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 (opens in new tab), 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.