Gabe Newell responds to Valve layoff speculation

While Valve talks freely about some aspects of its work, the Steam and Half-Life creator is always tight-lipped about business. However, the flurry of speculation, rumour and doomsaying which sprung from news of layoffs at Valve has provoked a statement from head honcho Gabe Newell. Nothing's being cancelled, he says, and no priorities or projects shuffled, but he won't discuss the layoffs.

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While Valve talks freely about some aspects of its work, the Steam and Half-Life creator is always tight-lipped about business. However, the flurry of speculation, rumor and doomsaying which sprung from news of layoffs at Valve has provoked a statement from head honcho Gabe Newell. Nothing's being cancelled, he says, and no priorities or projects shuffled, but he won't discuss the layoffs.

Here's Newell's statement, as provided to Engadget:

We don't usually talk about personnel matters for a number of reasons. There seems to be an unusual amount of speculation about some recent changes here, so I thought I'd take the unusual step of addressing them. No, we aren't canceling any projects. No, we aren't changing any priorities or projects we've been discussing. No, this isn't about Steam or Linux or hardware or [insert game name here]. We're not going to discuss why anyone in particular is or isn't working here.

Whispers on the wind said around 25 people were laid off, but this was unconfirmed. Valve certainly won't be the one to clear this up, so it'll remain a mystery for now.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    February 14, 2013 6:00 AM

    Alice O'Connor posted a new article, Gabe Newell responds to Valve layoff speculation.

    While Valve talks freely about some aspects of its work, the Steam and Half-Life creator is always tight-lipped about business. However, the flurry of speculation, rumour and doomsaying which sprung from news of layoffs at Valve has provoked a statement from head honcho Gabe Newell. Nothing's being cancelled, he says, and no priorities or projects shuffled, but he won't discuss the layoffs.

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      February 14, 2013 6:21 AM

      I thought the best explanation was they just do yearly reviews in January and well...

      I super super understand though. I've seen branches of departments gutted because of the damage that one bad apple caused.

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        February 14, 2013 6:37 AM

        I was looking at a job at Netflix the other day and really appreciated their attitude towards 'a generous severance package'. They include this in the benefits so that the company can guiltlessly cut people that aren't making the grade. d

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      February 14, 2013 6:24 AM

      I like how he says he is going to address it, then says he won't tell us. That's fine they certainly do not have to but this didn't tell us anything.

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        February 14, 2013 6:26 AM

        He confirmed that no major projects changed. That's the part that Matters.

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          February 14, 2013 8:39 AM

          so my only thought here, if I wanted to play devil's advocate, is that Gabe doesn't have to be honest in his response. And by that, I mean, since they are a private company with not external investors (that are known), he has not legal responsibility to tell the complete truth.

          The only thing here that makes me feel like there should be any questioning of his statement is the sheer number. Either they cancelled a project, cutting features, or are making cuts do to costs or change in strategic directions. As someone who is on the inside of a private organization about the same size of Valve, I am sure we don't know the entire story.

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            February 14, 2013 8:47 AM

            25 ppl from a 300+ person org is not a BFD at all

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              February 14, 2013 9:24 AM

              Exactly. This is because it's Valve the Almighty. My last company used to have RIF's every year to "trim the fat" as they would call it.

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              February 14, 2013 9:33 AM

              A 10% reduction in force is a pretty big deal for most companies.

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                February 14, 2013 10:45 AM

                Might not be a reduction. Maybe they are hiring people to replace sub par employees?

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                February 14, 2013 10:50 AM

                Valve doubles in size every year. They're currently at 400 employes aprox. They probably hire more than 25 people a month at this point.

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            February 14, 2013 8:56 AM

            Based on the jobs of the people fired, it almost looked like it was a company getting ready to split off from Valve. They had a good set of people across disciplines. Business, Art, Engine design, modeling and hardware engineering.

            It almost looked like a small internal studio.

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          February 14, 2013 8:46 AM

          So still no more half-life? ;)

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          February 14, 2013 10:25 AM

          There aren't really any Valve projects that matter to me any more (other than their sales). It makes me sad.

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        February 14, 2013 6:38 AM

        Oh good grief. Do you expect him to state explicit reasons why each member was let go to the press?

