Valve has fired hardware engineer Jeri Ellsworth, according to a tweet on her personal feed. Also, further sources indicate a total of 25 employees have been laid off, and another report states Valve’s director of business, Jason Holtman has left, but neither of these two reports can be confirmed by Valve as of press time.
Ellsworth – known for creating a Commodore 64 emulator within a joystick – posted that she had been released from Valve this morning, and has since posted no further information.
GamesIndustry reports that the hacker and engineer joined the Seattle-based company in August 2011 and worked within the studio’s hardware team to develop next-generation prototypes. The site adds that Ellsworth’s known projects included Steam Big Picture mode and wearable computing tech.
According to a source close to Develop, Steam boss Jason Holtman has left the company, and the reason for his departure is “unclear” at this time. He has been with Valve since 2005.
Meanwhile, PCgamesN has a running list of employees who have been removed from the current staff page.
In the wake of the news, several rumours have broken suggesting Vave is shutting down projects and refocusing on new ones. Valve has been quiet on the matter, but founder Gabe Newell told Engadget that reports of a new focus are greatly exaggerated.
“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,” he said.
“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.”