Report: Valve hit with layoffs; 'large decisions' ahead

Reports are beginning to surface that employee-friendly Valve Software is in the process of making "large decision" about the company's future, resulting in the layoff of as many as 25 employees from multiple departments.

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Updates with Develop report of Valve's director of business leaving the company.

Reports are beginning to surface that employee-friendly Valve Software is in the process of making "large decision" about the company's future, resulting in the layoff of as many as 25 employees from multiple departments.

Gamasutra has confirmed that multiple people had been let go from the hardware and Android departments. The site said that the number 25 has been bandied about, but that is unconfirmed, and that those affected had used phrase like "great cleaning" and "large decisions" related to the terminations. In addition, engineer Jeri Ellsworth tweeted yesterday that she had been "fired," and senior mechanical engineer Ed Owen's LinkedIn profile (via PC Gamer) reflected an end to his employment this month.

Develop is also reporting that Jason Holtman, Valve's director of business and a primary go-between with developers using Steam, has left the company as well.

We have reached out to Valve for a statement and will update as more information becomes available.

Contributing Editor
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From The Chatty
  • reply
    February 13, 2013 11:30 AM

    John Keefer posted a new article, Report: Valve hit with layoffs; 'large decisions' ahead.

    Reports are beginning to surface that employee-friendly Valve Software is in the process of making "large decision" about the company's future, resulting in the layoff of as many as 25 employees from multiple departments.

    • reply
      February 13, 2013 11:33 AM

      Maybe they backed off from the steam box idea?

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 11:34 AM

        Maybe hl3 went gold.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 11:39 AM

        yeah it all seems to be hardware and mobile games people so far. if they are deciding that the steam box thing isn't such a hot project, bullet dodged, I'd say.

        maybe they finally got to see what the next gen of Xbox/Playstation are going to be, and that opened some eyes.

        • reply
          February 13, 2013 11:48 AM

          Sony contacts Valve, Steam to be PS4 exclusive. You heard it hear first!

          • reply
            February 13, 2013 12:10 PM

            That could be possible, but it seems like it would be very unlikely.

            • reply
              February 13, 2013 12:12 PM

              So it's unlikely possible? Or possibly unlikely?

              • reply
                February 14, 2013 4:30 AM

                did you weigh all your decisions in Fallout3 like that?

        • reply
          February 13, 2013 12:16 PM

          Maybe Gabe's meetings at CES didn't go as well as planned.

        • reply
          February 13, 2013 3:36 PM

          I agree completely. I wasn't really feeling it, but I didn't know enough about it. Seemed messy though.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 11:58 AM

        Probably couldn't rally enough Linux support from developers?

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 6:07 PM

        Yeah, hopefully they came to do their senses, jesus.

    • reply
      February 13, 2013 11:35 AM

      It's the entire Episode 3 team.

      lol no it'll be for the 25 currently employed TF2 hat designers

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 12:19 PM

        They probably easily earn their salaries thrice over.

    • reply
      February 13, 2013 11:48 AM

      wtf. i know they put a media blackout ever since team fortress 2 back in 1999, but it would be nice to have some clue as to how many games they are developing at once, how many they've scrapped, etc. it's strange that they'd be having a layoff at this point..it only leads fans to worry about HL3 and make baseless speculation.

    • reply
      February 13, 2013 12:07 PM

      They should sell some kind of game

    • reply
      February 13, 2013 12:09 PM

      Bad news, very bad news for the steambox project and linux support there. I'd guess this is the beginning of the end for both at Valve.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 12:11 PM

        Steambox is probably just a variation of Nvidia Shield technology now. Getting developers to create straight Linux ports was probably just too much of a challenge.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 12:14 PM

        My totally random guess: They point of the steambox was leverage and they've probably gotten the reassurances they wanted from various parties that their needs will be met. Leverage not longer needed and now jettisoned along with a few thousand screaming linux fans, into the void.

    • reply
      February 13, 2013 12:13 PM

      This might explain why the Steambox made a kind of cameo appearance ahead of the E3. It's just not going to happen. At least not right now.

    • reply
      February 13, 2013 12:15 PM

      Steam must be in dire straights, all our games are soon to be lost!

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 12:26 PM

        Don't even joke dude.

        • reply
          February 13, 2013 1:35 PM

          a good point, I'd freak out. Not even in jest. I apologize to the community.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 12:44 PM

        But remember all the 360 discs that got smashed? Who's going to laugh then?

