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Rumor: Valve Cut Around 25 Staff; Ellisworth Confirmed

By - Source: Gamasutra | B 34 comments

Steam Box controller designer Jeri Ellisworth was fired from Valve, and possibly 24 unconfirmed others.

Gamasutra reports that Valve Software may have cut around 25 of its staff. Reports of the firings began to emerge on Tuesday with an indication that the company is making "large decisions" and going through a "great cleansing." Affected departments include Valve's Android and hardware development efforts.

According to the report, affected employees were asked not to speak about the specifics. But there's speculation that the cuts weren't made over performance issues (as in Valve is cutting the slackers), but that the cuts are driven by "company challenges".

One of those that were fired was Jeri Ellsworth who at one time was publicly talking about Valve's hardware efforts. She worked in the studio's year-old hardware division and indicated that hardware testing would actually begin in 2013. This division was working in tandem with Steam's Big Picture Mode, creating a hardware solution to the control-based limitations found in many titles offered on Valve's Steam platform.

But on early Wednesday morning, Ellsworth confirmed via Twitter that she was fired by Valve without offering any additional details. "Yep. Got fired today," she said. "Time for new exciting projects."

Another victim of the Valve layoff may be Ed Owen, former senior mechanical engineer at Valve. His LinkedIn profile page reveals that his tenure with the studio ended this month, and that he's now moved on to a product development consultancy.

PC Gamer points out that while layoffs happen from time to time, the words "layoff" and "fired" are normally not associated with the popular Half-Life developer. Valve's reputation as one of the most secretive and lucrative studios in the business "underscores this peculiarity of this development."

Agreed. Stay tuned for more as the details continue to slither across the newsroom floor. So far Valve has remained silent on the issue.

 

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Top Comments
  • 23 Hide
    walter87 , February 13, 2013 9:12 PM
    Veritas LavingaValve is overrated, and their Half-Life franchise is stuck in a gutter. Steam is only popular because of Activision-Blizzard's Call of Duty series, and Firaxis' Sid Meier's Civilization V. Team Fortress 2 is terrible cartoon quality, and Black Mesa is superior to Half-Life.


    Steam is not just popular because of a few AAA titles. It is by far the best client to use for PC games (way better than Origin). It has decent sales often.
    The only real issue with it is that it still is a form of DRM.

    Black Mesa is superior to HL for the simple fact that a dedicated mod group recreated HL using the Source engine...something that Valve offers free to all owners of their games (something many other developers are taking mod support away from games).

    For its time (1998), Half-life was among the best games around.


    Now tell me which other developers make it
  • 20 Hide
    internetlad , February 13, 2013 8:48 PM
    BigMack70While my respect levels for Valve are still incredibly high, they are going down each month we get no news about Half Life 3. It's been almost 10 years since Half Life 2, boys..........


    Gabe is too busy planning on how to cater to the console market with the steam box.
  • 18 Hide
    internetlad , February 13, 2013 8:44 PM
    those were probably the guys who were "making" half life 3. Turns out they were just making hats and submitting them to the workshop under different names for extra cash.
Other Comments
    Display all 34 comments.
  • 18 Hide
    internetlad , February 13, 2013 8:44 PM
    those were probably the guys who were "making" half life 3. Turns out they were just making hats and submitting them to the workshop under different names for extra cash.
  • 20 Hide
    internetlad , February 13, 2013 8:48 PM
    BigMack70While my respect levels for Valve are still incredibly high, they are going down each month we get no news about Half Life 3. It's been almost 10 years since Half Life 2, boys..........


    Gabe is too busy planning on how to cater to the console market with the steam box.
  • 23 Hide
    walter87 , February 13, 2013 9:12 PM
    Veritas LavingaValve is overrated, and their Half-Life franchise is stuck in a gutter. Steam is only popular because of Activision-Blizzard's Call of Duty series, and Firaxis' Sid Meier's Civilization V. Team Fortress 2 is terrible cartoon quality, and Black Mesa is superior to Half-Life.


    Steam is not just popular because of a few AAA titles. It is by far the best client to use for PC games (way better than Origin). It has decent sales often.
    The only real issue with it is that it still is a form of DRM.

    Black Mesa is superior to HL for the simple fact that a dedicated mod group recreated HL using the Source engine...something that Valve offers free to all owners of their games (something many other developers are taking mod support away from games).

    For its time (1998), Half-life was among the best games around.


