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  1. #21
    Network Hub Dead Herald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    You are correct, but layoffs also has a connotation of "Ran out of money".
    This is standard business practice when a project gets outsourced. They either shuffle the people from the axed division or they cut them loose. It's honestly cheaper to shuffle them, because they have to pay severance and unemployment to people they lay off. But if they can't place them, they can't place them.

    People like to call this sort of thing evil, but the corporate jungle is every bit as true neutral as the natural one.

  2. #22
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    You are correct, but layoffs also has a connotation of "Ran out of money".
    Actually it means both. You might use the more benign word "downsizing" in this case, which doesn't necessarily mean running out of money. Whatever you want to call it, it amounts to the same thing. I don't think playing with the language can change this fact. It's a business decision designed to maximise resources. In this case Valve decided it was better to outsource it rather than have their own in-house team. So they laid off the staff... so far as we know.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dead Herald View Post
    People like to call this sort of thing evil, but the corporate jungle is every bit as true neutral as the natural one.
    Exactly, it's not evil or cruel. It's business. Hopefully it reminds people that Valve are a business even if they're incredibly benign. They have to turn a profit, or utopia dies.

  3. #23
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sketch's Avatar
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    Dammit Valve, release games, not employees!
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  4. #24
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dead Herald View Post
    People like to call this sort of thing evil, but the corporate jungle is every bit as true neutral as the natural one.
    Amorality to a moral person is immorality.
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  5. #25
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus b0rsuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lambchops View Post
    That is surely not a real name!
    Beat me to it ! If "Realm Lovejoy" is indeed real, his/her parents are probably hippies.
    -----------------------
    I don't care about Valve enough to tell how serious it is. Does it make Valve as crippled as Activision Blizzard ?
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  6. #26
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by b0rsuk View Post
    I don't care about Valve enough to tell how serious it is. Does it make Valve as crippled as Activision Blizzard ?
    Nope, it means a grand total of bugger all. All it really means is that they tried to do something with Android or building their own Steambox and it didn't pay off. It's not the first time Valve's failed at something and it won't be the last, it's just that this is the first time we've heard of staff being dismissed. Assuming it's all true.


    EDIT: Of course with the latest news that GabeN said that nothing got canned and that they won't discuss staff issues, a shadow of doubt is cast over the entire thing. So maybe nothing happened. However it does demonstrate that Valve is not the transparent utopia of game development with full accountability - it's remarkably opaque with this flat-out refusal to discuss possible layoffs. Plenty of other studios generally don't have an issue with saying "Yes, we dismissed 30 people today, we'll give you reasons later" so this stonewalling from Valve is pretty bad.

    Stonewalling might work for Ep3/HL3 because hahaha fanbase screw you! but for things like this it just seems like an attempt at a coverup. They shouldn't have anything to fear.
    Last edited by soldant; 14-02-2013 at 08:54 AM.

  7. #27
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus LTK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    Stonewalling might work for Ep3/HL3 because hahaha fanbase screw you! but for things like this it just seems like an attempt at a coverup. They shouldn't have anything to fear.
    "If they have nothing to hide, they shouldn't have anything to fear." Now where have I heard that before?

    Look, it's their company and they have a right to privacy. If there's nothing we're entitled to know about, you can't call it a coverup. Valve is not a government institution and they are not acting in the public interest.

  8. #28
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jesus_Phish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LTK View Post
    "If they have nothing to hide, they shouldn't have anything to fear." Now where have I heard that before?

    Look, it's their company and they have a right to privacy. If there's nothing we're entitled to know about, you can't call it a coverup. Valve is not a government institution and they are not acting in the public interest.

    I had a much longer winded post, but LTK summed it up perfectly in the last sentence. Valve aren't the MoD and they didn't just fire James Bond.

  9. #29
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LTK View Post
    "If they have nothing to hide, they shouldn't have anything to fear." Now where have I heard that before?

