Gabe Newell, CEO and founder of the digital game distribution platform, Steam, recently announced that he will be launching, of all things, a garden gnome, into space. Instead of doing it just for kicks like Elon Musk and his personal Roadster, Newell’s intention is for a more charitable cause.
Newell says that he teamed up with the people over at the aerospace manufacturer, Rocket Lab, in order to make sending his gnome – it’s actually a Half-Life icon that goes by the name of “Gnome Chompski” – out into the vastness of space. As to where the charity part comes in; Newell says that he will donate US$1 (~RM4.16) to the Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand. For every person who tunes into the official livestream of the launch.
As to why a children’s hospital in New Zealand, the simple answer is because Newell has been living in the Southern Hemisphere country for most of this year, in order to escape the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It’s easy to see why too; New Zealand is one of only a handful of countries that have managed to successfully curb the spread of the infection not once, but twice.
The man’s charity to help an inanimate object to fulfil its dreams of seeing space doesn’t end there either. Newell is also reportedly planning on convincing New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, to temporarily relocate game developers into the country, without having to worry terribly about the pandemic.