Valve Corporation is a video game developer and digital distributor, with its headquarters in Bellevue, Washington. It was founded in 1996 at Kirkland, Washington, by Gabe Newell and Mike Harrington, who are former Microsoft employees.
Its debut product, a first person shooter Half-Life, was a commercial success, and in 2004 Valve launched its own digital distribution program, Steam, alongside Half-Life 2. By 2011, more than half of the digital sales of games were done on Steam.
In the esports world, Valve is most famously known for Counter-Strike and Dota 2. Valve sponsors at least two $1 million Counter-Strike tournaments each year, called “Majors,” and sponsors three Dota 2 tournaments every year, including The International, which has the highest prize pool of any esports tournament.
Still, Valve remains under constant scrutiny from the esports community for the perception of being tone deaf or disinterested in it.