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 1:50 PM

        THE END IS NIGH! REPENT SINNERS REPENT!!

      • reply
        February 14, 2013 1:21 AM

        Abandon ship! Set sails for the dreaded sails of Origin

      • reply
        February 14, 2013 4:18 AM

        NP we'll move to UPLAY!

        • reply
          February 14, 2013 4:49 AM

          Origin will always stay true to what gamers want.

          • reply
            February 15, 2013 8:52 AM

            So you are the EA version of a Steam Fan Boi?

    • reply
      February 13, 2013 12:18 PM

      My guess is Sony will be using Steam for it's digital distribution channel on the PS4. That's the only thing that would make the Steam Box irrelevant.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 12:23 PM

        i would really like that. the new version of PSN is clunky, and they never did anything with PS3 Steam other than Portal 2

        • reply
          February 13, 2013 6:07 PM

          The new PSN is wayyyy better than the previous one. They just took way to damn long to actually implement it.

          • reply
            February 14, 2013 5:45 PM

            Disagree. It's very slow and clunky.

    • reply
      February 13, 2013 12:18 PM

      at valve everyone can fire each other 'cause there are no bosses

    • reply
      February 13, 2013 12:18 PM

      They fired the head of their hardware department and their controller person, along with other "android" people. This has to mean the end to the internal valve linux version of the streambox, at the very least.

    • reply
      February 13, 2013 12:19 PM

      25 out of how many people work at valve?

    • reply
      February 13, 2013 12:20 PM

      I say good, get back to the core business.

    • reply
      February 13, 2013 12:23 PM

      There are a lot of possibilities here. Maybe Valve partnered with a hardware provider and doesn't need in-house staff for that concern anymore?

      I'd love to see something like steambox, but it seems like it's an idea that's ripe for fruition in a few years. Let the next gen of consoles come out and get a bit old, then seize the living room.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 12:26 PM

        Personally I think nVidia's Shield project is doing the same thing that Valve was.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 12:28 PM

        "Maybe Valve partnered with a hardware provider and doesn't need in-house staff for that concern anymore?"

        For those of us who like the steambox idea, this really is the last, best hope.

        • reply
          February 13, 2013 12:29 PM

          Also, reading various reports, it talks about staff being reduced due to "redundancies", which would give credence to your idea.

        • reply
          February 13, 2013 12:30 PM

          It sort of makes sense. Especially if they can still do what they want with controllers, etc.

          It's not like MS and Sony don't partner with hardware manufacturers to get their shit done. Hell, the new PS and Xbox are almost identical in their hardware.

        • reply
          February 13, 2013 12:33 PM

          maybe the PS4 is your steambox

          • reply
            February 13, 2013 12:39 PM

            Yeah, I'm thinking this might be it. They did the portal 2 exclusive and all and tested PC to PS3 compatibility.

            It wouldn't blow my mind to find out Steam is going to be included in the PS4

          • reply
            February 13, 2013 12:59 PM

            If PC gaming means Steam, and Steam is tied in with Sony, I imagine Microsoft's neglect of PC gaming will soon transition to outright hostility.

            Seriously, I shudder to think how Microsoft would react to this. They're not going to take that lying down.

            • reply
              February 14, 2013 3:41 AM

              They keep sticking with that GFWL so fuck them hard. Nobody asked for it and nobody wants it.

          • reply
            February 13, 2013 1:08 PM

            There are so many synergies here:
            Living room box: check
            Linux running box: check
            Incentive for devs to develop Linux games: huge fucking check

            It would be a master stroke if true.

    • reply
      February 13, 2013 12:24 PM

      If this means the cancellation of steambox I am perfectly fine with it. I honestly didn't think it would sell well at all. They should just focus on improving steam and releasing new games.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 12:26 PM

        If it means just giving up and letting consoles rule the living room, I weep. Such a lost opportunity, and it means a return to our living room prison masters.

    • reply
      February 13, 2013 12:37 PM

      I submitted my resume to a couple of those hardware designer jobs back when they first popped up, but I've gone on the record as saying that I would be pretty surprised if they made first party PC hardware (in the vein of most people's expectations of a Steambox).

      I don't know that Steam on Linux is dead (hardware and mobile departments), but the idea of a Valve-sourced Steambox is (and really should be, IMO) dead.

      Speculation: They put together their specification, did a test run, and now they don't need the hardware engineers to shop out the spec to other houses. Or, my other REALLY INSANE guess is that the PS4 will be a type of Steambox.