    Look, it's their company and they have a right to privacy. If there's nothing we're entitled to know about, you can't call it a coverup. Valve is not a government institution and they are not acting in the public interest.
    You are of course right and there's no obligation to release information, but given that Valve like to play up the fact that they engage with the community (even if it's just to troll) it's a poignant reminder that they can also be a brick wall whenever they choose to be. Normally they reserve that for Half Life discussions but now it's about company operations. Valve employment has been painted as a utopia of creativity with no formal hierarchy or structure work on whatever you like blah blah you're fired talk to you on Twitter.

    I'm not saying they're forced to say anything. In fact if you read my post properly I never said they're under any obligation to say anything about it. But the fact that you don't have to say anything doesn't necessarily mean it's the best move not to say something. What I was getting at was that nobody would begrudge Valve dismissing staff that it has no use for. That's just sound business strategy. Even as a critic of Valve I wouldn't blame them in the slightest. It's not a case of "Silence is guilt, CRUCIFY THEM!" just that there's nothing wrong with what they've done so releasing a statement wouldn't be damaging.

    Unless they actually have screwed up and they're trying to hide it to protect the VALVE NEVER FAILS IN BUSINESS persona they've built up. I mean HL2's development was filled with management issues (as was HL before it) but that only really came out after HL2 was released and was a major success.

  10. #30
    Lesser Hivemind Node Wheelz's Avatar
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    You don't seem to be accounting for the possibility of them having been let go because they're work wasn't up to standard.
    There's no way Valve coming out and saying "Yes, we let go of 25 people because we felt their work was lacking" is going to end well, and more over it would possibly taint any opportunity of other employment with in the industry for those people.

  11. #31
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wheelz View Post
    You don't seem to be accounting for the possibility of them having been let go because they're work wasn't up to standard.
    They don't necessarily need to say that either, they can just say that they downsized or something. The flat-out refusal to even acknowledge if staff have left seems like they're hoping it'll all just be forgotten about. The problem is that people are suspicious so they're going to come under the microscope. Saying absolutely nothing might not be the best PR move. They don't necessarily have to give reasons to they could at least acknowledge that some people who worked for them have "moved on".

    If nobody knew they'd left or been dismissed they could have never said a word and nobody would have cared. But they're under the public eye now. To be honest I couldn't care less that people have been dismissed, I'm callous enough not even to care for the people who have been fired because I'm a neo capitalist nightmare that keeps Nalano awake at night. Okay not really, but beside a precursory "Good luck finding work" I'm going to forget about it 5 minutes later. But I'm just commenting on how Valve's management of engaging with the media can be so excellent (with things like the HL2 leak, TF2 or Gabe discussing new technology) and then also be so inept (with issues like this, the HL2 release date fiasco in 2003, HL3 TOLL JK).

  12. #32
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mickygor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    Yes, they just left of their own volition...

    They appear to have terminated their little hardware division and dismissed the staff that they couldn't find a place for, as you said. Nothing wrong with that but I don't know how this doesn't count as "not having to lay off anyone".
    The key word was except :/
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  13. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    Yes, they just left of their own volition...

    They appear to have terminated their little hardware division and dismissed the staff that they couldn't find a place for, as you said. Nothing wrong with that but I don't know how this doesn't count as "not having to lay off anyone".
    Yeah, shocking, people might not want to spend the rest of their career in one company. What are they thinking...

    And I'm not sure where the double speak accusation comes from. Gundato already explained that "having to lay someone off" is commonly associated with "we don't have money to pay for your work". That's obviously not the case here.

    Other than that, we seem to agree that this is a classic case of "so what?" news.

  14. #34
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by His Master's Voice View Post
    And I'm not sure where the double speak accusation comes from. Gundato already explained that "having to lay someone off" is commonly associated with "we don't have money to pay for your work". That's obviously not the case here.
    Except to lay someone off is also commonly associated with "Well, we've got nothing for you so... see ya." Which may well be the case here. Honestly all it means is to remove staff due to business conditions, not due to incompetence. That might be money, or because they're redundant, or due to downsizing, or because it's Thursday(?).

    But yes, this is a "So what?" moment. Less "So what?" is Valve going "YOU SAW NOTHING."

