Zealand for having him during the Covid-19 period, after the last event had to be postponed due to the second resurgence in the community.

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Mr Newell appeared on Breakfast alongside Alex Riberas and Teagan Klein to talk about the August 15 event. Source: Breakfast

1 NEWS understands the We Love Aotearoa concert could take place before the end of the year, but the date has not been confirmed.

He has also enlisted a Kiwi drift champion to race in endurance motorsport here in New Zealand as part of his Heart of Racing team, which raises money for children's hospitals including Starship.

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Newell co-founded Valve Corporation in 1996, and the company's online game distribution service Steam has an estimated 90 million active users - Steam's annual revenue is estimated to be in the billions.

Valve has made immensely-popular games including Counter-Strike, Half-Life, DOTA 2 and Portal.

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