Update: Valve Fires Hardware Guru

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So, more news about people being fired.

http://www.gameranx.com/updates/id/12754/article/valve-steambox-controller-engineer-jeri-ellsworth-fired/

- 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

Those people have apparently been fired.

Shit seems to be very whack, yo.

Well, I think I'm going to call this now: Steambox is dead. They tried, and they just couldn't get it to work properly and cheap. Their hardware ambitions are gone, and they won't be announcing anything on the Steambox ever again. Sure, that one PC with Valve Support will come out, and so will other PC's with Valve support, but they thimselves will not release any computer/console/console-Computure.

Why would anyone fire a person who has a collection of pinball machines that are kept in the company building for others to play? I'd keep that person around forever. I'm sure that has nothing to do with my love of pinball machines, old or new.

As per pretty much every post in this thread, I guess Valve is an invincible company with pure white armor that can never get dirt on it. They can never do wrong. It was obviously all her. She obviously did something horribly wrong.

I'd say all those posts were before the update saying a bunch of other people were let go too, eh?

Mr.Mattress:
Well, I think I'm going to call this now: Steambox is dead. They tried, and they just couldn't get it to work properly and cheap. Their hardware ambitions are gone, and they won't be announcing anything on the Steambox ever again. Sure, that one PC with Valve Support will come out, and so will other PC's with Valve support, but they themselves will not release any computer/console/console-Computer.

I agree entirely. I think the cost part is the problem. To make it worth while for mainstream studious to put games on Linux platform they would have to sell 100000s of units. Which means they would have to set a world wide physical distribution network and go toe to toe with Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo. Valve could do it, but it would mean betting the house on steambox working and I don't think in the current economic climate there is enough sales for 4 consoles to go head to head.

Blimey, night of the long knives in Valveland? That came out of nowhere. I do hope we get the details sooner or later.

Wow things are going down in Valve HQ. I guess that means the Steambox's future is under question now.

The minute I saw the article header my first knee-jerk thought was:

'Uh-oh Valve's having financial trouble!!'

Then I came to my senses and I laughed and laughed.

rhizhim:
its a company, they also can fire people for some reason.
i dont get all that "SHE GOT EXILED FROM THE HEAVENS" shock that is in this thread.

maybe she got fired because they dont want to continue a project and her job is redundant?

so just wait and see.

You're right. There's an old saying about working at a company, any company:

Last hired, first fired.

She was only at Valve for about a year. Sounds like a business being a business.

Irridium:
So, more news about people being fired.

http://www.gameranx.com/updates/id/12754/article/valve-steambox-controller-engineer-jeri-ellsworth-fired/

- 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

Those people have apparently been fired.

Shit seems to be very whack, yo.

maybe they ate a cake in the fridge.
image
never eat a cake out of a valve owned fridge....

"sniff" bye steam sales.

Muspelheim:
Blimey, night of the long knives in Valveland? That came out of nowhere. I do hope we get the details sooner or later.

yes, we should rewrite every wikipedia article and encyclopedia article in existence so it always ends with nazis or hitler.

here is an example:

Cattle

Cattle (colloquially cows) are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collectively as food for hitler and his merry nazi men.

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

godwins law is starting to suck

Frostbite3789:
As per pretty much every post in this thread, I guess Valve is an invincible company with pure white armor that can never get dirt on it. They can never do wrong. It was obviously all her. She obviously did something horribly wrong.

I'd say all those posts were before the update saying a bunch of other people were let go too, eh?

maybe you should just put on your reading glasses before you start saying that every post was defending valve...

Mr.Mattress:
Well, I think I'm going to call this now: Steambox is dead. They tried, and they just couldn't get it to work properly and cheap. Their hardware ambitions are gone, and they won't be announcing anything on the Steambox ever again. Sure, that one PC with Valve Support will come out, and so will other PC's with Valve support, but they thimselves will not release any computer/console/console-Computure.

it could be the VR glasses that might die. just wait for an anouncement or the lack of it...

I think they gave up their ambitions to make video games and simply want to focus on consumer development market- i.e.: HATZ

DOTA2 and Team Fortress 2 are making a ton of money through microtransactions and will likely continue to do so for some time. It is likely that Valve simply decided to focus on their strengths, which is essentially Steam. Their games have been rather irregular and unremarkable as of late and I can't really see a market for Piston (steambox). Oh well.

Something clicked, if it was failed project/s or just simply cutting costs in a general down gaming market who knows.

at lest until they announce something is dead and gone soonish, like steambox or the vr goggles or half life 3.

Jesus. That's one hell of a list of employees who've all got the sack.

What confuses me is that none of these developers walked out, or voluntarily left. They all got fired. If it was just one or two individuals, I'd put it down to them just not fitting in the work environment, but twenty five? Twenty five high profile, experienced employees who've worked on everything from Half-Life 2 to Left 4 Dead? I mean, one of the people fired was one of the developers who worked on Narbacular Drop. You know, the game that Valve created Portal from?