    Now tell me which other developers make it
  • 12 Hide
    techinator9000 , February 13, 2013 9:16 PM
    Veritas LavingaValve is overrated, and their Half-Life franchise is stuck in a gutter. Steam is only popular because of Activision-Blizzard's Call of Duty series, and Firaxis' Sid Meier's Civilization V. Team Fortress 2 is terrible cartoon quality, and Black Mesa is superior to Half-Life.


    TF2 is one of the better multiplayer shooters out there. Unique, well balanced, and frequently tweaked. The cartoonish graphics are deliberate, as it's supposed to be whimsical.

    Unlike many other games, you cannot "win" by yourself. Good teamplay is pretty much forced.

    Also, I think the whole "no 3" business at Valve might be a marketing thing. Look how much interest there is because of it (think "meme").
  • 2 Hide
    techinator9000 , February 13, 2013 9:17 PM
    Plus, Valve is savvy enough to even take user made mods and incorporate them if popular enough. They respond to demand well (ok, maybe not regarding the whole HL3 business :p ) Tell me one other company that does that.
  • 6 Hide
    joytech22 , February 13, 2013 9:22 PM
    BigMack70While my respect levels for Valve are still incredibly high, they are going down each month we get no news about Half Life 3. It's been almost 10 years since Half Life 2, boys..........


    Wow, HλLF-LIFE 2 is getting old! I honestly didn't realize how old it was because it still looks like a semi-recent game.

    I suppose Valve don't want HλLF-LIFE 3 to be a flop. They work pretty hard on their games for replay-ability nowdays and guess what? It works.
  • 7 Hide
    back_by_demand , February 13, 2013 9:29 PM
    walter87The only real issue with it is that it still is a form of DRM

    You are saying that like it's a bad thing, it has allowed game developers the confidence to make a product knowing it will not be rampantly pirated, leading the way for price reductions that benefit everybody
    ...
    Some DRMs are bad, like the ones that enforce always on internet, but Steams imlementation has been almost invisible. It is seamless, non-intrusive and works.
    ...
    Remove the DRM and watch game studios abandon all PC development leaving only consoles, which not only have their won form of DRM but also enforce a hardware choice on you as well and the ever present risk of non-backwards compatability when the next gen comes out - Steam has allowed me to replay games that haven't seen light of day since the days of DOS and the prices are fantastic
  • 4 Hide
    bustapr , February 13, 2013 9:34 PM
    Veritas LavingaValve is overrated, and their Half-Life franchise is stuck in a gutter. Steam is only popular because of Activision-Blizzard's Call of Duty series, and Firaxis' Sid Meier's Civilization V. Team Fortress 2 is terrible cartoon quality, and Black Mesa is superior to Half-Life.

    so much shit in this post I dont know where to start...

    is a game with a cartoonish art style really bad? no. variety of art styles is always a good thing in gaming industry. tf2 is a multiplayer behemoth whose community has been growing rapidly since 2007 with no signs of dying any time soon, and its because people find the game fun and balanced.

    black mesa is a mod that took years of volunteer work using valves own surce SDK. There are many MANY widely popular releases on steam, and the reason its popular is because most publishers trust Valves form of DRM. most customers also prefer this form of drm above most other horrid ones.

    HL2 set a big benchmark for valve. They have to make HL3 so that is just as, or more enjoyable than HL2. and its been said by gabe and other staff that HL3 has had a few revisions and builds, but the game isnt up to the level of HL2. its being made, we just have to wait until they make it amazing.
  • -2 Hide
    wildkitten , February 13, 2013 9:51 PM
    This rather indicates a change of direction for Steam. That maybe they felt like hardware, at least at this time, was moving to far to fast.
  • 0 Hide
    tomfreak , February 13, 2013 10:25 PM
    back_by_demandYou are saying that like it's a bad thing, it has allowed game developers the confidence to make a product knowing it will not be rampantly pirated, leading the way for price reductions that benefit everybody...Some DRMs are bad, like the ones that enforce always on internet, but Steams imlementation has been almost invisible. It is seamless, non-intrusive and works....Remove the DRM and watch game studios abandon all PC development leaving only consoles, which not only have their won form of DRM but also enforce a hardware choice on you as well and the ever present risk of non-backwards compatability when the next gen comes out - Steam has allowed me to replay games that haven't seen light of day since the days of DOS and the prices are fantastic
    majority game development has been abandoning PC for a while already. Vast majority of games has been optimized for console and POORLY ported over to PC.

