Valve's Newell Issues Firings Statement

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Valve's Newell Issues Firings Statement

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"We're not going to discuss why anyone in particular is or isn't working here," says Gabe Newell.

In the wake of an as yet unknown number of firings/layoffs/downsizing at Valve - including the likes of Jeri Ellsworth and possibly also Jason Holtman, though the circumstances of his departure are unclear - Gabe Newell has issued a statement. There's nothing to worry about, he says, and that's pretty much all he says.

The full statement reads as follows:

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 cancelling 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.

Valve isn't a publicly traded company, and consequently doesn't have to have the same level of shareholder-reassuring PR that, say, a Blizzard would. That said, Valve is a very high profile operation, and has invested in some pretty interesting hardware projects. It would be unusual if people didn't speculate when a number of employees, many of whom have excellent resumes - the guy who did Gollum for Weta may have gone, the guy who worked on the original Half Life may have gone, the Team Fortress 2 art lead may have gone - apparently get the boot. It doesn't help when phrases like "great cleansing" and "large decisions" are being thrown around by departing staff. Newell's best Officer Krupke impression may not be enough to curb speculation, this time.

Source: Engadget

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When you OWN a company you do sort of have the right to decide who you do or do not employ. Discussing reasons for termination by a company can also be a breach of privacy of the individual. Many a lawsuit has been started on grounds of a company making a public statement about an individual, ruining their potential employment opportunities in the future and therefore drastically harming their personal livelihood.

The few who really do know what will happen are obliged NOT to tell the public and those who were laid off/fired will not likely have been told the true reason for their dismissal.

I think it's obvious what's happened - the cuddly Gabe we know and love has been replaced by his evil self from a parallel dimension, which explains his Beard of Evil.

Either that or he found out they've just been arsing about for the last eight years instead of working on Half Life 3 like they were supposed to.

All we need to know is that Valve is still alive and well and nothing has changed, projects are still going and the lights are still on. Why some of the gamers here feel the NEED/RIGHT to know someones personal life is beyond me. They are not celebs, Gabe and Valve dont owe us shit (cept wtf has happend to HL3 but thats a diff topic lol)

As long as valve are still around im happy. THQ died, Gas POwered Games might be in trouble now... so just be happy for that. And the fact we will see a HL3 at some point in the future

There are a lot of potential reasons for people, even entire teams, leaving a company; most are far less intriguing than what everyone is trying to build this up to

I bet they tried to convince Gabe to release the already-completed Half Life 3.

"What? Nonsense! You are fired, all of you!"

they ate from the apple pie of knowledge...

anyways, its only natural that people would be concerned when you supposedly lay of a great chunk of your new hardware department. especially if some of them play a relatively big role in your company.

just bring out half life 3 already. why is it taking so long of a sudden???

Sounds like the balance sheet wasn't as rosy this year.

I like how people are more defensive when the company involved is Valve.

Valve just admitting they're a bloody COMPANY. They're 40-50 somethings running a BUSINESS.

CrossLOPER:
I like how people are more defensive when the company involved is Valve.

To be fair people have ample reason to be that way when it comes to Valve, nobody wants to think something might be wrong with them when you've got hundreds or possibly thousands of dollars worth of games tied to their platform.

So yeah, hopefully this has all happened for a really mundane reason and nothing is wrong behind the scenes at Valve.

Sixcess:
I think it's obvious what's happened - the cuddly Gabe we know and love has been replaced by his evil self from a parallel dimension, which explains his Beard of Evil.

Guess we'll be a little short on presents this year.
He knows when you are redundant
He knows when you're in demand
When money is tight he'll dump your ass as fast as Ayn Rand.
Oh,
You'd better not breathe, you'd better not move,
Don't mention Half Life 3, Whatever you do.
Gabe Newell is sizing you dow-wwwn!

I love how people go "Well it's a company/business, this happens all the time!"

That implies Valve is like most companies/businesses. True, they are one, but remember that they have never laid off or fired this many people at once. Or this many people period. It's pretty damn unprecedented for them. Especially considering this type of thing seems like standard procedure in the games industry at large.

It's very curious.

Irridium:
I love how people go "Well it's a company/business, this happens all the time!"

That implies Valve is like most companies/businesses. True, they are one, but remember that they have never laid off or fired this many people at once. Or this many people period. It's pretty damn unprecedented for them. Especially considering this type of thing seems like standard procedure in the games industry at large.

It's very curious.

I'm just irritated that people keep trying to prop up Valve as punk rebels when in fact they're 40-somethings running a business. It's a bit hard to try and act "independent and hip" when you run a goddamn billion-dollar service like Steam.

Gabe's running a business here. People come, people go and it's not always with cheerful smiles and bunches of flowers. He has no obligation to discuss what is clearly a series of private matters.

Plus, Gabe's totally rocking that beard.

Let's see, 25 high-profile employees. That's at least $300k/yr saved.

...nope, couldn't have been a financial decision when Valve nets that kind of money weekly.

