Valve Closes Down San Francisco Office

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Valve Closes Down San Francisco Office

Valve has ended with its association with Jeff Gates and Tod Semple, but left them the keys to the office to be nice.

You may recall in December of 2012 when Valve bought out Star Filled Studios, a two man team who had collectively worked on games including Spore, Plants vs. Zombies and Diablo 3. Rather than absorbing them into its main office however, the company had partners Jeff Gates and Tod Semple remain in San Francisco where they were to act as a subsidiary. Whatever aspirations Valve had for Gates and Semple however, seem to be at an end as the publisher has let the duo go.

According to Semple, the separation has been amicable. "Valve was super cool about it and is letting us continue to work on our game and is also giving us the office. So Jeff and I are starting up a new company called Temple Gates Games." Valve offered its own comments on the situation. "We were big fans of their prior work. We worked with them during their startup phase, but they're independent now and still working on their game. We wish them the best of luck." According to Semple, the relationship ending issue, rather than some big dispute or conflict, was simply a lack of mutual interests. "It turned out that there weren't many benefits for either side in that arrangement," he explained. Semple and Gates new studio will return the duo to their previous line of work as independent game developers.

Granted, this is fairly small as far as "studio closures" (finger quotes feel appropriate here) go, but considering how many of these stories conclude with dozens of hard working developers out of work and jobless, it's kind of nice to see someone ending a relationship with a company of Valve's size on a relatively positive note.

Source: IGN

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This is brilliant the way that both of them talk about it makes it sound like a break-up. And good guy Valve as ever is the lovely girl that lets you down with a smile, giving them the office and supporting their future work and what-not. A company like EA would have been one of those douchey guys that takes all their stuff and talks dirty about them afterwards and blames them for everything xD

God damnit Valve. Even when you're closing studios, it's STILL hard to get mad at you.

Now stop charging everyone outside of America extra for AAA games just for the hell of it and I'll stop locking up my wallet every Steam Sale.

Infernal Lawyer:
God damnit Valve. Even when you're closing studios, it's STILL hard to get mad at you.

Now stop charging everyone outside of America extra for AAA games just for the hell of it and I'll stop locking up my wallet every Steam Sale.

Valve doesn't control pricing on any games on steam but Valve games, so don't blame them.

Also this has to be the best way to be fired ever.

All too often redundancies, sackings and studio closures get sugar-coated and buzzworded with 'parting ways'. This does actually more of a parting of ways, rather than a studio closure or sacking.

Much like Microsoft threads come with predictions of incoming Microsoft fanbois, Nintendo threads come with predictions of incoming NDF japes; should we now predict the incoming of Valve haters?

It almost sounds like Valve bought them, got them a place to start, supplied them with start up funds. And then let them go. How the heck is Valve still in business if they do things like this. How much money did they invest into them, are they expecting them to make games and then release them on steam later on?

Cecilo:
It almost sounds like Valve bought them, got them a place to start, supplied them with start up funds. And then let them go.

Well, that's an extremely common theme in games development, publishers provide the cash to start a studio (or usually a team within an existing studio), then after six months or a year if what they're seeing doesn't stack up to the investment they stop. Except normally the publisher goes scorched earth, closes everything, fires (or reassigns) everybody and buries them under so many NDAs that you never hear about what they were making (or trying/failing to as the case may be). For the publisher to be up front about it like this is very rare.

If a game gets announced it's beyond that stage and the publisher thinks there is a viable product coming (or has spent so much they can't afford to stop, Old Republic style). The amount of money for two devs and an office is tiny for Valve, I bet they spend more on coffee in a year than they have on this.

As much as I hate to be that guy, I feel like living here gives me no choice:

StewShearer:
Valve Closes Down San Francisco Office

...sorry.

Being fired by Valve is better then keeping a job at Gearbox. I hear they reanimated Hitler's corpse and fucked it up royally (insert least favorite game developer here)

Woah, they even let them keep their IP..?