      That last one would be fucking nuts.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 12:42 PM

        And so, so awesome.

        • reply
          February 13, 2013 12:48 PM

          Valve thinks WAY farther ahead than most companies. Part sounds like strategic restructuring, part sounds like ridding of bloat.

          Lead art design for TF2? No offense to the guy but I don't think he is as important as the lead art guy for DOTA2 or their other internal projects from a 'moving forward' standpoint.

          Is it just me or is this curiously positioned a week before the PS4 reveal? Coup de grace against Microsoft with Steamworks integration into the PS4 and dual PS4/PC gaming capabilities? Oh my fucking god that would be incredible (I'd wager a 1% chance of that happening if security/piracy concerns are dominant).

          I'm just saying stupid shit.

          • reply
            February 13, 2013 12:49 PM

            art design for TF2 died years ago anyways

          • Ebu
            reply
            February 13, 2013 9:49 PM

            That would be amazing.

            Big Picture Mode with gamepad support running directly on my TV with dedicated hardware? That would be pretty amazing and is probably what would change my mind about sitting out of this next console generation.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 12:55 PM

        I was really excited for Steam on the PS3 when Portal 2 came out, and then the big PSN hack shut down the network for over a month the next day. I can't imagine what the mood was like at Valve and how much that must have soured them on spreading their platform to ecosystems where there was a single point of failure outside of their control.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 1:02 PM

        I want your REALLY INSANE prediction to come true.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 1:16 PM

        really insane guess please be right.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 1:20 PM

        Layoffs right before the ps4 announcement. Interesting....

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 1:23 PM

        what do we even know about the PS4 system architecture at this point? How hard is it going to be for developers to plop their games into it? That sounds like a pretty big hurdle.

        • reply
          February 13, 2013 1:28 PM

          Tis Linux like if I remember correctly. The hardware can certainly run Linux.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 1:40 PM

        If that were true I'd be all over a PS4 on release.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 3:35 PM

        I have a hard time believing Sony would just cede their online services to a 3rd party

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 5:53 PM

        I thought the purpose of the steambox was to stream video from your PC to your living room so you don't have to worry about your console being a slow piece of shit in 3 years

        • reply
          February 13, 2013 5:57 PM

          That's only part of the goal and I don't think it's the main goal.

      • reply
        February 14, 2013 2:16 AM

        PS4 with Steam would be so awesome.

    • reply
      February 13, 2013 1:16 PM

      Unless Sony is only producing the hardware for the PS4, and Valve gets to control ALL of the software, I can't see Valve teaming up with Sony. Gabe's too convinced that Apple is going to release v2 of AppleTV and create something that will end Sony, MS, and Nintendo in the living room (ironically because the Apple platform will be more open than the new consoles). A large number of analysts believe this will happen in the next year.

      From the Develop article, the range of employees is so large that I don't think you could conclude it has anything to do with hardware. It's a lot of animators and artists too. I'd say it's stack system cuts.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 1:29 PM

        Why would they be cutting artists and animations when they are making enormous profits and producing games?

        • reply
          February 13, 2013 1:35 PM

          That part is weird and speaks more to cost cutting for money issues.

          • reply
            February 13, 2013 2:47 PM

            From everything i've heard, as much as the place is a paradise to work in, it doesn't mean you can float along if you're no longer relevant. If people arn't pulliing their weight, or they now have better people, why pay those you dont need?

            I reaaaaally doubt Valve has money problems.

            • reply
              February 13, 2013 9:19 PM

              This sounds the most likely. Valve may have over hired for their future projects, and now they're correcting.

        • reply
          February 13, 2013 1:38 PM

          One odd ball guess is that they're reducing their overhead on their budget so that they can finance hardware production.

          Another is that they're reducing overhead to start making a new title.

          • reply
            February 13, 2013 2:48 PM

            My guess is its just a clear out of redundant people. The company doubles in size nearly every year. Along the way they must double up on talent they don't require anymore.

            • reply
              February 13, 2013 3:01 PM

              Agreed. It's pretty likely that gamers and the media are reading too much into it. Some people were under-performing in the stack system after the company's exploded in size over the last 3 years, so they were fired.

              • reply
                February 13, 2013 3:02 PM

                Its hilarious that anyone thinks valve could be experiencing financial problems.