I'm honestly curious as to why Valve purged that many people at once. Trying to maximize something on the spreadsheets before the end of the Fiscal year?

It's good practice for a boss not to discuss reasons for personnel decisions publicly. If Gabe were to tell everyone that so and so was inept, then he'd get a reputation for ruining people's careers and others wouldn't want to work for him. If he discussed openly changes in direction for the company, it could lead to speculation about whether the company has any sense of direction.

Maybe this presages an announcement about scrapping the steambox?

Ilikemilkshake:
To be fair people have ample reason to be that way when it comes to Valve, nobody wants to think something might be wrong with them when you've got hundreds or possibly thousands of dollars worth of games tied to their platform.

I don't agree with you.

When you built a reputation of EXTREME trust and have millions of players playing games on your non-transferable account-based platform, you are subject to a large amount of scrutiny. You are not paying for a service (no matter how hard others try to convince you, games are a PRODUCT) that is easily replaceable if the conditions are unfavorable. This isn't like netflix where you can just view whatever your feel like whenever and just keep paying a nominal fee. If that was the case, the nominal fee would result in FULL ACCESS TO THE ENTIRE STEAM LIBRARY ON DEMAND(wouldn't that be fantastic?). If something happens, your library is GONE and there is only one way to regain access to what you paid for.

CrossLOPER:

Ilikemilkshake:
To be fair people have ample reason to be that way when it comes to Valve, nobody wants to think something might be wrong with them when you've got hundreds or possibly thousands of dollars worth of games tied to their platform.

I don't agree with you.

When you built a reputation of EXTREME trust and have millions of players playing games on your non-transferable account-based platform, you are subject to a large amount of scrutiny. You are not paying for a service (no matter how hard others try to convince you, games are a PRODUCT) that is easily replaceable if the conditions are unfavorable. This isn't like netflix where you can just view whatever your feel like whenever and just keep paying a nominal fee. If that was the case, the nominal fee would result in FULL ACCESS TO THE ENTIRE STEAM LIBRARY ON DEMAND(wouldn't that be fantastic?). If something happens, your library is GONE and there is only one way to regain access to what you paid for.

Uh.. I actually agree with that but what does any of what you just said have to do with my post? Infact if anything you're only backing up what I said. People don't want to see valve in trouble because they don't want all their games to disappear. So what exactly are you disagreeing with?

Ympulse:
Let's see, 25 high-profile employees. That's at least $300k/yr saved.

...nope, couldn't have been a financial decision when Valve nets that kind of money weekly.

I'm honestly curious as to why Valve purged that many people at once. Trying to maximize something on the spreadsheets before the end of the Fiscal year?

is that in 1960s dollars? isn't 300k est. seemingly a bit low for a high profile heads of departments type people? especially when one of them collects pinball games to put in your office.

25 seems rather excessive for nothing out of the ordinary however, maybe they were all planning a coup and gabe caught wind nipped it in the bud. :P

and some of these people were long time employees by the look of it, maybe it was simply a case of old dogs not learning the new tricks fast enough for gabes taste and it was just time to trim the fat so to speak.

I'm starting to feel a little wary of VALVe. I pretty much loved them as much as I love Nintendo, but it seems to me lately that the entire company is shifting its focus to just maintaining Steam while they work on DotA 2: Another Godawful Piece of MOBA Trash. Guess that smell of money emanating from LoL was a bit too strong.

This is why companies don't just jump into the hardware market as companies need a lot of financial backing to pull it off.

Ilikemilkshake:

CrossLOPER:

Ilikemilkshake:
To be fair people have ample reason to be that way when it comes to Valve, nobody wants to think something might be wrong with them when you've got hundreds or possibly thousands of dollars worth of games tied to their platform.

I don't agree with you.

When you built a reputation of EXTREME trust and have millions of players playing games on your non-transferable account-based platform, you are subject to a large amount of scrutiny. You are not paying for a service (no matter how hard others try to convince you, games are a PRODUCT) that is easily replaceable if the conditions are unfavorable. This isn't like netflix where you can just view whatever your feel like whenever and just keep paying a nominal fee. If that was the case, the nominal fee would result in FULL ACCESS TO THE ENTIRE STEAM LIBRARY ON DEMAND(wouldn't that be fantastic?). If something happens, your library is GONE and there is only one way to regain access to what you paid for.

Uh.. I actually agree with that but what does any of what you just said have to do with my post? Infact if anything you're only backing up what I said. People don't want to see valve in trouble because they don't want all their games to disappear. So what exactly are you disagreeing with?

It kind of got lost in my tirade, but I wanted to say that I didn't understand the psychology of the people who are defensive. Since starforce, you would think that they would be more wary about what goes in the mind of publishers.

He should have said "No, this isn't about Steam or Linux or hardware or [insert subject game name here].