        That isn't going to happen. No sound business would ever do such a thing.

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          February 14, 2013 7:58 AM

          I don't expect a case-by-case explanation, but this announcement has no substance. It's The Wizard of Oz saying, "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!" It's Kevin Bacon screaming, "All is well!" It was just Gabe releasing a statement with the sole goal of releasing a statement. There is no candor in that statement; he is putting nothing on the table.

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            February 14, 2013 8:09 AM

            You have to relax :(

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              February 14, 2013 8:22 AM

              why does eveyone forget that the archville has problems with a lot of things that aren't his choice. Like mental, clinically diagnosed aspergers. He can't help the way he is and noone has ever talked him into relaxing or changing his mind. He's not here to discuss, he's here to OUTPUT. ya'll just keep ramming into a wall

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                February 14, 2013 8:27 AM

                kgargs you need to relax

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                  February 14, 2013 8:28 AM

                  seriously if people were capable of considering the source when reading posts and opinions, this place would be humming along smoothly

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                    February 14, 2013 8:44 AM

                    I can't imagine that you guys have to nuke/ban that much nowadays? The site seems to moderate itself pretty well and the banhammer on the political trolling definitely helped.

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                      February 14, 2013 8:53 AM

                      yup fuck all to do these days

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                February 14, 2013 9:10 AM

                pot, kettle.

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                  February 14, 2013 9:40 AM

                  kgargs has aspergers, or are you trying to use it as an insult?

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                    February 14, 2013 9:44 AM

                    I have no idea what's going on in this thread besides fat_shit continuing to be a huge faggot. Not sure what I did to shit on you at some point but I wasn't being rude I was just explaining something.

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                      February 14, 2013 9:46 AM

                      probably not the best means to assert you aren't being rude. I would say try again, but... no. don't try again.

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                        February 14, 2013 9:47 AM

                        the guy constantly lays around and snipes people and passive-aggressively tags and just shits on the community. I have no idea what I did but he continues to pop up and take a DUMP. Dave-A I'm giving you work to do i'm afraid!!!!

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                      February 14, 2013 10:09 AM

                      name calling, classy. I was stating that you're here to output not discuss.

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                        February 14, 2013 10:13 AM

                        what does that even mean jimmy_legs. Why are you such a miserable turd? I know you're stretching for some kinda sweet burn/joke but that's the worst shit. Just move on? I apologize for whatever I did??

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                          February 14, 2013 10:16 AM

                          can you seriously not converse without calling names? fat_shit, miserable turd, etc.

                          • reply
                            February 14, 2013 10:19 AM

                            sorry - i'll stop if you'll get over whatever kinda beef you have

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                  February 14, 2013 9:49 AM

                  U want back off my boy before I find you and make you jimmy_nolegs??? We can go any day son i have a bat and me and my friends are thinking of putting nails in it

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                February 15, 2013 12:36 PM

                all great shack posts are fundamentally rooted in mental illness

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              February 14, 2013 8:25 AM

              I saw that.

              • reply
                February 14, 2013 8:26 AM

                mispost.

                but while i'm here, archivile you so silly.

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              February 14, 2013 8:55 AM

              I'm more relaxed now; those were the thoughts that were running in my head yesterday, but couldn't articulate into words until this morning.

              I'm resigned to having to wait for whatever is the next step in Valve's PR cycle, because that's when they'll say something of substance. I think it's been made clear that PR and marketing is a foreign language to me.

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                February 14, 2013 9:17 AM

                I'd be surprised if Valve said anything more about this. Letting people go from time to time is a normal thing in the business world.

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                  February 14, 2013 9:41 AM

                  By "say something of substance", I mean saying something about a new service offering, or a change of direction. Now was apparently not the time they wanted to do that, because Gabe almost literally said, "nothing is changing" (which I doubt, because if absolutely nothing changed, there wouldn't have been a 6% RIF).

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                    February 14, 2013 10:58 AM

                    Gabe has been incredibly open about valve's roadmap over the last few weeks. He's made several public hour long speeches about the future of the industry and valve, along with a good few podcast interviews on the subject too.

                    Do you think he publicly goes out of his way to construct a web of lies for weeks on end, only to secretly move in another direction a week later?