    I so wish Gabe could use Steam box to kill off these 2 consoles. There is nothing more happy than seeing these 2 consoles FAIL, and I hope their next gen console FAIL as much as their mobile console counterparts.
  • -3 Hide
    Silent Ricochet , February 13, 2013 10:30 PM
    Not a surprise when you consider they're hardly making any money. When was the last time Valve released a game? Seriously. I know we're all waiting for Episode 3 (or HL3 at this point) but they're focusing all of their efforts on the damned console market and completely ignoring their roots (PC market). I stopped playing TF2 and DODS a while ago, they were great games but got stale a few years down the road.

    I will always love the Half Life series, but Christ I was 8 when Half Life 1 came out, I'm 21 now. I'm playing less and less games over the years as age comes with responsibility. If Valve doesn't act soon, they'll completely miss the entire generation that's responsible for making Half Life and Counterstrike the epic titles that they are today. You won't see me rushing onto Steam or Gamestop at the age of 25 when I have a job/career, car payment, loans to pay off and rent to scrounge for.

    Valve. Make HL3 (episode 3 - whatever) before you lose an entire generation of fans.
  • -7 Hide
    p05esto , February 13, 2013 10:41 PM
    Steam sucks. I rebuilt a computer and the stupid system didn't even remember my game saves. That was the first and last time I use a crappy DRM system like that. I pretty much stopped playing games once DRM and all of that crap ruined te experience. The stupid thing couldn't even remember my game progress, I would have thought that would have been the #1 job of a system like that. What the hell else is it good for (for consumers?).
  • -4 Hide
    reprotected , February 13, 2013 11:02 PM
    I'm going to leave this here: Apple.
  • 0 Hide
    greghome , February 13, 2013 11:15 PM
    Valve fired 25 staff?
    Most of the time when we hear companies firing people on this site, the figure's more like 25%, not 25 :lol: 
  • 6 Hide
    retrophe , February 13, 2013 11:16 PM
    Silent Ricochet You won't see me rushing onto Steam or Gamestop at the age of 25 when I have a job/career, car payment, loans to pay off and rent to scrounge for. Valve. Make HL3 (episode 3 - whatever) before you lose an entire generation of fans.


    LOL You'd be surprised, you may not buy as many games or as often, but as long as good games come out you'll still find time. I'm 34 and still do (helps that my wife likes to play games too).
  • -4 Hide
    wildkitten , February 13, 2013 11:26 PM
    Tomfreakmajority game development has been abandoning PC for a while already. Vast majority of games has been optimized for console and POORLY ported over to PC. I so wish Gabe could use Steam box to kill off these 2 consoles. There is nothing more happy than seeing these 2 consoles FAIL, and I hope their next gen console FAIL as much as their mobile console counterparts.

    How would a console by Steam be any different? A console is a console. It will not be upgradeable, it will use a single hardware spec, and likely would use slightly older hardware like current consoles for the various reasons the current ones do as well.

    If anything the Steam console would feature games optimized for it, and may not even be ported to the PC.
  • 2 Hide
    robochump , February 13, 2013 11:34 PM
    internetladthose were probably the guys who were "making" half life 3. Turns out they were just making hats and submitting them to the workshop under different names for extra cash.


    Naw, they were caught outsourcing their work to China....lol.
  • -1 Hide
    Kami3k , February 14, 2013 12:39 AM
    Silent RicochetNot a surprise when you consider they're hardly making any money.


    So how many braincells do you have?

    I keep on seeing this "special" argument over and over again.

    Valve owns and runs Steam, by far the most popular digital distribution service. Valve isn't worth 3 billion, probably more by now, because of it's games.
  • 2 Hide
    alextheblue , February 14, 2013 12:47 AM
    wildkittenHow would a console by Steam be any different? A console is a console. It will not be upgradeable, it will use a single hardware spec, and likely would use slightly older hardware like current consoles for the various reasons the current ones do as well.If anything the Steam console would feature games optimized for it, and may not even be ported to the PC.
    I agree with most of what you're saying, but the Steam Box may actually be modular and upgradable. However, that flexibility quickly becomes a double-edged sword. Now you're creating different hardware specs among your userbase, and the hardware will very likely cost more than MS/Sony consoles. At that point why not just stick with PC?
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