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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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Dead weight
By HrilL on 2/14/2013 4:05:35 PM , Rating: -1
Face it these people were probably dead weight. Valve just jumped into the hardware marketing and mobile and when a company first gets into new markets it is no uncommon to make bad hiring decisions. People lie in interviews. They don't actually know what they said they did. They don't work very hard. A lot of factors can be made for firing/laying people off. At our company New software engineers seem to come and go. Most last but some don't and we get rid of the dead weight. Too many companies keep lazy worthless people around now days. Sure it sucks to fire people I know I have shut off all their accounts and retrieve their company issued devices. But if you don't do it then you're be worse off in the long run.

RE: Dead weight
By FITCamaro on 2/15/2013 8:09:58 AM , Rating: 3
I think you need to read who some of these guys were.

RE: Dead weight
By drycrust3 on 2/16/2013 9:40:08 PM , Rating: 1
Face it these people were probably dead weight.

You have no idea why these people were let go. As we saw after the death of Steve Jobs, one of his favourites was given the boot because he was too highly innovative. Another highly innovative person at Microsoft was also given the heave ho about the same time.
It could be some of these people were just too innovative for the management, so they were told to clear their desks. If that is the case, then the problem Valve faces is their management wouldn't know the loss their anti-innovation drive has cost them.

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