  15. #35
    Network Hub Dead Herald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    Amorality to a moral person is immorality.
    90% of the time, what you described is simple envy.

  16. #36
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dead Herald View Post
    90% of the time, what you described is simple envy.
    No... no, it's not.
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  17. #37
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    Except to lay someone off is also commonly associated with "Well, we've got nothing for you so... see ya." Which may well be the case here. Honestly all it means is to remove staff due to business conditions, not due to incompetence. That might be money, or because they're redundant, or due to downsizing, or because it's Thursday(?).

    But yes, this is a "So what?" moment. Less "So what?" is Valve going "YOU SAW NOTHING."
    I dunno, maybe it is different in the land of penal colonies, but in Eagle land "Layoffs" and "Downsizing" scream "We done did run out of moneys", so it makes it sound worse than it is.

    And I don't think Valve not commenting is really an issue. Let's go over the following likely scenarios

    1. The let go employees sucked. They weren't able to "be their own bosses" and their division failed to really accomplish anything. It is really bad form to say "Yeah, that dude I fired, he is a moron" (and may be illegal, not sure), so Valve is staying quiet.
    2. This has to do with Valve outsourcing hardware development and they may or may not have a few partnerships they don't want to announce. They were unable to place the employees, but they don't want to make them sound bad
    3. Gabe told one of them to "get in my belly", huge sexual harrassment lawsuit, Gabe can't speak for legal purposes (I find this one the funniest)
    4. Valve realize that no matter what they do they are gonna sound like an evil corporation and people are going to blow this out of proportion, so they are taking the "La la la la, I can't hear you" approach.
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  18. #38
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Hypernetic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    I dunno, maybe it is different in the land of penal colonies, but in Eagle land "Layoffs" and "Downsizing" scream "We done did run out of moneys", so it makes it sound worse than it is.
    It really doesn't. For example, if a factory modernizes and gets new machines/robots that allow them to have 1/4 the amount of workers they had before, that doesn't mean they are running out of money, it means they are doing better than ever before and now have to pay 1/4th the amount of people for the same (or likely higher) productivity.

    @everyone else:

    Obviously none of us know the real reasons behind these layoffs, but if I were a betting man I'd place my bets on it being related to their stagnant game release schedule. If you look at Valve as not one entity but as two, one being Valve games and the other being Steam they layoffs might make more sense. We are approaching 2 years since the last Valve release and unless they have some huge surprise at E3 (or w/e show you want) this year, it's probably going to be another year or two at the least before we see a new Valve title.

    So when we break it down like that, it makes more sense. What does "Valve games" currently make their income from? Well it's mostly the item shops in TF2 and DOTA 2 I'd assume. Considering a lot of the items they sell in the shops aren't even designed by valve (graphically), how many people do they actually need to employ to continue turning a profit? Assuming they are actually working on Half-Life 3 and whatever other games they might be dreaming up, anyone who's not a part of those dev teams really has no use. Sure it's easy to say "but Valve makes tons of money from Steam, they could afford to keep 25 people!", while this is probably true it's also a horrible business decision. Being the "good guy" in business usually ends up with your business going out of business.

    TL:DR you have to separate Valve and Steam in this discussion, even though they are under the same umbrella they are two different entities.

  19. #39
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hypernetic View Post
    It really doesn't. For example, if a factory modernizes and gets new machines/robots that allow them to have 1/4 the amount of workers they had before, that doesn't mean they are running out of money, it means they are doing better than ever before and now have to pay 1/4th the amount of people for the same (or likely higher) productivity.
    This is, of course, little consolation to the displaced workers.

    Of course, the people in question in this case are well-known highly-skilled professionals, and will not have terrible difficulty finding further employment if their current department was indeed liquidated.
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  20. #40
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Hypernetic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    This is, of course, little consolation to the displaced workers.

    Of course, the people in question in this case are well-known highly-skilled professionals, and will not have terrible difficulty finding further employment if their current department was indeed liquidated.
    See, if they were smart they would have gotten jobs at the robot factory.

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