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Valve Lays Off Parts of VR Team, Denies Change in Direction

Video game publisher and distributor Valve has laid off some of the staffers working on its VR initiatives, the company confirmed Thursday. However, a spokesperson said that this doesn’t mean Valve is exiting VR, sending Variety the following statement:

“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.”

Valve is best known for games like “Half-Life” and “Counter-Strike,” and is also running the Steam distribution platform for PC-based gaming. As part of Steam, Valve has also had a major impact on the PC-based VR market, distributing titles for both HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

The company also developed the tracking hardware used by HTC’s Vive VR headset. Valve has continued to develop its tracking hardware, and reportedly also developed its own VR headset internally. However, with major headset manufacturers switching to inside-out tracking without the need for any external tracking devices, the company’s future in the VR hardware market is less certain.

One of the people who departed the company as part of the layoffs was Nat Brown, who had been working as a VR engineer for the company since September of 2015. Brown announced his departure on Twitter Thursday morning, saying that he left Valve in early February.

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