At least I think I'm reading this right.

Damnit, Valve - you call yourselves a publisher! You're supposed to take everything they hold dear and leave them out on the street, even take their very THOUGHTS!

Valve is clearly the worst publisher ever.

DVS BSTrD:
Being fired by Valve is better then keeping a job at Gearbox. I hear they reanimated Hitler's corpse and fucked it up royally (insert least favorite game developer here)

Uh, no. Fuck no. Getting fired is terrible and will always be worse then working at whatever your least favorite developer or publisher is for a simple reason. Fire = no personal income, working = getting personal income.

Valve is today's Interplay (during its golden age).

Raising devs and then letting them spread their wings.

I must say Valve's spin doctor is brilliant. They unload a lease on office for which they have no use for and they spin it into making them sound like selfless angles giving with largess rather than cutting their costs.

What I got this imagine that when a studio is removed from the mothership it is strapped to cobalt rod and launched to the Sun. Or is that just EA...

But anyway, good move from Valve. Apparently they are only game-corp. that doesn't need a battalion of PR agents armed with quarter naval of ton of pure hundred dollar bills daily.

It confounds me how Valve can still exist in these times while surrounded by the Activisions and EAs and all those other nibblers.
Good on you, Valve. Good on you indeed!
I'd love to know the specifics of how this split occurred, though. Did Gates & Semple ring up Valve and ask them for independence from their vassalage? Or did Valve call them and say "It's been great, chaps, but you've got nothing for us and we've got nothing for you."?
When the news is filled with all the nasty details of how grisly some of these closures can be, it would be very nice to see something positive for a change.

It's nice to read news like these amidst all the other bullshit the "big guns" do.

Good guy Valve

Has to make the unfortunate decision to let a branch go

Lets them keep the office so they can easily start up again.

Um, I guess we're liberally defining "closed down" here which usually involves something being closed? More like "Valve funds starting of an independent company for some unexplained altruistic reason".

Good guy valve, closes down your office, but lets you keep the game you were working on and the office.

I like news like this, it makes you think the world is not descending into darkness...what was that Mr Snowden? You used Steam once? Ah hell there goes all hope.

So the news about Valve getting rid of anything:

1. VR hardware. Let the engineers go with the hardware and rights for something created on company time
2. Studio closure. 'You can keep your stuff. Just make sure to release your next game on steam'

The shocking and completely unexpected part of this is that a company can avoid a PR nightmare and alienating fans by not being a collective of dicks.

albino boo:
I must say Valve's spin doctor is brilliant. They unload a lease on office for which they have no use for and they spin it into making them sound like selfless angles giving with largess rather than cutting their costs.

I guess I'm not the only one who was thinking about this. Office space, rent, or whatever you want to call it is not cheap in San Francisco. People can give Valve all the love they can, but I imagine these two guys will be working out of their homes soon enough if the rent isn't paid for in advance... because I also seriously doubt Valve would keep paying the rent for someone who no longer works for them.

Cecilo:
How the heck is Valve still in business if they do things like this.

They have a little known program called Steam that they use to sell games. It makes them a couple bucks a week.

This honestly sounds less like a studio closure and more like buyer's remorse on Valve's part.

Cecilo:
It almost sounds like Valve bought them, got them a place to start, supplied them with start up funds. And then let them go. How the heck is Valve still in business if they do things like this. How much money did they invest into them, are they expecting them to make games and then release them on steam later on?

Valve has a dedicated fanbase who thinks they can do no wrong. Valve can afford to piss away money now and again. Even more so because they aren't beholden to public investors/shareholders.

Cecilo:
How the heck is Valve still in business if they do things like this.

Well, basically...

Infernal Lawyer:
God damnit Valve. Even when you're closing studios, it's STILL hard to get mad at you.

Yeah, what he said.

That's the thing that Electronic Arts, Microsoft and Activision can't seem to grasp - Valve has the love and goodwill of the players.

