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Valve's Gabe Newell addresses layoffs: 'We aren't canceling any projects'

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Valve crowbars 800px
Valve crowbars 800px

It's an unusual day at Valve Software, with reports of layoffs at the game company, and Valve co-founder Gabe Newell is taking the unusual step of commenting on the matter publicly. In a statement to Engadget, he told the world that despite "an unusual amount of speculation" into the company's staffing situation, none of Valve's current projects will be canceled:

"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."

Gamasutra, one of the first publications reporting on the increased spate of layoffs at Valve, had originally written that they might have had something to do with cutting staff in the company's Android and hardware development departments, but Newell's comments suggest that's not the case. Valve rarely fires people, but when it does, it's a peer-driven effort: Valve has no formal boss, and reportedly, people typically leave when their peers decide they aren't a fit for that environment.

Despite the loss of Jeri Ellsworth, who set up shop prototyping game controllers for Valve, and the apparent loss of Jason Holtman — Valve's long-time director of business development who helped build the Steam digital distribution platform into the powerhouse it is today — it sounds like the company will keep pursuing its Steam Box dream of reinventing the game console.