“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.”
And that’s it. It’s a reassuring response, but it all but confirms that the reported layoffs have, in fact, taken place after all.
Valve has one of the highest employee retention rates in the entire video game industry – and just a few years ago, their Jobs page touted a 98% retention rate. But though we haven’t really heard of any significant layoffs from the company, ever since its inception, that doesn’t mean they don’t fire people at all. In fact, according to Gabe Newell (in his first talk at the LBJ School of Public Affairs in Austin), due to Valve’s inherently flat structure and hierarchy, they have to be really aggressive about firing people, and he adds that they haven’t done a very good job with interims or new employees.
But again, we’ve never really seen that process in action. Well, until now.