    • reply
      February 13, 2013 2:33 PM

      Haha, some elsewhere has refereed to this as "The night of the long crowbars." in reference to this:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_of_the_Long_Knives

    • reply
      February 13, 2013 2:38 PM

      Interesting I always expected valve to come out with some crazy new controller replicating m+kb for consoles

    • reply
      February 13, 2013 2:44 PM

      People are blowing this way out of proportion.

      Gabe was all over town the last two weeks talking up their plans and roadmap for the future. Under a month ago they unveiled the first steambox; piston.

      I doubt they've decided to drop all that on a whim.

    • reply
      February 13, 2013 2:46 PM

      It's been 8.5 years since I've been this angry at Valve's lack of transparency. I've already gone through the Steam Armageddon Drill, taking inventory of what games will be unplayable in the event that Steam is suddenly inaccessible, or is acquired by a hostile entity.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 2:51 PM

        the archville, I never figured you for a prepper.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 3:01 PM

        Do you want Valve to email you before they fire people?

        • reply
          February 13, 2013 3:04 PM

          Also please explain to me how valve could be acquired by a hostile entity when they are a 100% independent company.

          • reply
            February 13, 2013 3:09 PM

            It's going to be like the plot from the forthcoming movie Pain & Gain, but involving GabeN and some developers.

            That was a crazy case!

        • reply
          February 13, 2013 3:08 PM

          Not small scale, but "Valve lays off 25" is a much scarier story than "38 Studios lays off everyone".

          Valve PR needs to understand what Valve is: a privately held (i.e.: not beholden to shareholders' whims) company that is legendary for quality consistency in games (mostly because of being privately held, therefore being able to say "when it's done"), with the biggest and (arguably) most consumer-friendly PC games digital distribution platform, that has developed a very good rapport with the gamer community since the release of The Orange Box, and abandoning their 2001-2007 attitude of "don't acknowledge the community EVER" attitude for one of better transparency and better customer advocacy.

          My advice to head of PR at Valve: DON'T MESS WITH THAT. Finish revising your statement to the press and have it published by 23:00 UTC tonight.

          • reply
            February 13, 2013 3:12 PM

            23:00 UTC already happened

            • reply
              February 13, 2013 3:24 PM

              Sorry, rushed on that conversion; I meant 01:00 UTC February 14 2013.

          • reply
            February 13, 2013 3:14 PM

            I'm with you. Big Physical Media is out to shut Valve down and this is how it starts.

          • reply
            February 13, 2013 3:15 PM

            Dude thats fucking crazy. You've gone off the deep end. Valve is just clearing house and getting rid of some unnecessary people. It would be very insulting to those people for Valve to make an official statement discussing the reasons for their firing.

            Valve is one of the most powerful and profitable companies in the industry. Firing 25 people is and indication of nothing.

            Honestly if you're this paranoid i recommend closing your steam account and unplugging your computer right this second and hiding under your bed.

          • reply
            February 13, 2013 3:19 PM

            privately held - meaning that they're not beholden to you or any other type of share or stake holder.

            they want to lay off, they can lay off, and they don't need to make an announcement about it. it doesn't mean anything.

            • reply
              February 13, 2013 3:20 PM

              Archvile: Crazy is as crazy does.

            • reply
              February 13, 2013 3:33 PM

              They apparently can't stop freshly terminated employees from changing their status on LinkedIn and posting on Twitter. They should've thought about that before letting go of this many employees at once.

              • reply
                February 13, 2013 3:36 PM

                I'm pretty sure they knew thats exactly what employes would be doing, its what all newly unemployed people tend to do.. It still doesn't mean any thing.

                Just because you decide to read non information as a impending doom, doesn't mean valve has to change their business practices.

              • reply
                February 13, 2013 3:37 PM

                They should have confiscated their employees phones and hands before letting them out the door.

                • reply
                  February 13, 2013 3:39 PM

                  I think they should have just flown the archvile in for a private meeting before telling anyone they were fired, that would have avoided this whole mess.

              • reply
                February 13, 2013 3:39 PM

                how many employees are they allowed to shed without an official press release? 3? 7?

                • reply
                  February 13, 2013 3:43 PM

                  Less than the minimum amount required to result in an event like this. Non-Disparagement Agreements may help, as will spreading the layoffs over several weeks or months.

                  • reply
                    February 13, 2013 3:45 PM

                    An event like what? Nothing has happened. There is no story, people have been fired. We can only speculate about a better way to deal with the situation when there is a situation to deal with.

