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Hardware engineer Ellsworth "fired" from Valve

Team member behind hardware prototypes leaves acclaimed development studio

Jeri Ellsworth, hardware engineer and hacker, has been fired from her position at Valve.

She joined the company in August 2011 as a hardware engineer working on next-generation gaming devices, working within the Steam Big Picture team.

No reason for the departure has been given, with Ellsworth tweeting last night "Wow. I suddenly have a lot of spare time. Got fired today. Time for new exciting projects."

Ellsworth and her team were prototyping control devices designed to make PC gaming more accessible in the living room, as well as the company's wearable computing initiative.

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Latest comments (20)

Michael Bennett Jack of all trades, master of some. 3 years ago
Never heard of someone being fired from Valve before... could this be the first time?
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Steve Nicholls Programmer 3 years ago
Good luck getting hired after being Fired from Valve... epic fail on her part.
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Alexandros Gekas Co- Founder, Editor, Ragequit.gr3 years ago
@ Michael Bennett: I don't think so, I'm pretty sure there have been others before.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Alexandros Gekas on 13th February 2013 9:52am

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Show all comments (20)
Adam Campbell Producer, Hopster3 years ago
Well guys I don't think we know the circumstances surrounding what happened.
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James Boulton Tools & Tech Coder, Slightly Mad Studios3 years ago
"Good luck getting hired after being Fired from Valve... epic fail on her part."

Bizarre comment when the circumstance is entirely unknown. Plus I hardly view Valve as the be-all and end-all of hardware developers -- in the bigger picture they are a dot in the night sky.
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Andrew Howat Associate Producer, Ubisoft Reflections3 years ago
Good luck getting hired after being Fired from Valve... epic fail on her part.
Not really. She comes from the hacker/maker community - where Valve's not really a big/influential name.

She could always follow the steps of Limor 'LadyAda' Fried, another hardware hacker/maker - who was at the state of the union fireside chat with Obama just two days ago, and Entrepreneur magazine "Entrepreneur of the year"

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrew Howat on 13th February 2013 10:25am

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Tom Keresztes Programmer 3 years ago
In what ways fired from a company defines anyone's skills?
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Patrick Williams Medicine and Research 3 years ago
Didn't Gabe Newell recently say that it was easy to get fired from Valve?
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Peter Dwyer Games Designer/Developer 3 years ago
So it begins. Has it finally dawned on Valve just how much it's actually going to cost them to be "A player in the hardware market". In all likelihood Jeri was probably too vocal in pointing out the madness of it all and got canned as a result. After all, when you are on a collision course with self destruction, you hardly want the helmsman trying to make course corrections!

I guess we should wish Jeri good luck. After all she couldn't have been that bad a hardware engineer if she got the gig in the first place.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Peter Dwyer on 13th February 2013 2:56pm

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Tom Keresztes Programmer 3 years ago
So it begins. Has it finally dawned on Valve just how much it's actually going to cost them to be "A player in the hardware market". In all likelihood Jeri was probably too vocal in pointing out the madness of it all and got canned as a result.
Why so serious ? ;)
She did way different projects before, and i am sure Valve can manage some fluctuation. And Steambox is a custom PC, not new hardware.
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Peter Dwyer Games Designer/Developer 3 years ago
@Tom

:) You know I'm never that serious. I'm not sure the steam box was what got her canned. More like the bond style watch Pc nonsense.

It's still pretty odd though and quite frankly ol' Gabe is starting to look like he's loosing the plot.
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You are quite correct, Peter. Her skills were very highly regarded in order to have been hired. And, like the old Paul Harvey narratives, "And now the rest of the story...." Wait for the facts.
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Adam Coate CEO & Founder, Coate Games3 years ago
Sounds like it was more around 25 people who got laid off. She may have been the only one to go to twitter about it. Not sure why she said "fired" though as that implies there was some sort of failure. Things must've really not been working out for Valve to let go of an entire team. Android team makes sense because Valve can't make Steam profitable on Android. But hardware team too? Very peculiar.

"We've been unable to determine an exact headcount, but phrases we've heard from affected employees describing the incident include "great cleansing" and "large decisions." We've seen the number "25" tossed around, but are unable to confirm this.

We can, however, confirm that the cuts have affected more than one department, namely hardware and Android development".

http://gamasutra.com/view/news/186592/Several_out_of_work_as_Valve_makes_large_decisions_about_its_future.php#.URv5HfITUz4
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Andy Samson QA Supervisor, Digital Media Exchange3 years ago
So it seems all that steam's going to turn into...vapor--ware now.
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James Prendergast Research Chemist 3 years ago
@Adam Coate

If I was technically "let go" or "downsized" or whatever I would still say I'd been "fired" because being fired, for me, implies that it wasn't a mutual parting same as the other terms. They're all interchangeable, IMO. Same with "Laid off".
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Adam Campbell Producer, Hopster3 years ago
" Not sure why she said "fired" though"

A lot of people refer to losing their jobs as being fired, even if it wasn't personal.
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Jace Cisnero Games/Level Designers 3 years ago
Without knowing the circumstances, it would be unfair to make any judgement calls about either Jeri or Valve. I wish her the best of luck, though I'm pretty sure she'll do just fine.
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Adam Jordan Community Management/Moderation 3 years ago
"Good luck getting hired after being Fired from Valve... epic fail on her part."

As mentioned by others before me, the circumstances of how or why she was fired are unknown, meaning it may not have been her fault as your comment seems to be implying.

As to get "hired" after being "fired from Valve"...please, Valve are a company just like any other, if anything her work at Valve would be highly regarded by her future employer. I still cannot understand this "Valve are immortal/untouchable" syndrome
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James Wells Gaming Contributor - digboston.com 3 years ago
Sorry to hear about the unfortunate circumstances, but I'm certain someone with her talents would likely find a new role (or heck, create something rad on her own) in a heartbeat. Hopefully they gave her a good severance package, at least?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by James Wells on 1st November 2013 3:49pm

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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany3 years ago
@Steve
Good luck getting hired after being Fired from Valve... epic fail on her part.
You must be new here or we don't work in the same industry.
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