According to employee tweets and other reports, Valve has fired a whole bunch of people at the company. These are some pretty big changes too. Valve, the company behind Half Life, Counter-Strike, Portal, Steam and more, has supposedly let go of about 25 people, although this number is not confirmed. Furthermore, Jason Holtman, Director of Business at Valve, has reportedly resigned from the company. Many of the people who got fired include hardware designers such as Ed Owen & Jeri Ellsworth, who were hired last year. Some of this could hint towards a change in Valve’s goals possibly meaning the Steambox will not be designed there or may not be coming out at all (which we doubt). Also, some employees were fired from Valve’s Android division supposedly.
We’ve also found a list, sourced from Garry Newman, the creator of Gary’s Mod, which shows you some changes that have been made on the People page of Valve’s website compared to last month. The changes show the removal of 9 employee bios, ranging from programmers to artists, many of which were in lead positions.
- Moby Francke, Half-Life 2 character designer and Team Fortress 2 art lead
- Jason Holtman, director of business development for Steam and Steamworks
- Keith Huggins, character animator and animator for Team Fortress 2 “Meet the” video series
- Tom Leonard, software engineer for Half-Life 2 and Left 4 Dead
- Realm Lovejoy, artist for Half-Life 2, Portal, and Left 4 Dead. She was also part of the original DigiPen-turned-Valve team that created Narbacular Drop, the inspiration for Portal
- Marc Nagel, test lead for Half-Life, Counter-Strike, and patch updates
- Bay Raitt, animator for Half-Life 2, Team Fortress 2, and Portal
- Elan Ruskin, engine programmer for Left 4 Dead, Portal 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
- Matthew Russell, animator for Team Fortress 2 “Meet the” video series
Another thread to this mystery is that Jason Holtman, who was in charge of hiring people and making business decisions, went on record last year stating that it was important to hire developers who think of the whole business chain. He says the reason for that is so developers will have the mindset of “I need more people to play this and like this.” To some degree, this is counter intuitive to the Valve way of thinking which is not to prioritize feeding consumer’s desires, but rather to push innovation above all else. Furthermore, in previous speeches, Gabe Newell, the founder and President of Valve, has mentioned that while they look for quality employees who can handle many tasks well, he also said that you have to be quick to fire people who are not working out. At the end of day, this could just be another rotation of a cog in the big Valve machine.
Valve, which is famous for its “no bosses” philosophy allows it’s employees to pick the projects they work on, in order to promote free thought and innovation. Of course, freedom to work can go really well, on the other hand, it means there’s nobody to blame but yourself when you don’t produce any viable results.
Valve has many positions available for hiring currently, if you think you are up to the task.
[UPDATE Feb 15, 2013] Gabe Newell issued a statement to Engadget laying to rest many rumors…
“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.”