New Documentary Claims Valve’s policies cause problems
Valve’s unique corporate structure has been a hot topic of discussion for years, and the company famously states that there are no bosses. In a recent documentary, employees are interviewed by People make games The claim is that this structure has led to a lack of variety and a poor track record for shipping games from the massive company behind PC gaming platform, Steam.
A popular working avatar at Valve is the desk with wheels, and the company embraces a culture that allows employees the freedom to switch projects at will. On paper, Valve looks like a great place to work, free from the stifling corporate bureaucracy found at many big tech companies. This workplace freedom is the catalyst that allows Valve to create award-winning gaming hardware.
But, computer games Reports indicate that during a recent documentary on People Make Games (an investigative channel that explores game development), Valve employees had a different take on the structure-free nature of Valve’s work environment. Two Valve employees claim that the environment is similar to Lord of the Flies, largely due to the stack ranking system where employees rank each other annually. Through a series of meetings, the employees evaluate each other which may eventually lead to a salary increase which is then approved by Valve’s board of directors.
More than one interviewee expressed concern about Valve’s lack of diversity, stating that compared to other game development companies, Valve has been largely dominated by white men. While Valve is secretive, and sometimes registers obscure trademarks without explanation, it also seems to avoid diversity in any of its projects. One employee said that Valve rejects any project that embraces diversity by claiming that such ideals do not add value to games.
While gamers yearn for more titles like Half-Life: Alyx, Valve’s corporate structure is a mystery to many. Employees said Valve’s silence during the height of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement led many indie game developers to pull their games from the platform. Valve has never issued a statement of support for BLM, although it has sponsored the Game Devs of Color Expo.
The People Make Games documentary is an intimate portrait of the inner workings of one of the largest gaming centers. It also raises important questions about what goes on behind the scenes in the gaming industry.
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