Yeah, I have to agree. This worries me just a little bit. My best guess is that the Steambox isn't going exactly as planned. Maybe they're scraping the idea? I always figured that if it didn't live up to their expectations, they wouldn't release it for the quick bucks back. Doesn't seem like Valve's style.

Sixcess:
I think it's obvious what's happened - the cuddly Gabe we know and love has been replaced by his evil self from a parallel dimension, which explains his Beard of Evil.

Either that or he found out they've just been arsing about for the last eight years instead of working on Half Life 3 like they were supposed to.

You son of a bitch i had plans why did you have to link me to tv tropes my day is gone -kidding- But people need to remeber valve is a bussiness and bussiness fire peopl

It's really no one else s business anyway.

Abomination:
When you OWN a company you do sort of have the right to decide who you do or do not employ. Discussing reasons for termination by a company can also be a breach of privacy of the individual. Many a lawsuit has been started on grounds of a company making a public statement about an individual, ruining their potential employment opportunities in the future and therefore drastically harming their personal livelihood.

The few who really do know what will happen are obliged NOT to tell the public and those who were laid off/fired will not likely have been told the true reason for their dismissal.

while in general i would argree, i think that we should not be allowed to hide such things as reasons for firing. of course the problem is - stupid public misinterpreting everything. however if you got nothing to hide, you got nothing to be afraid of. if you got something to hide, well, id rather you pay for your crimes than hide them.

However from the people in the article i have a feeling that the people who have used to create good products, now have felt asleep on their victories and just go by hoping to do little work and get paid is getting the boot. i may be wrong, i know too little to decide, but thats jut a hunch i have.

You are not paying for a service (no matter how hard others try to convince you, games are a PRODUCT

This is simply wrong. You are paying for a license to play this game. essentially you are RENTING a product for an indefinate time period, however if the business shut down they have the right to recall the rented product. you do not "own" the games on steam. (to be fair valve has said they have a safelcok redundancy that allows them to very easily switch steam into offline client allowing users to play their games indefinitely if servers were to shut down for whatever reason)

Guess they failed the peer review but why would they fire people based on their performance in Portal 2?

Seriously though, this confuses the fuck out of me. Is it a restructring thing? Were they bad apples for a long time now? It can't be a financial problem since they are even making money from the Dota 2 Beta.

I could understand one or two but this many? It does feel like great cleansing.

Oh well, under circumstances Gabe probably said and did the best thing regarding the interview but I would be lying if I said "I-it is not like I want to know what is going on in there"

Also Half Life 3.

Hmm, I'm sure in the end he made the right decision.

They probably argued and fought him, but in the end, they learned the true moral of the story:

Once he's made up his mind,

Strazdas:

Abomination:
When you OWN a company you do sort of have the right to decide who you do or do not employ. Discussing reasons for termination by a company can also be a breach of privacy of the individual. Many a lawsuit has been started on grounds of a company making a public statement about an individual, ruining their potential employment opportunities in the future and therefore drastically harming their personal livelihood.

The few who really do know what will happen are obliged NOT to tell the public and those who were laid off/fired will not likely have been told the true reason for their dismissal.

while in general i would argree, i think that we should not be allowed to hide such things as reasons for firing. of course the problem is - stupid public misinterpreting everything. however if you got nothing to hide, you got nothing to be afraid of. if you got something to hide, well, id rather you pay for your crimes than hide them.

However from the people in the article i have a feeling that the people who have used to create good products, now have felt asleep on their victories and just go by hoping to do little work and get paid is getting the boot. i may be wrong, i know too little to decide, but thats jut a hunch i have.

There is a very big feeling of "got nothing to hide so why don't you tell?" but the thing is that Valve CAN NOT tell the public why someone was fired. I believe it could even be illegal due to breach of privacy.

I think the shoe could be on the other foot. The people who were fired could have been fired for abuse of privilege. Remember a few years back how we learned that people who worked for Valve had a high degree of personal freedom but also responsibility. Perhaps that management and employment strategy has come full circle and certain members needed to be reminded that if you want to have an awesome work environment then you better work awesomely.

Abomination:
There is a very big feeling of "got nothing to hide so why don't you tell?" but the thing is that Valve CAN NOT tell the public why someone was fired. I believe it could even be illegal due to breach of privacy.

I think the shoe could be on the other foot. The people who were fired could have been fired for abuse of privilege. Remember a few years back how we learned that people who worked for Valve had a high degree of personal freedom but also responsibility. Perhaps that management and employment strategy has come full circle and certain members needed to be reminded that if you want to have an awesome work environment then you better work awesomely.

Yes, my comment went broad enough to argue that americas current law system is not perfect.

CrossLOPER:
I like how people are more defensive when the company involved is Valve.

^^^THIS^^^

The Company is EA: "EA IS ABUSING ITS EMPLOYEES"
The Company is Microsoft: "MICROSOFT IS ABUSING ITS EMPLOYEES"
The Company is Sony: "SONY IS A BUNCH OF PENNY PINCHING DOUCHES"
The Company is Valve: "IT'S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!"

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