In a chat with the press in Seattle earlier today, Valve boss Gabe Newell spoke about the effects President Trump’s (temporarily halted) travel ban would have on the company’s employees, along with its esports events.
As reported by PC Gamer, Newell spoke of Valve employees who would be directly impacted were the ban to ever be brought back.
“We have people who work at Valve who can’t go home. They’ve been here for years. They pay taxes. They cheer for New England in the Super Bowl and we try to not hold that against them...
But you know, they can’t leave the country. So, like, there’s some event outside the country, and for the first time we say ‘Wait, they can’t go because they can’t get back.’ So that’s a problem, not just these hypothetical future employees but actual Valve employees. So yeah, that’s a concern for us.”
Newell also spoke of how increased visa scrutiny is a problem for esports, not just Valve’s DOTA 2 efforts but for the scene as a whole, since the upstart industry doesn’t have the popular or legal recognition that athletes and celebrities currently enjoy.
“If you’re an opera singer, it’s pretty easy to get a visa”, Newell said. “Like the State Department kind of understands who these people are. If you’re a Nobel Prize winner, they kind of know who you are.” The implication being that if you’re a professional gamer, they don’t, especially when you remember that in 2014 two teams invited to compete in a DOTA 2 tournament in Seattle were initially denied visas.
There’s more from the chat at PC Gamer.