They don't try to extort money from you with "optional" DLC that contains major story points, they don't use Steam to restrict how many times you can install a game or demand that you connect to Steam every few days to make sure your games aren't stolen - you can actually play your Steam games offline.

Valve listens to the players, playtests rather than focus-tests. They interact with the players like friends and equals, not victims they plan to scam. They refuse to put out products before they're finished, because they goodwill they have mean that people will buy their products for their quality, rather than churning out releases at christmas to boost sales, regardless of the game's actual quality.

Cynics will tell you that being the good guy doesn't benefit anybody. Realists will look at Valve and tell you that isn't true.

Zachary Amaranth:

Cecilo:
It almost sounds like Valve bought them, got them a place to start, supplied them with start up funds. And then let them go. How the heck is Valve still in business if they do things like this. How much money did they invest into them, are they expecting them to make games and then release them on steam later on?

Valve has a dedicated fanbase who thinks they can do no wrong. Valve can afford to piss away money now and again. Even more so because they aren't beholden to public investors/shareholders.

Agreed. Valve is like the Apple Corporation of the gaming world. Te fanbase is rabidly loyal to a fault and they exploit that to make money.

Not that there anything wrong with doing that necessarily, they are a company and exist to show a profit, but the idea that they are somehow completely altruistic in all their motives is asinine. That's like people saying that this new "low cost iPhone" that Apple is releasing is to make an iPhone available to those less fortunate.

Jacco:

Agreed. Valve is like the Apple Corporation of the gaming world. Te fanbase is rabidly loyal to a fault and they exploit that to make money.

Not that there anything wrong with doing that necessarily, they are a company and exist to show a profit, but the idea that they are somehow completely altruistic in all their motives is asinine. That's like people saying that this new "low cost iPhone" that Apple is releasing is to make an iPhone available to those less fortunate.

More to the point, it's a sad state of affairs where not actively and publicly hating your consumer base is the exception. Valve and GoG exist to make money, they're generally not dicks about it like some other companies we can name. Sony (I'll remind you is a big dog in the RIAA and Sony Pictures seeds its own movies to sue downloaders) hates its consumers just a little less than Microsoft, so they get a large upswing of support.

I don't get Apple though, they seem foaming-at-the-mouth rabid about keeping the customers in step. Someone must have seen their classic Superbowl commercial and thought 'you know what's a good idea?..'

So, what actually happened here? Valve bought a studio but then realized they didn't need it? Or were they too close to actually releasing a game and thought, "Well, we can't have that... shut 'em down!"

DaxStrife:
So, what actually happened here? Valve bought a studio but then realized they didn't need it? Or were they too close to actually releasing a game and thought, "Well, we can't have that... shut 'em down!"

Ummm nooooo.... Valve worked with them on some projects. Realized beyond the projects they did not need the studio... Then left them alone, it was basically like they "leased" them for a bit and then when the "lease" was over they let them get back to work on their own stuff.

I think you got confused with EA. EA would have cracked all their bones and drank the marrow before they shutdown the studio.

Did Valve get anything out of this? Collaboration on a side project, IPs that they aren't letting them work on, etc?

Valve seems to be allergic to having subsidiaries. First they get rid of Turtle Rock (the creators of Left 4 Dead), and now this. I realize that they want to keep operations small, but the world also wants more than one Valve game per year. Becoming a publisher and allowing us to also get one game per year that's developed with some help from them seems like a reasonable compromise.

Wonderful to see the little man not get squashed.

dreadedcandiru99:
As much as I hate to be that guy, I feel like living here gives me no choice:

StewShearer:
Valve Closes Down San Francisco Office

...sorry.

Uh, that's spelled with a c. It's not a typo.

And that's how you let a dev team go.

Though I guess it's weird that we applaud Valve for doing what should be the norm. But in a world of EA and Activision chewing up studios in their relentless quest to homogenise gaming, this is nothing short of worthy of a knighthood.

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