American video game developer Valve Corporation has let go of 13 people and more contractors, according to media reports, mostly in the VR sphere.
In a statement sent to Upload VR, Valve said the situation "does not represent any major changes at the company" and wished the employees well in any new work they may have.
One of the former Valve workers, Nat Brown, made a posting on Twitter a few days ago saying that he is no longer working at Valve as of Feb. 7, but adding that he is happy to connect former clients with the people who are still working there.
VR is a relatively new segment for Valve, which is best known for its first title (Half-Life) that was released 21 years ago. Coincidentally, last year there were images leaked online appearing to show a Valve-built VR headset, but the company hasn't commented on the veracity of the claims.
While the company did lay off employees in the VR sector, it appears to remain an active area as there is a posting on their website requesting a mechanical engineer (research and development) that is supposed to be a subject matter expert on technologies that will be used in VR.
While the VR segment is growing, outlets such as TechCrunch noted there has been a slow uptake in headset growth. It should be noted that anyone wanting to get into VR has a steep adoption cost to consider, as it means purchasing a separate headset as well as a console or PC. Additionally, there are only a few games that are optimized for VR, making it difficult for the heaviest gamers to get new content regularly.
But once that pricing hurdle is over, the long-term trend does appear to be steadily going up in the 2020s, multiple news reports say. But companies, who must be responsive to investors quarter by quarter, may need to hire strategically to wait out this slower period. It's probable that there will be fewer VR hires and less activity until VR becomes more mainstream, as the cost of headsets drops and the number of new VR titles.