Valve co-founder and CEO Gabe Newell may have lost many of his American supporters through the years, but in China, he is still a beloved icon in the video game community.
While still celebrated in the gaming community in the U.S., many have been disappointed that the long overdue sequel for Half-Life games has yet to be released.
Newell, estimated to have a net worth of $3.5 billion, is affectionately called “Gaben” in the U.S. or “G Fat” in China. In China, where Valve runs a service that provides Chinese gamers access to games that bypass the country’s strict censorship, Newell has become something of a “savior,” reports Abacus.
This reverence is perfectly illustrated in a viral image in which a Chinese man is shown kneeling before Newell while handing over his wallet to him. The image was done in jest by a fan in Shanghai who attended TI9, a gaming tournament for Dota 2, a game developed and published by Valve.
“To our god, G Fat, we hand over our wallets,” a Weibo user commented.
The photo has since gone viral and Reddit users chimed in with creative captions.
Newell has earned the reputation of a carefree gamer at heart and has generated countless memes in China.
Another reason for his adoration in China are the frequent steep discounts Valve’s Steam platform offers that an estimated 30 million users enjoy. Through Steam, Chinese gamers are also able to buy games that are typically not available or would be censored in the country.
Newell is so popular in China that he even has his own pack of WeChat stickers, a series of animated gifs that are used in chat messages.
We Chat, the most popular messaging app in China, now has an emoji/sticker pack dedicated to Gabe Newell……. pic.twitter.com/HJNVE90a44
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) December 17, 2016
His likeness is even used to sell LONGD plus-sized underwear in China.
Another viral image of Newell in China shows that his personable and authentic persona has endeared him to many. In the photo, Newell is sitting alone on a stone ball casually playing with a tablet on a busy street in Shanghai.
One user even photoshopped Keanu Reeves in the photo.