Valve Corporation is a Bellevue, Washington-based video game developer made famous by its first product, Half-Life, which was released in November 1998. The company has continued in the footsteps of Half-Life's success by developing mods, spin-offs, and sequels including Half-Life 2.
Long-time Microsoft employees Gabe Newell and Mike Harrington founded Valve in 1996. After securing a license to the Quake engine (through the help of friend Michael Abrash of id Software) in late 1996, they commenced working on Half-Life. Originally planned for release in late 1997, Half-Life launched on October 31, 1998. Valve acquired TF Software PTY Ltd., the makers of the Team Fortress mod for Quake with the intent to create a standalone Team Fortress 2 game. The Team Fortress Classic mod, essentially a port of the original Team Fortress quake mod, was released for Half-Life in 1999; TF2 is still in development.
Valve continued work on Half-Life, releasing several more extensions to the game and collaborated with other developers to port it to other platforms. They also took on-board the development of the highly popular Counter-Strike and Day of Defeat Half-Life mods.
Steam and lawsuits
Valve announced its Steam content delivery system in 2002. At the time, it looked to be a method of streamlining the patch process common in online computer games. Steam was later revealed as a replacement for much of the dated framework of WON and Half-Life multiplayer and also as a distribution system for entire games.
Between 2002 and 2005, Valve was involved in a complex legal showdown with its publisher, Sierra Entertainment (which was later bought by Vivendi Universal Games, or VUG). It officially began on August 14, 2002 when Valve sued Sierra for copyright infringement, alleging that the publisher illegally distributed copies of their games to Internet cafes. They later added claims of breach of contract, accusing their publisher of withholding royalties and delaying the release of Counter-Strike: Condition Zero until after the holiday season.
Vivendi fought back, saying that Gabe Newell and marketing director Doug Lombardi had misrepresented Valve's position in meetings with the publisher. Vivendi later countersued, claiming that Valve's Steam content distribution system attempted to circumvent their publishing agreement. VUG sought intellectual property rights to Half-Life and a ruling preventing Valve from using Steam to distribute Half-Life 2.
On November 29, 2004, Judge Thomas S. Zilly of U.S. Federal District Court in Seattle ruled in favor of Valve Corporation. Specifically, the ruling stated that Vivendi Universal Games and its affiliates (including Sierra) were not authorized to distribute Valve games, either directly or indirectly, through cyber cafés to end users for pay-to-play activities pursuant to the parties' current publishing agreement. In addition, Judge Zilly ruled that Valve could recover copyright damages for infringements without regard to the publishing agreement's limitation of liability clause.
On April 29, 2005, Valve posted on the Steam website that the two companies had come to a settlement in court. 
The company created a stir at E³ in May 2003 by debuting what appeared to be a surprisingly complete Half-Life 2 and its Source engine. Originally scheduled to be released in September 2003, the game's first delay was announced just weeks before its scheduled release. (Valve later admitted that the game was far from completion.) Just before the delay was announced, a leak of Half-Life 2's source code made worldwide news. At first, Valve called on the FBI, but without results. Then they turned to the internet community, and soon tips came in. A German citizen who went by the name of Axel G. was tried and convicted in United States for the theft. Half-Life 2 was released on November 16, 2004.
In April 2005, Valve announced an expansion pack for Half-Life 2 titled Half-Life 2: Aftermath. During a discussion about Aftermath, Valve's Jess Cliffe reported that news concerning Team Fortress 2 would "soon" be released.
On July 18, 2005, Electronic Arts announced that they would be teaming up with Valve in a multi-year deal to publish their games. EA will first publish the "Game of the Year" edition of Half-Life 2 and Counter-Strike: Source for the PC. They will also publish Half-Life 2 for the Xbox and its expansion pack, Aftermath.
- Half-Life 2
- Half-Life 2: Lost Coast
- Half-Life 2: Aftermath
- Day of Defeat
- Team Fortress Classic
- Team Fortress 2
- List of Half-Life mods
- List of Half-Life 2 mods
- Official Homepage of Valve Corporation
- Official Steam Site
- GameSpot: "The Final Hours of Half Life 2"
- GameSpot: "Valve vs. Vivendi Universal dogfight heats up in US District Court" (20 Sept 2004)
- GameSpot: "The Final Hours of Half-Life: Behind Closed Doors at Valve Corporation"
- People Of Valve Corporation
- Press release about EA Games and Valve