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Most of the fired employees come from the hardware (Steam Box) and mobile divisions

Prepping for the launch of its upcoming Steam Box and expansion onto multiple mobile platforms, gaming giant Valve Corp. is making some major changes to its staff, including firing a number of employees.  The software firm -- which became famous for its Half-Life series, its Source engine, and its Steam game distribution network -- has fired at least 25 employees, according to Gamasutra.  At least eight employees disappeared from a publicly available staff registry, seemingly partially confirming the news.

The casualties include Jeri Ellsworth, a hardware engineer responsible for prototyping the Steam Box controllers, and Jason Holtman, who helped architect the STEAM service and handle developer relations.

The bulk of the cuts appear to be in the hardware and mobile (Android) divisions.  While ostensibly the Steam Box is still on track for a release sometime next year, the cuts raise question about whether Valve is second-guessing the leap into the hardware space.

Gordon from Half Life
Valve is thinning the herd.

Firings are very unusual at Valve.

The Seattle-area company is famous for its outside-the-box management strategy.  There are no bosses, no employee at the company has an official title, and there are no cubicles -- employees migrate their desks around the building to wherever they're working each week in organic fashion.

In the past, most employees who didn't work out left on their own terms without being fired.  Gabe Newell -- who The NYT says is at times referred to as the "CEO" of the company, but only by empty formality -- comments, "I get freaked out any time one person leaves.  It seems like a bug in the system."

Valve employs a little over 300 employees, reportedly, so the cuts may represent as much as 8 percent of the total workforce.  Valve employees told Gamasutra that the company is making "big decisions" and referred to the uncharacteristic firing as "the great cleansing".

Sources: Gamasutra, Develop

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Just finish Half Life 2, PLEASE
By enlil242 on 2/14/2013 3:33:36 PM , Rating: 5
I just wish they finish Episode 3 and conclude Half Life 2. That's all I ask. Valve to me is synonymous with "DELAY" and "WAIT." If I can finish the game I invested so much time and money in, I'd be happy and can be done with this company. I really do not care to hear any more about them unless it's about what I've stated already.

By maugrimtr on 2/15/2013 9:11:19 AM , Rating: 2
I remember HL2. It was one of a handful of games I installed using this newfangled technology called "Steam". Point being that Episode 3 is so far overdue that I doubt it will ever happen. HL3 is more likely but Valve make most of their cash from selling other people's games digitally. I don't doubt that any new HL would be stellar but developing games doesn't seem to be on their priority list.

Surely they need something really compelling to sell on Steam Box? Fingers crossed...

RE: Just finish Half Life 2, PLEASE
By djc208 on 2/15/2013 12:30:11 PM , Rating: 2
Amen! I'm not a huge game player, but they sucked me in with that one and then left me hanging. How can we get Portal 2 already and still no HL2:EP3?!

The only plus side is you can usually expect that if it does come out it will be worth the wait.

RE: Just finish Half Life 2, PLEASE
By Myrandex on 2/15/2013 1:49:39 PM , Rating: 2
This just in...HL2:EP3 is not renamed to Half Life 2 Forever.

RE: Just finish Half Life 2, PLEASE
By Myrandex on 2/15/2013 1:50:09 PM , Rating: 2
now* :(

RE: Just finish Half Life 2, PLEASE
By Mitch101 on 2/17/2013 10:13:46 AM , Rating: 2
I used to be a big fan of HL2 but I would rather have Left 4 Dead 3 but Im sure we will get both.

If your not playing Left 4 Dead especially with all the custom maps and game play your missing out of probably the best games ever. I highly suggest Helms Deep survival map and lets build a rocket.

By terabaSe on 2/18/2013 8:08:18 AM , Rating: 1
If you like mindless, unimaginative shit then maybe L4D is for you. It's basically Gauntlet/Z (or should that be Gauntlet/ZZZzzz...)

By kyleb2112 on 2/16/2013 4:36:08 AM , Rating: 2
They should license it out to another developer. Valve used to do that and we got good games out of it. At this point I would rather have played 6 Half-Life games that rank in the mid 80s, than Gabe Newell's perfect Fabergé egg 20 years in the making. And what are the diminishing returns on time and effort to go from a 92 to a 96 on Metacritic? Too damn high IMO. Gimme a solid 88% and chop off a few years. I just want to go back to that universe. I'm not getting any younger...

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