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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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By ClownPuncher on 2/14/2013 3:53:42 PM , Rating: 3
Short sighted, eh?


By NellyFromMA on 2/14/2013 4:03:36 PM , Rating: 1
I think so. It's an opinion obviously. I was reading his interview or whatnot from I guess CES where he was outlining his vision which didn't really sound too different than what the passed 10 years for the PC space have been.

Personally, I like steam although when it first released it was a TOTAL PILE OF CRAP. That said, it has evolved nicely.

However, Steam absolutely could exist in an RT or iOS world. He doesn't want to because essentially he is having an inferiority complex. That's what I draw from his comments.

The only one non-blah part of his vision is regarding new interfaces / inputs, however even in this regard no new input has come out that has ENHANCED gaming. Maybe there will be one, almost surely even.

When that breakthroug will happen, idk. That breakthrough could happen without Gabe's little pout shout though.

Valve can make great games, even though they're only made one phenomenal one and a bunch of little good ones. There service is good, but do I think the Steam box is going to somehow save gaming? Not right now; he instills no confidence in me.

So, yes, I gather from his vision that my nephew could have also thought a new input would supercede keyboard, mouse touch and controller. But he, like Gabe, probably doesn' tknow what its going to be.


RE: Well someone's gotta pay for the whale to eat..
By jwcalla on 2/15/2013 1:46:16 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Steam absolutely could exist in an RT or iOS world


How so? Third-party stores are prohibited on those platforms.


RE: Well someone's gotta pay for the whale to eat..
By Visual on 2/15/2013 7:18:48 AM , Rating: 2
A single "app" downloaded through the official store, which treats games as extra content, not separate "apps", billing you with the available in-app purchase feature, etc? That still gives a large cut of the profits to MS/Apple so is a drawback, but is at least possible.

Also, both platforms' sideloading restrictions can be easily circumvented technically. As to the legal side of things... I don't know. I personally feel the restrictions imposed by Apple/MS on my legally bought personal device go against any logic, fair use, etc. I should be able to do anything and run any software on my property. And this should be easy to win in court the first time anyone grows the balls to actually take it there.


By Wererat on 2/15/2013 9:15:15 AM , Rating: 2
Yep, some of these exist in the gamespace now; the free app serves as a portal (pun very intended) to additional content.

A non-gaming example would be the Wired app which give you nothing itself, unless you use the app to subsequently purchase and read issues of Wired.


By NellyFromMA on 2/15/2013 2:12:35 PM , Rating: 2
In App sales are permissible for a a cut in both iOS and WinRT.


By Milliamp on 2/15/2013 2:22:39 AM , Rating: 2
I think they have made more than just one phenomenal game.

Half Life, Portal, Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress, and Counter Strike are all phenomenal.

Not only are they great but they have brought some original ideas with hem as well.

Dota 2 looks like it will be good too but class balance is something that is really difficult to master.

I wasn't sure about steam when I first tried it either but now I love it.

Valve itself is a phenomenal company with very little management overhead and the way they just kind of let people do what they are passionate about. They have a large freight elevator and they put wheels on desks and let people mostly just wheel their desk around and work on what ever team they want. It is a very different kind of company.

I'm not ashamed to admit I'm rooting for them to succeed.


By Milliamp on 2/15/2013 2:33:53 AM , Rating: 2
Replying to update, but I wanted to respond to you criticizing their future strategy as too similar to the last 10 years.

What is so wrong with PC gaming right now? I'm buying a lot of really good games and I think I'm getting a lot of value.

The problem is companies are trying to shut out valve by controlling the whole environment and all software sales for their platform. Valve who is mostly just looking for a means to keep distributing games is absolutely the good guy in this.


By NellyFromMA on 2/15/2013 2:17:51 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not really saying PC gaming is somehow not ok in its current state.

What i AM saying is that Gabe's vision does not differ in any meaningul way, other than defining a couple of Hardware tiers that could very easily already be done today and all games support configuration of video settings so non-issue as it stands.

My point is that just because WinRT and iOS are options doesn't mean Windows 7 and 8 and OS X have suddenly vanished and we'll never see them again.

Consumers will decide that, and I just doubt they will decide en masse to abandon those platforms. We just need lighter mobile Os'es not replacements for our full-fledged systems.

Gabe wants to paint the picture that the sky is falling, but its not. He only thinks so and is trying to ride a train of controvery that frankly doesn't actually exist.

Valve can sell game instore. MANY APPS on iOS and WinRT to this. Its allowed. How dare they want a peice of the pie you say? Different topic altogether.

Saying Steam cannot exist in these envorinments is a lie. Saying GGabe's vision for gaming and computing is somehow different than whats already been out there is also not true.

Explain to me what Valve is going to do to fundementally change gaming? Maybe someone can do that without downrating me to hide the truth lol


By NellyFromMA on 2/15/2013 2:31:55 PM , Rating: 2
Also, don't get me wrong; I don't hate Valve or Steam, as I mentioned before.

Rather, I think Gabe is not suited to carry through the vision he outlines and don't personally beleive its ambitious compared to the state of PC gaming as it currently has been for 10 years.

Ironically, I find it only ambitous in the sense that it is so outside of Valve's strong suit and after following up on details thusfar, I'm very unconvinced that there's even a need for a Steam box other than Gabe's ego being shunted by the world evolving around him.

It's an opinion. One I'm not ashamed to have either. Do I want Steam to succeed, sure why not. I don't care if they do or don't all that much because frankly Id on't think they've done anything so amazing that they are somehow a leader in gaming.

Bottom line is Gabe is angry because if he wants to expand into the mobile space, he's gonna have to pay Apple or MS a peice of the pie because thats where mobile is trending and infact already at. He doesn't like this because he has no alternative, so he's trying to make an option for himself. Great. Do I think he's going to execute it well. No.


By NellyFromMA on 2/15/2013 2:22:07 PM , Rating: 2
Like I said, a couple of phenominal games and a couple of small good ones.

Half-life phenominal. Left 4 Dead good enough hardly phenominal (you know, you have to earn that in my book). Counterstrike, a small good game with a cult following. I played CS for a LONG time when it was new and when it wasn't anymore and while it was fun, it was never phenominal.

Saying Left 4 dead and CS are phenominal and in the same class as Halflife just isn't true to me. It's an opinion and you're entitled to yours for sure as I am mine.

Are Left 4 Dead and CS good games, even great? Depends who you are. L4D is good IMO, CS is great FOR WHAT IT WAS, which was a small little mod. Thats what Valve does.

Little mods become slightly bigger stand alone games. They do this way more often than release blockbusters like Half life, forwhich only that series stands out as phenominal to me.

Hopefully I've made my points more clear, but I suspect people (not you necessarily) are just repulsed by opinions that differ from their own 'facts'.


RE: Well someone's gotta pay for the whale to eat..
By Piiman on 2/16/2013 8:18:35 AM , Rating: 2
Your point is only your opinion and what YOU thought of their games.
My opinion of their games is totally different than your, go figure.

In short your opinion of their games is not nessarily what the masses think. (nor or mine for that matter)


By TakinYourPoints on 2/17/2013 11:30:47 PM , Rating: 2
All this and rarely ever a mention of DOTA 2 around these parts.

Bunch of casuals all up in here. ;)


"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller











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