I doubt it's financial. As long as Steam is the primary distribution platform on PC, Valve will always have money.

In between this and his recent comments about players in single player games being 'retarded and autistic', part of me is wondering if Gabe isn't quite the swell dude gamers make him out to be. Could very well be wrong, but he wouldn't be the first guy to disappear up his own arse as soon as he starts making his millions.

Why do I have a feeling that the end of the world just got delayed by two months?

Jesus jumped-up Christ are people flipping shit over this.

Valve's a business, people. Businesses hire AND fire people on a regular basis; for any number of reasons.

Valve laying off these people (most of which are still unconfirmed, and only Ms. Ellsworth mentioned the word "fired"), isn't some odd, out-of-place occurrence. These things happen all the time; for any number of reasons.

This news isn't ringing the death knell of Valve, Steam, their game development, nor even their hardware development. It also doesn't mean Gabe Newell has suddenly flipped his lid and is going on a "firing spree". It simply means there were a few employees whose positions, personalities, or talents either became redundant or no longer meshed with the companys direction or structure.

Can we all relax a bit? In the very least until we get solid confirmation on what's actually going on?

Frostbite3789:
As per pretty much every post in this thread, I guess Valve is an invincible company with pure white armor that can never get dirt on it. They can never do wrong. It was obviously all her. She obviously did something horribly wrong.

I'd say all those posts were before the update saying a bunch of other people were let go too, eh?

As opposed to people like you that make a point of finding a negative connotation to anything Valve related?

Overreaction and hyperbole work both ways, my friend.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

What confuses me is that none of these developers walked out, or voluntarily left. They all got fired. If it was just one or two individuals, I'd put it down to them just not fitting in the work environment, but twenty five? Twenty five high profile, experienced employees who've worked on everything from Half-Life 2 to Left 4 Dead? I mean, one of the people fired was one of the developers who worked on Narbacular Drop. You know, the game that Valve created Portal from?

My guess is there's been a massive restructuring within the company. A shifting of priorities, especially on the hardware front. Not that they're cancelling development but perhaps changing direction and their end goals.

As such, several lay-offs from the hardware labs isn't that big a stretch.

Regardless, it's all speculation at this point. Until more solid details come out, we have nothing more to go on than Ms. Ellsworth's tweet and Valve's employee list changing.

In between this and his recent comments about players in single player games being 'retarded and autistic', part of me is wondering if Gabe isn't quite the swell dude gamers make him out to be. Could very well be wrong, but he wouldn't be the first guy to disappear up his own arse as soon as he starts making his millions.

He didn't say players were "retarded and autistic". People have been misquoting and misinterpreting that statement since he made it at the University of Texas.

What he actually meant was, in the context of a game attempting to tell its story in a fashion similar to film, the main character in the game, as controlled by the player, would look "retarded and autistic" from an outside observers point of view.

Or, as an article from Storify put it:
"..,what Newell actually was referring to was that single player games try to be like films, however since the player is in control of the main character, they can do whatever they want. It would be like Luke Skywalker banging his head on the wall while Darth Vader is talking to him."

But the internet being the internet, people immediately took the quote out of context or misunderstood his meaning; much like they do with comments from any high-profile speaker. Since then, it's been a veritable shit storm of nonsense.

Vigormortis:

In between this and his recent comments about players in single player games being 'retarded and autistic', part of me is wondering if Gabe isn't quite the swell dude gamers make him out to be. Could very well be wrong, but he wouldn't be the first guy to disappear up his own arse as soon as he starts making his millions.

He didn't say players were "retarded and autistic". People have been misquoting and misinterpreting that statement since he made it at the University of Texas.

What he actually meant was, in the context of a game attempting to tell its story in a fashion similar to film, the main character in the game, as controlled by the player, would look "retarded and autistic" from an outside observers point of view.

Or, as an article from Storify put it:
"..,what Newell actually was referring to was that single player games try to be like films, however since the player is in control of the main character, they can do whatever they want. It would be like Luke Skywalker banging his head on the wall while Darth Vader is talking to him."

But the internet being the internet, people immediately took the quote out of context or misunderstood his meaning; much like they do with comments from any high-profile speaker. Since then, it's been a veritable shit storm of nonsense.

I am well aware of the context of the quote, thank you very much. And I still think it was in poor taste. It doesn't matter what Gabe was trying to say about the nature of player autonomy in games, making the comparison to and explicitly using the terms 'autistic' and 'retarded' was in incredibly poor taste. That's the sort of language I'd expect from a 4chan user, not a high-profile developer giving a high-profile speech.