                    You're not making any sense. Valve have been incredibly open about their general plans recently, they've just this moment confirmed nothing has changed.

                    Stop looking for a deeper story when one doesn't exist.

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            February 14, 2013 8:11 AM

            You are the Cameron to my Ferris.

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            February 14, 2013 8:35 AM

            the part you need to grasp is it CAN'T have any substance. there is nothing to be put on the table.

            further, this is an at will state. he can fire people for tying their shoes wrong. and he still wouldn't be able to tell you that. as he said, he can't even give the reasons for not... giving the reasons.

            the correct way to handle this is the boilerplate stuff on both sides. "off to new adventures" or whatever. that way both sides have an amicable split and private things stay private, so future endeavors aren't tainted. everything is left to speculation which holds basically zero weight. the truth remains private, as it should.

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              February 14, 2013 9:27 AM

              Exaxtly, im sure that could put the company in a position of legal action if the fired worker was trying to get another job. Just like referrals nobody ever says "jane doe was terrible, always late, slept on the job, never met quotas" they dont want to get sued

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            February 14, 2013 8:56 AM

            why? why do you deserve any of that? They don't need to cater to you and definitely don't need to answer to you.
            In short; You're fucking mental

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            February 14, 2013 8:59 AM

            35 Employees would cost an employer about 2 million or more a year with benefits. They might just be cutting some fat.

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            February 14, 2013 9:41 AM

            Dude you can come out of your bunker now.

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            February 14, 2013 10:53 AM

            Jesus man, you nearly gave yourself a heart attack last night because Gabe didn't pre-warn you about the firings. Now he makes a statement confirming what everyone believed, that this was nothing to worry about, and you're still screaming conspiracy. You're out of control dude.

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        February 14, 2013 8:31 AM

        He addressed it by saying he wouldn't talk about it. There. addressed. done. move on.

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          February 14, 2013 9:01 AM

          That's your basic political non answering speak. It would have been better to not answer at all to be honest. Let me be up front I'm in no way upset nor do I even really care. I just dislike answers of "I'm going to tell you I can't tell you." Then don't tell me, it's a complete and utter waste of everyone's time.

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            February 14, 2013 9:20 AM

            oh I agree, it's a shitty non-answer.. but in the end it's Gabe's company and if he wants to act like Lucas, it's his prerogative and there's nothing anyone can do aboot it.

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              February 14, 2013 9:24 AM

              I can't believe this perspective. Like what are they supposed to say, that so and so was a real douchebag?

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                February 14, 2013 9:39 AM

                perhaps my snarkiness is being misunderstood. I agree with you. it's nobody business but the company's.

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                  February 14, 2013 11:03 AM

                  Its a legal thing more than anything. A company cannot bad mouth its former employees.

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            February 14, 2013 9:24 AM

            It's not a waste of time. It's to temper the internet's torches and pitchforks before it runs away with itself.

            Similar to when M&A announcements are swirling, the CEOs of both companies will say something, even if it's damn near nothing substantive. Or even the boilerplate "we can't comment on that" if necessary.

            Since the internet is a piranha tank, you gotta put in SOMETHING to pacify it. You have to control PR or it will control you.

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            February 14, 2013 9:55 AM

            Except not. The thing the Internet was all upset about was if Steambox or whatever would get cancelled as a result. He's flat-out said this has no bearing on any of that. As to why people were let go, that's none of anyone's business.

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        February 14, 2013 8:51 AM

        Everybody was shitting their pants thinking Steam Box or some other project was canceled and he addressed that. He doesn't need to say shit about why the people were let go and acting like he does or that we're entitled to know or whatever is fucking dumb.

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        February 14, 2013 9:02 AM

        it's not Half-Life 3, get over it. move on.

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      February 14, 2013 8:38 AM

      its just a strategic focusing of their resources. jeeze everyone thinks the sky is falling.

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      February 14, 2013 9:13 AM

      I bet one of those guys is that dick that takes the last bit of coffee and doesn't make new.

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        February 14, 2013 11:00 AM

        I don't think so. That fucker NEVER gets fired from any place. If he is, then he's got a successor in waiting because it never stops.

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        February 14, 2013 11:01 AM

        Every office needs a Terrible Terry Tate.

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      February 14, 2013 11:04 AM

      Thanks Obamacare