                  • reply
                    February 13, 2013 3:48 PM

                    so what I hear is "I reserve the right to make a story out of whatever number I see fit."

                    • reply
                      February 13, 2013 3:52 PM

                      If I gave an absolute number, you'd dispute that too, so I gave the conditions that would result in triggering the Steamageddon Drill.

                      • reply
                        February 13, 2013 3:55 PM

                        I mean, let's say they want to fire 50 people. Now to keep it under your radar they have to do what, 3 per week and spend 4 months just getting the company to the point they want? You're advocating less operational efficiency so that you won't have something to fearmonger about. That seems like exactly the kind of reason Valve stays private, so they don't have to do/answer to that kind of sillyness instead of just doing what's best for their business.

                        • reply
                          February 13, 2013 4:05 PM

                          Or force them to sign non-disparagement agreements, as GameSpot did to Jeff Gerstmann in November 2007 (as disclosed in the March 2012 video with John Davison).

                          • reply
                            February 13, 2013 4:06 PM

                            it sounds like they're actually being as transparent as you want. they fired people and allowed them to communicate about it, indidcating it's not a big deal.

                            • reply
                              February 13, 2013 4:13 PM

                              If it's not a big deal, why didn't they have a press release ready for when stuff got public?

                              Non-disparagement is probably not what I'm thinking of; what would a company force exiting employees to sign if they don't want them to communicate about their employment status change? That. If it's impossible, have a statement ready.

                              • reply
                                February 13, 2013 4:15 PM

                                Because they don't give a fuck about paranoid wackos who will read Armageddon into this move.

                              • reply
                                February 13, 2013 4:17 PM

                                I'm pretty sure you can't make someone sign something that say's they're not allowed to say they're unemployed. How the fuck would anyone find work if they can't tell a prospective employer their status?

                              • reply
                                February 13, 2013 4:18 PM

                                Why? Why would they do that? Please give examples of any other multimillion dollar private company who makes public statements before firing tiny percentages of their massive company.

                                • reply
                                  February 13, 2013 4:22 PM

                                  All right, all right... it's usually within 24 hours after. Uuuuuugh, I need something to get my heart rate down...

                              • reply
                                February 13, 2013 4:19 PM

                                because firing a few people is not news, it's what businesses do periodically. You want them to be more transparent, but then you want fired employees to be unable to talk publicly, then you want Valve to fire these people slowly over time so you don't notice (less transparent), you're all over the place.

                          • reply
                            February 13, 2013 4:09 PM

                            Do you not recall the MASSIVE fall out and stink around the Gamespot situation entirely because nobody would come out and speak honestly about the situation?

                            • reply
                              February 13, 2013 4:10 PM

                              Also forcing people to sign a non-disparagement agreement when there is nothing to disparage about would be slightly pointless.

                          • reply
                            February 13, 2013 4:10 PM

                            Yeah, because that worked out so damn well for Gamespot...

                  • reply
                    February 13, 2013 4:16 PM

                    does that apply to google? apple? microsoft? dropbox? pandora? quite a lot of stuff requires constant internet and/or cloud storage!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                  • reply
                    February 13, 2013 4:31 PM

                    So, you think that making it look like they can't hold onto employees over months is better than letting one batch go at once? There's a lot of good reasons that you let go of people together. It's more efficient for the company and it makes it easier for the people let go to cope with being out of a job and find a new one.

                    • reply
                      February 13, 2013 4:48 PM

                      It would also fucking suck for the employees who don't get fired to watch small batches of people get let go every week wondering when it's their turn.

                  • reply
                    February 13, 2013 4:31 PM

                    So, you think that making it look like they can't hold onto employees over months is better than letting one batch go at once? There's a lot of good reasons that you let go of people together. It's more efficient for the company and it makes it easier for the people let go to cope with being out of a job and find a new one.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 3:05 PM

        archvile, I need a rundown of your Steam Armageddon Drill plans, for I too worry about this. Help me out

        • reply
          February 13, 2013 3:22 PM

          1. Make sure Steam is not running. Start a command prompt. Change directory to Steam directory.

          2. Run "dir steamapps\(directoryname) /ad" for the following subdirectories: "common", "sourcemods", and "(username)" (repeat as necessary for all usernames). Take this list, exclude anything that's not a game, and that's your list of titles. Start copying to alternate storage.