Vigormortis:

As opposed to people like you that make a point of finding a negative connotation to anything Valve related?

Overreaction and hyperbole work both ways, my friend.

I HATE Valve so much I use one of their characters as my avatar.

Frostbite3789:

I HATE Valve so much I use one of their characters as my avatar.

To be fair, I took that as an act of irony. Especially given the usual fiery vitriol you bring to discussions on the topic of Valve. (though certainly not to the degree Baahlspawn likes to) <.<

I probably seem the same way in regards to EA; even if it's not purposeful.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

I am well aware of the context of the quote, thank you very much. And I still think it was in poor taste. It doesn't matter what Gabe was trying to say about the nature of player autonomy in games, making the comparison to and explicitly using the terms 'autistic' and 'retarded' was in incredibly poor taste. That's the sort of language I'd expect from a 4chan user, not a high-profile developer giving a high-profile speech.

My apologies. I meant no offense. There's no need to get riled up.

I understand where you're coming from. I really do. Still, I think far too many are taking the comment out of context. Many going so far as to feel personally offended. It's as if they think he was personally insulting fans of single-player games.

Something he most certainly wasn't. Especially when put into the context of his speech.

Half-Life 3 is done. They needed a hardware specialist to make something to plug into the USB port to increase system power for the might of HL3. It is now complete. They will release a teaser tomorrow.

Only one possible conclusion to make here....

She done gone and sexually harrased all the boys... call in the panda!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQnNH7I07RY

rhizhim:
its a company, they also can fire people for some reason.
i dont get all that "SHE GOT EXILED FROM THE HEAVENS" shock that is in this thread.

maybe she got fired because they dont want to continue a project and her job is redundant?

so just wait and see.

It's odd because Valve have a very fussy hiring process, which involves picking people who have particular strengths as well as broad ones - the idea is that people are able to move from one project to another as and when they see fit, whilst retaining core strengths specific to themselves. They've also said they have no problem with things going wrong, as long as the person(s) involved learn and move on from it. Added to that the whole "no boss" idea, where performances are analysed by peers, and it would seem a pretty difficult place to get fired from.

It's irritating to see people act as if Gabe's turned around and started twirling his moustache, but it's not surprising that there's some surprise around the whole thing. You hardly ever hear of people leaving Valve, let alone getting fired. Now apparently there's 25 of them in one fell swoop.

EHKOS:
Half-Life 3 is done. They needed a hardware specialist to make something to plug into the USB port to increase system power for the might of HL3. It is now complete. They will release a teaser tomorrow.

Perhaps they've had to instigate a mass exodus to contain it within the building. Gabe'll be the last to walk out, and with the only copy.

And then the world ends.

Vigormortis:

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

I am well aware of the context of the quote, thank you very much. And I still think it was in poor taste. It doesn't matter what Gabe was trying to say about the nature of player autonomy in games, making the comparison to and explicitly using the terms 'autistic' and 'retarded' was in incredibly poor taste. That's the sort of language I'd expect from a 4chan user, not a high-profile developer giving a high-profile speech.

My apologies. I meant no offense. There's no need to get riled up.

I understand where you're coming from. I really do. Still, I think far too many are taking the comment out of context. Many going so far as to feel personally offended. It's as if they think he was personally insulting fans of single-player games.

Something he most certainly wasn't. Especially when put into the context of his speech.

It's not that I think he was insulting fans of single-player games. It's that I think, whether intentionally or not, he insulted people either suffering from or caring for those suffering from mental illnesses such as autism and such. These are genuine afflictions which have profound effects on the lives of millions of people around the planet. They're also afflictions which suffer a lot of negative press and imagery, precisely because the terminology is thrown around as a needlessly mean-hearted insult.

Perhaps Gabe wasn't aware of the implications of such loaded verbage, but if you're giving a high profile speech in front of an assembly, it's common practise to go through your speech before hand to try and weed out things that could be deemed offensive or ignorant. He should have known that bandying about the terms 'retarded' and 'autistic' would cause upset amongst a certain demographic of gamers who deal with and care for genuinely autistic or mentally retarded people. You can't blame people for calling out poor wording when it occurs.

Vigormortis:

Frostbite3789:

I HATE Valve so much I use one of their characters as my avatar.

To be fair, I took that as an act of irony. Especially given the usual fiery vitriol you bring to discussions on the topic of Valve. (though certainly not to the degree Baahlspawn likes to) <.<

I probably seem the same way in regards to EA; even if it's not purposeful.

Nah, I like Valve, but I feel like in the gaming community and especially this one, people are all too ready to declare them the godking of video games.

It's just like...guys calm down. They aren't perfect.

From PC Gamer Magazine.

http://www.pcgamer.com/2013/02/13/valve-layoff-hardware-mobile/

Gabe Newell:
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.

