Valve VR division reportedly hit by layoffs

Valve recently laid off 13 full-time employees along with letting go of a number of contractors. The company’s VR hardware division was reportedly the target of these layoffs. The Valve VR division was responsible for co-developing the Vive VR headset.

Valve spokesperson Doug Lombardi confirmed the layoffs to The Verge earlier this week.

“Last month, 13 full-time employees were let go and a portion of our contractor agreements were terminated. It’s an unfortunate part of business, but does not represent any major changes at the company. We thank those affected for their contribution and wish them well in future endeavors,” Lombardi said in a statement.

While Valve did not confirm where the employees worked, several former employees said they have been laid off. Nat Brown announced that he was let go from Valve in early February. Brown had been employed at Valve’s VR division since September 2015. Redditor 2flock posted a message from a supposed Valve employee.

“They fired like half the Valve hardware team recently,” the post read.

Valve’s Lombardi did say that the company is not exiting the VR arena, although it has taken a step back from co-development of the Vive headset. The company did begin sending a second-generation Vive controller in 2018, and there were rumors about a new headset being designed. That headset was reportedly in development alongside a VR Half-Life prequel.

A number of other Steam VR products had been in development, including an LG-produced headset have yet to materialize. Valve continues to advertise software engineering jobs for VR and hardware.

PC VR has been slow to grow, although Steam VR users nearly doubled over 2018. Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive continue to be the most popular VR headsets on PC with the Windows Mixed Reality headset being newer to market. Headsets and computers to run them continue to be expensive investments, and PC software continues to be a niche market.