News flitted about this morning that Valve had "fired" tech guru Jeri Ellsworth, after she tweeted "Yup. Got fired today. Time for new exciting projects." But it seems that this wasn't one individual getting the chop, but rather a whole bunch of them. Gamasutra are reporting that the figure might be around 25, but this isn't confirmed. It seems that those now without work were working on hardware and Android projects.
With former Half-Life developers Valve getting tech companies to pitch to develop the Steam box, it seems a reasonable speculation that they've realised outside experts are better set up for hardware development than their own internal attempts to create such a team. The company was postulating a number of tech projects, but little has been seen. It would make sense if they had chosen to back away from that direction that a number of staff in that area might no longer be needed. But we're obviously guessing at this point. We've asked Valve for a comment.
We wish the very best to those who find themselves moving on, and hope they pick up work very soon.
Of course, with Valve being a utopian perfection where all staff are equal, you have to assume they fired themselves. Or maybe the Employee's Handbook isn't entirely accurate.