There are numerous reasons why he wouldn't want to talk about why people have been let go. My first thought is that it isn't necessarily his place, or it's out of respect that he isn't saying why.

I also don't see why he would have to lie about the effect of the layoffs on their projects. Unless there's something more concrete, we can probably assume that everything their working on is going as planned. So for those who were saying that Steambox is dead, calm down till we know more.

Vigormortis:
Jesus jumped-up Christ are people flipping shit over this.

Valve's a business, people. Businesses hire AND fire people on a regular basis; for any number of reasons.

Valve laying off these people (most of which are still unconfirmed, and only Ms. Ellsworth mentioned the word "fired"), isn't some odd, out-of-place occurrence. These things happen all the time; for any number of reasons.

This news isn't ringing the death knell of Valve, Steam, their game development, nor even their hardware development. It also doesn't mean Gabe Newell has suddenly flipped his lid and is going on a "firing spree". It simply means there were a few employees whose positions, personalities, or talents either became redundant or no longer meshed with the companys direction or structure.

Can we all relax a bit? In the very least until we get solid confirmation on what's actually going on?

I should have read your post first, because you said what I was thinking. Read my first post above. I provided a link and quote from Gabe Newell. I'm not entirely worried about what's going on, but I can't help but be curious.

Vigormortis:

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

What confuses me is that none of these developers walked out, or voluntarily left. They all got fired. If it was just one or two individuals, I'd put it down to them just not fitting in the work environment, but twenty five? Twenty five high profile, experienced employees who've worked on everything from Half-Life 2 to Left 4 Dead? I mean, one of the people fired was one of the developers who worked on Narbacular Drop. You know, the game that Valve created Portal from?

My guess is there's been a massive restructuring within the company. A shifting of priorities, especially on the hardware front. Not that they're cancelling development but perhaps changing direction and their end goals.

As such, several lay-offs from the hardware labs isn't that big a stretch.

Regardless, it's all speculation at this point. Until more solid details come out, we have nothing more to go on than Ms. Ellsworth's tweet and Valve's employee list changing.

You're right, companies hire and fire people all the time. But Valve isn't like most companies. Them laying off or firing this many people at once is pretty unprecedented for them. I don't think something like this has ever happened in their history, which is pretty damn impressive considering it seems to be standard procedure for every other developer.

Oh Valve, WTF is going on? You used to be cool. Quit screwing around and focus on getting Half-Life 3 out the door ffs...

Woodsey:

rhizhim:
its a company, they also can fire people for some reason.
i dont get all that "SHE GOT EXILED FROM THE HEAVENS" shock that is in this thread.

maybe she got fired because they dont want to continue a project and her job is redundant?

so just wait and see.

It's odd because Valve have a very fussy hiring process, which involves picking people who have particular strengths as well as broad ones - the idea is that people are able to move from one project to another as and when they see fit, whilst retaining core strengths specific to themselves. They've also said they have no problem with things going wrong, as long as the person(s) involved learn and move on from it. Added to that the whole "no boss" idea, where performances are analysed by peers, and it would seem a pretty difficult place to get fired from.

It's irritating to see people act as if Gabe's turned around and started twirling his moustache, but it's not surprising that there's some surprise around the whole thing. You hardly ever hear of people leaving Valve, let alone getting fired. Now apparently there's 25 of them in one fell swoop.

EHKOS:
Half-Life 3 is done. They needed a hardware specialist to make something to plug into the USB port to increase system power for the might of HL3. It is now complete. They will release a teaser tomorrow.

Perhaps they've had to instigate a mass exodus to contain it within the building. Gabe'll be the last to walk out, and with the only copy.

And then the world ends.

yes, but given the circumstances i.e. they established a hardware department as a software developer, its plausable that she and the others got fired due the high risk that comes with releasing a console(especially based mostly on linux) on the market.

sources stated that a high number of employees in the android developement and hardware department got canned, so its kind of a hint that they are rethinking making the VR googles or the steam box at all.

Jeri Ellsworth is "the boss" when it comes to make, repair and hack some hardware (she's got an electron microscope in her garage), but she might not be that handy for other projects within valve that rely on knowledge of specific software (source, zbrush etc.).
and since they already have a lot of other people who can use the software, it would be kind of pointless to train her.
so she had to get fired.

also, gabe will never leave valve when there is a full fridge in the office and thanks to some charwomen whos job is to fill all fridges in the morining, it will never come to the end of the world.

lets take a minuite to honour charwomen around the world for saving our asses in a hidden constant struggle for survival.

Gabe had this to say on the matter:

"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."

Sounds like a personal issue to me, rather than a corporate one.

Decided to save space, and posts, by replying to everyone in one comment and spoilering everything:

That's unsettling. I hope for some sort of explanation soon, I'm actually quite concerned as to why the hell these lay-offs are happening.

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