          3. Take your list of titles, and classify each title as to whether it uses SteamWorks DRM or was imported externally (YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS BY HEART; every purchase of a SteamWorks title should have resulted in empathic pain at the moment of submitting the credit card transaction to Valve). Every title that uses SteamWorks is Dead To You; cross it off the list, it's never coming back, but keep the files around in case there's anything unencrypted to scavenge.

          4. Take the remaining titles, and copy them to alternate directories. Depending on what DRM they use, they might still be runnable, but some may require a reinstall from physical media (you kept the physical media, even after importing to your Steam Library, right? If not, cross that title off the list)

          5. Take comfort in the fact that credit card data is protected under the PCI DSS, so whoever takes it over is responsible for following those Data Security Standards, or else is responsible for paying hefty fines, or potentially may have their PCI merchant status revoked. For other data stored on Valve servers... well, hopefully a lawyer posts an FAQ.

          6. Continue to play classic PC games unencumbered by server-side DRM. Buy only titles released completely DRM-free (Humble Indie Bundle, etc.). Find a new hobby to replace the gaping void.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 3:06 PM

        I just tried to launch steam and it didn't open. Feels like the beginning of the end.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 3:06 PM

        because they laid some employees off?

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 3:07 PM

        I'm sure a "hostile entity" (alien lifeform?) is going to take over Valve and then dismantle their most profitable enterprise. Yup.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 3:07 PM

        The day Valve shuts down is probably the day I quit PC gaming.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 3:09 PM

        i'm working on a fallout shelter

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 3:15 PM

        Why are you of all people buying games off any download service with DRM. You have no one to be angry at but yourself.

        • reply
          February 13, 2013 4:04 PM

          I hope he's a big supporter of GOG.com. Their whole thing is about not having DRM.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 3:18 PM

        it is a good point though, I dont think valve is going under, but what if they do? will the "backups" work with their own cdkey?

        I guess I never thought about losing ~115 games.

        • reply
          February 13, 2013 3:20 PM

          they'd just issue you an unlock file or key and boom, you can just back up your entire library to HDD or disc, and access it locally in the future. it's not hard to envision any number of solutions for steam going away.

        • reply
          February 13, 2013 3:20 PM

          This was discussion we went over and over and over years ago when nobody had any faith in the service. They also said they had a last resort plan in place for emergencies.

          Hell nothing lasts for ever, but i think we'll see Sony and Microsoft disappear before Valve does.

          • reply
            February 13, 2013 3:29 PM

            People always talk about this "last resort" plan but I've never seen any official statement or documentation about it. This is not to say that I don't have faith in their ability to come up with a backup idea, though.

        • reply
          February 13, 2013 3:24 PM

          i don't think of it as losing games, but losing a license to play their games

          • reply
            February 13, 2013 3:30 PM

            So many gamers don't understand this. Kinda sucks that the next console generations might follow suit. It's been a way of life for PC gaming for quite some time.

          • reply
            February 13, 2013 3:37 PM

            There's a difference between that and losing the ability to play games because some DRM server doesn't exist anymore. Back when Bioshock had the SecuROM activation DRM, these concerns were brought up, and 2K answered them with "...if we ever stop supporting BioShock [online activation servers], we will release a patch so that the game is still playable." ( http://www.shacknews.com/article/53236/bioshock-pc-install-limit-lifted )

          • reply
            February 13, 2013 4:03 PM

            its a meaningless distinction in that the net result is the same

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 3:21 PM

        Valve is like North Korea and Gabe is our dear leader.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 3:23 PM

        Guys - Valve is too big to fail! Will the US Government bail them out? If not - THANKS OBAMA.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 3:40 PM

        I don't want to live in a non-Steam world. No plans for Armageddon, I'll just quit gaming.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 3:43 PM

        Producers of tin foil must love you.

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 5:32 PM

        8.5 YEARS

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 6:02 PM

        I thought Steam was printing money?

        • reply
          February 13, 2013 6:03 PM

          (thats the impression i have, at least. i really have no idea! my question mark is not rhetorical)

        • reply
          February 13, 2013 6:29 PM

          it is

      • reply
        February 13, 2013 9:39 PM

        I guess single-handedly saving the master race isn't enough for some people?

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      February 13, 2013 3:11 PM

      My insane speculation: the Apple iWatch will be the SteamBox

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      February 13, 2013 3:36 PM

      Not all hardware people are gone apparently

      http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=47686476&postcount=1097

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      February 13, 2013 4:32 PM

      Oh noes!? No modular controller with hot swappable trackball/analog stick???! Damn, it was almost a reality!!!

