Layoffs at Valve - Report

[UPDATE] Half-Life house reportedly lays off as many as 25 developers as part of "large decisions" about company's future; director of business Jason Holtman also out.

[UPDATE] Develop reports that Valve director of business Jason Holtman has left the company.

The original story follows below

Half-Life and Counter-Strike developer Valve Software has enacted a round of layoffs as the company contemplates "large decisions" about its future, Gamasutra reports today.

This follows news that Valve hardware engineer Jeri Ellsworth was fired earlier this week.

An exact layoff headcount was not divulged, though the site has heard descriptions of the event as a "great cleansing" and "large decisions." As many as 25 staffers may have been let go, though this is not confirmed.

The layoffs reportedly affected more than one department, coming from the company's hardware and Android development teams. Valve has yet to comment on the rumor.

Speaking last month at the University of Texas, Valve founder Gabe Newell discussed the company's "sink or swim" culture and said it needed to be "aggressive" about firing people.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Want the latest news about Portal 2?

Portal 2

Portal 2

Discussion

160 comments
shruteshkumar
shruteshkumar

Well at least we know that the reasons are not financial xD

SEEDman_X
SEEDman_X

I am really curious about what the big move is.  However, I don't think it's a financial decision, since Gabe resisted selling the company or going public.  For him, money isn't the biggest issue, PLUS Valve is doing very well financially!

osxgp
osxgp

Here is a concept Valve, try working on what people want: Half Life 3, L4D 3, Portal 3. Maybe even work on a new Source Engine.

philMcCrevis
philMcCrevis

thats what they get for never delivering Half Life 2 Episode 3.  and also for coming out with a new software title every 10 years

jkim161
jkim161

Valve probably decided to work with an outside company for their hardware products instead of developing them internally. That's probably why they did the layoffs. This is just speculation of course.

jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

First off, rough time for the employees, hope they got some kind of notice and or healthy severance packages. Layoff/termination of jobs is one of the most difficult times in anyones life. 

After reading gamesindustryinternational, valve has possibly laid off employees across the company from artists, game testers, to dept heads. The way I see it, there are a couple ways of looking at it: 1 steambox device is out, new changes to network are completed, and valve/steam is just contracting like any other company after pushing a new line. 2 The other is, projected sales forecasts for the next couple of years will be harsher then previously thought. All computer video games sales decrease when new consoles come to market for a couple of years and then bounce back late in the consoles life. 

Either way steam will be fine and continue to grow and perform well, especially once they release their new games. Steam sales will be luke warm for the next couple of years and the steambox, I think, will not get enough penetration to have been worth the development. Still yet steam is the future whether you agree with the way they distribute their games or not. 

Today, businesses hire and fire like teenage girls on facebook. It is to keep the company nimble and flexible to changes in the industry. Well I feel those companies that develop talent and endure hard stormy times instead of throwing people overboard at the first sign of clouds do much better long term. A lot of companies will not hire for yearly contracts for fear of losing talent to competitors or losing ideas if a worker knows their contract will be up in a year. Still when you surprise fire and lay off your employees not many will bother coming back to a company that puts business over everything else, especially its  people.  


MatrixGamer78
MatrixGamer78

Valve is swimming hard to surivive but a fact is that it is about to sink..

raduz123
raduz123

All I know is I want Half-Life 3, if it doesn't happen I am going to kick steam to death.

HiddenWarrior
HiddenWarrior

I've have seen a lot of layoffs in the industry world lately and this one seems the most sad one to me.

Any way, I'm hoping Valve will stabilize their company soon enough so they don't lose any staff by resignation.

nate1222
nate1222

To all the bed wetters worrying about the layoffs: Most of those folks probably have bank and side gigs. So they should be okay.

To everyone who thinks Gabe is Jesus: Remember, Steam uses DRM. Which means they can stiff you blind anytime they see it profitable. Last time I checked, very few 'businesses' were clean. Very, very few.

Sam3231
Sam3231

hahah what would Gaben know about swimming?

AwesomeIRL
AwesomeIRL

Maybe if they'd actually release a game they wouldn't have to lay off people.

Wru Half Life 3? 

Patohua1
Patohua1

Man that's rough. Though this may have something to do with a potential major lawsuit being launched against them

Unholy123
Unholy123

It all depends really I mean we can all sit here and speculate but none of us have their actually track record or their work history perhaps these were infact somewhat dead weights who hung around and never contributed much or perhaps they were unjustly fired who knows. 

Personally I'm curious to see what comes of it as many have all ready said Valve is not hurting in terms of profits unlike Sony who's cutting and slashing ATM to try and get the books back in the black.

nemes1s3000
nemes1s3000

Valve is a company that needs people who can work on their own, and not follow orders or what others have to say. Notice that the majority of the laid off are developers. Valve is a sink or swim company, and if you cannot keep up with their kind of mind set, then you are not cut out to be an employee.

