Valve Layoffs

Jeri Ellsworth, who was working on Steambox hardware (she designed the C64-in-a-joystick) tweeted that she was fired today from Valve.

Other sources in the area indicate 25 folks were let go in all today. :(

She actually used the word fired, but if they let go of 25 other people it sounds more like Valve got rid of a division.

Nope. Not a division; I know of folks who weren’t in the hardware group.

Ahh, I thought at first they must have cancelled a hardware product.

It fits Gabe’s recent interview that they way they make their unusual organization work (100% employee directed, nobody tells anyone what to work on) is with aggressive firing. Though I would have guessed Jerri Ellsworth would fit right into that sort of environment.

Yep, apparently it wasn’t focused on a single division.

I need a googly eyed shock emoticon here! What’s this about Valve’s aggressive firing policy? I thought it was the utopia of game development!

In a way it is. Now the ex-employees can work on any game their own way…

My world view just turned upside down!!!

So there is no perfect world, after all?

From this thing I think:


It’s really worth watching to see how Valve operates.

If you fit, yes. If you don’t, you’re gone. It’s ruthless but obviously fruitful. Epic is a lot the same way … people who don’t fit into the culture don’t last long.

This could be a good argument for a I.M.Banks “Culture” book, somebody from the culture marroneed in a normal planet.

I have some friends in a company that every few years break in two. When the company is too big, he divide it in two, to be small again.

I hope none of my favorite exmodders are include in this thing. Time to check linkedin!

Yeah, Gabe said that Valve needed to get better about letting people go that didn’t fit in.

I wonder if she was let go because of not adapting to the culture, or if the hardware project she was working on just wasn’t panning out?

wow, that’s surprising! I was totally rooting for her to launch a PC motion controller that actually worked for FPS games. Or possibly something more significant like a tiny motherboard with a high end gpu and 2gb DDR5 video ram soldered onboard. This must really suck for her, it’s not every day you get to work at the Disney of gaming.

how long has she been at Valve?

They are all capitalist scumbags, but now, where is my Half-life 3 and I want my steambox now. K tnx Bye.

Dang. On the QT3 Valve tour last year, she was very nice to our group and gave a good talk about what she was working on (without getting into too many specifics, of course). It was very nice meeting her and I’m sure she’ll end up somewhere good.

That sucks, first I’ve ever heard of valve layoffs. I’m curious if it was an entire division, or something else? Cancelling of a product that wasn’t fruitful? Seems odd considering they are rolling in the dough.

Aw damn, was that who she is? She was really nice to us, and had a kickass C64 guitar.

Awww, that’s too bad. Still, I expect those folks should have no trouble finding new work, especially Jeri.

Gamasutra has a bit more detail.

We can, however, confirm that the cuts have affected more than one department, namely hardware and Android development.

Affected employees were asked not to speak about specifics, but the impression we get is that these cuts were driven more by company challenges than by individual performance issues.

Guess Android isn’t as profitable as its number of devices suggests.