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      February 13, 2013 5:05 PM

      cutting staff to look more profitable to attract investment

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      February 13, 2013 5:21 PM

      Gabe has commented on this. No projects are changing, etc. Everything is so a go.

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          February 13, 2013 5:25 PM

          hrmm, maybe just performance related?

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            February 13, 2013 5:34 PM

            maybe a business being a business, reorg/realign/restructure as priorities change every few years

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              February 13, 2013 5:59 PM

              Very likely. It's also annual review time for a lot of companies.

              And unlike a lot of other creative centric game companies that run their businesses into the ground and then turn to Kickstarter; Valve seems to know how to balance running a business while maintaining a creative work environment.

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            February 13, 2013 5:41 PM

            I think people forget in that talk Gabe gave last week or whenever, he specifically said the one thing they learned about the 'valve style' of running a company is you have to be more aggressive about getting rid of people.

            In that environment, if you just don't "get" how it works, or if you don't make the effort to find shit to do, you're a cancer to everyone else and they're going to cut you.

            Like take the TF2 art people; over time there's just less work to do that's specifically related to that project. Those dudes are expected to _find_ work to do on other projects. Or come up with a project everyone else agrees is a good idea and lead it. What they're not expected to do is to just coast along the TF2 art train. I have no idea if that's what's going on or not; but it's an example of the dangers of that environment and why you might see perfectly competent people just suddenly get booted out.

            It's also not an environment lends itself to tolerating people that burn out.


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              February 13, 2013 5:50 PM

              That wouldn't surprise me. It seems like the type of environment that could cause otherwise talented people to become dead weight.

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              February 13, 2013 5:51 PM

              Looks like they are just cleaning out redundancies before moving forward.

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              February 13, 2013 6:11 PM

              Sounds like spineless management to me.

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                February 13, 2013 6:20 PM

                there's no management at valve.

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                February 13, 2013 6:21 PM

                Spineless would be the opposite, ie tolerating those who are at odds and ultimately harmful to the group working environment. We can't spectate on how they worked with these folks before that point.

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                  February 13, 2013 6:58 PM

                  lol. it sounds like some kind of anarchist place to work that would be fun in your 20s but horrible as a grownup with a family and stuff.

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                February 13, 2013 6:27 PM

                what?

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                February 13, 2013 6:35 PM

                lol, you sound like some kind of middle manager who thinks his / his company's way is the only way and afraid of someone else's management style or methodologies.

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                  February 13, 2013 8:17 PM

                  Not really. If these people were drifting without guidance, someone above them should have gently pushed them to a new direction OR when there is a problem with someone's performance to the point of needing to be fired, they should fire them. Instead, those employees were allowed to drift, thinking everything is ok, and management decided it would be best to have a non-confrontational lay off. Now they will go off and get hired at some other company thinking they weren't the problem. That's what I mean about spineless.

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                    February 13, 2013 8:19 PM

                    So you know exactly how it went down at Valve. How's Source 2 looking?

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                    February 13, 2013 9:15 PM

                    Did you not read their employee handbook? It's very explicit that you are expected to make your own work. The entire structure of the company is designed to cater to hyper productive people who do not need or want to be 'pushed'. The expectation is you will find your place in the various projects (because you think they are worthwhile projects) or you will create an project that is interesting enough that a team will form around you. If you can't handle that you don't belong there.

                    They are not a normal company, and the way they do things is completely alien from a normal corporate perspective.

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                    February 13, 2013 9:49 PM

                    I think you're not understanding the part where there isn't anyone above them and there isn't any kind of management structure. You're speaking in terms that are nonsense when applied to Valve.

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                    February 13, 2013 10:18 PM

                    Companies like Valve explicitly hire people that don't/shouldn't need that level of micromanagement and constantly making sure they're on task and being valuable.

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                    February 14, 2013 4:18 AM

                    "someone above them" -- what?

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                February 13, 2013 8:11 PM

                haha how?

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                February 13, 2013 9:39 PM

                Excellent workers do not need micro management as you suggest. The best workers have initiative and motivation - they will find work to do to be an asset.

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                February 14, 2013 4:25 AM

                No. If you work at Valve, you know what you are getting into (no management).

                http://www.valvesoftware.com/company/Valve_Handbook_LowRes.pdf

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              February 13, 2013 8:07 PM

              Yeah that's pretty much my dream company, to finish one project and immediately hop over on something else. I don't need to be told what to do. I like staying busy.

