When you say "Electronic Arts" and "Valve" in the same sentence, most gamers will likely point to the digital distribution tussle currently going on between the two. Electronic Arts wants its platform, Origin, to become one of Steam's biggest competitors, and Origin has garnered a lot of negative comments in the past couple of years because of that. Valve and Electronic Arts have always had a seemingly close relationship though, and it might surprise some to hear that at one point, Electronic Arts was considering purchasing Valve, as The New York Times is reporting today.
The New York Times doesn't give a specific timeline for the proposed buyout, but says that at the time, Valve would have been valued at "well over $1 billion" if talks between the two companies had actually progressed that far. It seems that talks didn't really go anywhere, and there's a pretty good reason for that, as Gabe Newell says that Valve isn't a studio we can expect to see bought out by a larger company anytime soon.
Instead, we should expect Valve to "disintegrate" before its ever bought out, with its workers going their separate ways. "It’s way more likely we would head in that direction than say, ‘Let’s find some giant company that wants to cash us out and wait two or three years to have our employment agreements terminate," Newell said. So no, you don't have to worry about another company buying out Valve and forcing the studio to change.
For the record, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter says that Valve is likely worth in the area of $2.5 billion. That number seems a little closer to the mark than EA's $1 billion valuation, and it may even be a bit a higher than Pachter estimates, given the immense success of Steam and Valve's library of incredibly popular game series. So, how about it - do you think Valve would be any different today if it had been bought out by Electronic Arts?