That's where EA comes in and swallows the left overs. ^_^ Joking, of course.

Daian
Daian

I wonder what's the exact reasoning behind this, clearly it's not money. Odd.

Sardinar
Sardinar

I trust Gaben. 

Let's not come to conclusions simply because we don't know anything.

pip3dream
pip3dream

My thoughts are that they are maybe reconsidering going into the hardware field.  it's just such a hard way to make profits.

pip3dream
pip3dream

Valve has never been an easy going company to work for.  Even reading their manual, its an extremely competitve place to work - just like the article says - its very much a sink or swim company.  i think its great to really cultivate some of the best of the best,  but i also know some great programmers and designers who were scared off from working at valve due to the somewhat cut throat culture of the company.

Deadly_Nemesis
Deadly_Nemesis

Am I the only one getting a little worried here?

I mean Valve firing people? Easy going Valve?

And fuck EA is actually making sense this week....this can not be good.

gamespot2DBOne
gamespot2DBOne

@jeebs213 yeah and we all know waht could come allong or arrive with a hl3,,whispering;p,,hushhush;p

jamesbigmac
jamesbigmac

@osxgp I have a sneaking suspicion they are waiting to make a new Source Engine so that they can make a new Half-Life entry. That's my theory.

philMcCrevis
philMcCrevis

@jenovaschilld you are right about that point - that a layoff is a difficult time for people.  I had to fire a guy one time and he threatened to kill himself :(  Ugh man.  i spent an hour talking him down.  getting fired is probably only 2nd to your woman cheating on you, getting cancer or losing a child

Richardthe3rd
Richardthe3rd

@MatrixGamer78 Pretty much the most willfully ignorant thing you could've said on the subject.

Congratulations, it's not easy to be that completely out of touch.

philMcCrevis
philMcCrevis

@MatrixGamer78 dude Valve is a very very very successful business.  layoffs are just part of the world and dont mean the company is dead.  they just really really really need to get their focus back on games.  i'm losing my patience for the Half life series

philMcCrevis
philMcCrevis

@raduz123 lol.  thanks for the chuckle on that one.  i'd prefer slapping them to death like that commercial for Social Media ROI

philMcCrevis
philMcCrevis

@nate1222 do you realize that with many PC games as many as 80%% of the gamers stole the game?  The witcher had an estimated 4x more players that had stolen the game than those that bought it.  Something has to stop piracy and as lousy as DRM is, its better than no protection at all.  i wish someone would figure out piracy protection that doesn't infuriate gamers

spammehardo
spammehardo

@nate1222 I don't see how it would be in valve's best interest to piss off their fans and customers. Pc isn't a console and there are plenty of competitors out their to keep them from going totally mad with power.

danielwd
danielwd

@nate1222 Also if they were considered good enough for valve at one point then they should be able to get a brand new job if they don't have any side jobs.

philMcCrevis
philMcCrevis

@AwesomeIRL man no doubt.  what the EFffff is going on with Valve?  they've released like 2 games in the last 20 phucking years and i'm getting sick of waiting.  i waited 12 years or whatever for Diablo 3 and its a complete piece of phucking chit.  HL3 better not be the same or i'm hanging up my keyboard and mouse

aussiemuscle
aussiemuscle

@Daian when is it ever NOT about money? 99% of 'redundancies' are companies trying to reduce their expenditure.

philMcCrevis
philMcCrevis

@jamesbigmac @osxgp they may want to hurry before all the fans of the original HL die of old age.  i mean come on man its been almost 20 years and they totally left us hanging on Ep 3.  i'm still pissed off about that one.  and i don't care how many critics love Portal.  it was an interesting diversion but its very short lived and not an adequate replacement for HLE3

MatrixGamer78
MatrixGamer78

@MAD_AI @MatrixGamer78 So u r still alive!!

nate1222
nate1222

@philMcCrevis Where do you get this "80%%" s___? I literally don't know anyone who has pirated The Witcher.

Are you a shareholder or something? Because it's quite typical of an industry-head to side with anti-consumer practices.

Figures. You think Gabe is Jesus. He ain't the devil. But he sure as Hell ain't Jesus either.

MAD_AI
MAD_AI

@MatrixGamer78 @MAD_AI 

That absolutly made no sense whatsoever, tho it shouldn't be a surprise considering your previous posts.

Why would the Greek deity of retribution and vengeance be praising God?

MAD_AI
MAD_AI

@MatrixGamer78 

Of course, nearly had a heart attack reading your comments, but praise God, I'm alive and well. 

Richardthe3rd
Richardthe3rd

@nate1222 So basically what you're saying is that Gabe isn't completely good or bad, and is pretty much just like almost everything else that has ever existed anywhere.

I'll stay tuned; you really seem to know how to lay down the shockers.