The head of Valve has been a „coronavirus refugee” for more than a quarter year in New Zeland.
Gabe Newell has been in the country since March, and it seems he loves to be there. He showed up in one of the breakfast television programs to thank the people for the hospitality. How did he even get stuck there?
Half-Life: Alyx launched on several VR headsets in March, and after this, Newell decided to take a ten-day holiday in New-Zealand with his Spanish race car driver friend Alex Riberas and his partner, Teagan Klein. „[We were supposed to be here for ten days, but] the pandemic broke out globally [and] we had 48 hours to decide before New Zealand closed their border, and we decided to stay,” Klein said.
„The hardest part [of being in New Zealand] by far is being worried about friends and family who aren’t in New Zealand,” Newell said, and he added that the situation is far different there than in the United States. „When I talk to people back in Seattle it’s a very strange time, it’s very challenging. They’re very isolated, they aren’t able to go out and take advantage of the environment that New Zealand has created itself and visitors like us,” the head of Valve said.
To appreciate the hospitality, Newell, along with Riberas, Klein, and others, has announced a free concert. It will take place in Auckland on August 15. It will have live music, VR stands, and food trucks. It’ll be all ages by day, and 18+ at night.
Why does Newell love New Zealand? „For me, it’s very much about the community spirit, the sense that everyone can come together and solve this super-challenging problem and be welcoming to us as, essentially, COVID refugees. There’s a natural beauty, the fun stuff you can do, but it’s the people that have really made our lives different,” he replied.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, New Zealand has recorded 22 deaths and 1,555 confirmed cases – and those are low numbers!
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