              Too bad I'm in the wrong industry.

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          February 13, 2013 5:39 PM

          nnnnnnnnrrrrrrrggghh.... http://chattypics.com/files/eton_e1_xe9px2obei.jpg

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            February 13, 2013 5:57 PM

            *breathe* *breathe* ... http://chattypics.com/files/20130213_serenitynow_msv8yd5fdr.jpg

            I still can't fathom it; if Valve's workplace is one that organically sorts out those who don't seek projects, why the sudden shock of departures and "I got fired" posts all at once? If it's a business realignment, that doesn't mean that nothing changed. It's basically a denial, but if he says that this isn't about Steam, then I guess we press on. I just... can't stop looking back at that event in time where 25 Valve employees got let go.

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              February 13, 2013 6:01 PM

              good god dude, do you start looking for a new job for fear that your company is going under the moment anyone is let go too? Do you think this is the first time Valve has ever fired anyone?

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              February 13, 2013 6:05 PM

              Because it's easier to clear people out in batches. If you trickle people out one by one constantly that has an impact on the work environment and the mindset of the employees. No one likes seeing their friend get fired; you chop 25 people at once and everyone is sad for a few weeks but they get over it and continue to work.

              Now imagine instead you spaced those people out evenly over the course of a year or something. That's a lot of constant sadness not to mention a lingering 'am I next!?' environment.

              It's also entirely possible they just go through a once-a-year-review of how people are doing and this was just a particularly bad year.

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                February 13, 2013 6:24 PM

                gaben made a list of people working on hl3, and fired them. can't risk the game coming out.

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        February 13, 2013 7:38 PM

        Awesome so Left 4 Dead 3 is up next
        Then Portal 3

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        February 13, 2013 10:41 PM

        Kinda goes against what they talk about in Valve Handbook, especially the part about not being hired to do a particular thing. Guess they are just like any other company.

        http://www.valvesoftware.com/company/Valve_Handbook_LowRes.pdf

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          February 14, 2013 12:11 AM

          How do you figure? Just because they don't expect people to exist for a single project doesn't mean they never let people go.

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      February 13, 2013 6:00 PM

      Well that's kind of faith shocking, I kind of assumed they were invincible :/

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        February 13, 2013 7:09 PM

        what does this even mean? that they'd only hire people who were somehow perfect and would never be less effective or less useful to Valve's current (and ever changing) goals? It's just some people getting fired. It happens all the time at every company.

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        February 13, 2013 8:55 PM

        Why would any of this change your mind?

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      February 13, 2013 6:29 PM

      Sucks to be those 25 people but Gaben said in his lectures that they're aggressive about firing people and either it's a sink or swim type deal at their company. For all we know, those were underperforming people who just couldn't cut it.

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        February 13, 2013 6:43 PM

        Yeah, still, that's a big house cleaning. Guess it makes since they are about to embark on a all or nothing Endeavour and might need all the buoyancy they can get. If any thing, it might be revealing just how serious they are.

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          February 13, 2013 6:59 PM

          He even said they're growing about 50% per year so 25 people isn't that bad in the grand scheme of things.

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      February 13, 2013 6:41 PM

      Hey I just wanna check if anyone else remembers this: This isn't the only time Valve has had a shakeup of this relative size, is it?

      I seem to remember hearing about a bunch of people dropping off before HL2 was released, probably in numbers comparable to the relative size Valve was at the time.

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      February 13, 2013 7:42 PM

      Maybe just trimming off the fat?

      In a company like Valve, people who don't deliver value for the company (even really smart, talented people) are just taking up time and money.

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        February 13, 2013 11:53 PM

        as a rule valve are not really fat trimmers, they like giving exceptional people time to be creative. the people build hl3 could be easily said to just be taking up time and money considering the dev time.

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          February 14, 2013 3:21 AM

          Yeah, that could be true.

          But considering how many employees Valve has, and how few first-party products they actually put out... I'm guessing a bunch of stuff just never sees the light of day cuz people switch projects or move on to something else.

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          February 14, 2013 5:57 PM

          "the people build hl3 could be easily said to just be taking up time and money considering the dev time"

          No, because they are building something that has clear value and revenue goals.

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      February 14, 2013 3:27 AM

      In a studio as big as Valve, it's possible that 25 people were let go as housecleaning.