The gaming company Valve confirmed today that it has fired several full-time employees and contractors, possibly from its virtual reality hardware team. "Last month, 13 full-time employees were laid off and part of our contracts with contractors was terminated. It is an unfortunate part of the business, but it does not represent any major change in the company. "We thank those affected for their contribution and wish them well in future efforts," said spokesman Doug Lombardi The Verge.
Valve did not confirm where the former employees worked, but yesterday, the Reddit 2flock user posted a message. which apparently is from an anonymous Valve employee. "They parted like half of Valve's hardware team recently … I wonder how long it will be until the rest of them get Jerry's treatment," he says, possibly a misspelled reference to Jeri Ellsworth, Valve's veteran hardware designer. He was fired in 2013 after Valve decided he wanted to focus on virtual reality instead of the AR headphones he had been defending. Valve's only known hardware projects are the VR devices and the old Steam Controller; discontinued the Steam Link box last year.
2flock was the source of another leak related to the VR valve last year, posting photos of an apparent valve prototype headset. So, although we can not confirm if this is a real message, it is relatively credible. This morning, former Valve VR team member Nat Brown tweeted that was no longer working for the company. Variety reported that the dismissals affected members of the VR team, although he did not offer details.
Along with his work in the Steam store and games like Dota 2 Valve has been a driving force in virtual reality. The company created the widely used SteamVR software platform and co-developed the innovative HTC Vive headset, which was launched in 2016. Last year, Valve started sending a second-generation Vive "Knuckles" controller to developers, and until November of this year. There were rumors that I was designing a new hearing aid along with a VR prequel for Half-Life .
Valve retired from Vive, however, he delivered the development mainly to HTC. Although originally supposed to be associated with other manufacturers in SteamVR products, a headset manufactured by LG never materialized. Several VR and AR companies have laid off employees or closed in the middle of a market that is growing slower than many people expected.
Variety reports that current layoffs do not mean that Valve is coming out of VR, but it is unclear if that is explicitly confirmed or simply implied by the promise that there was "no major change in the company" . It is also possible that Valve can continue to work on the SteamVR software but exit the hardware market. On the positive side, Knuckles drivers were updated last month, and Valve is announcing a list of jobs for a "VR and hardware" software engineer. In addition, Oculus and HTC have announced new headphones for 2019. Therefore, if Valve is still working on virtual reality hardware, we could also hear it this year.