Just yesterday now former Valve employee Jeri Ellsworth tweeted the following:

“Yup. Got fired today. Time for new exciting projects”.

Understandably, Ellsworth, who was speculated to be spear-heading Valve’s mysterious hardware division, caused quite a stir on teh internets yesterday, leading many to believe Valve was shutting down its newly formed hardware lab.

Fuel was added to the fire when many unconfirmed reports to various news sources claimed that Valve had lain off as many as 25 employees. The notoriously tight-lipped Valve has as of yet given no reason for the reported layoffs, and they have neither confirmed nor denied these claims. Lending these rumors a great deal of credence is the report that Valve’s head of business, Jason Holtman, has also left the company; he is also notably absent from Valve’s staff page.

Being the ever tactful and coy man that his is, Valve boss Gabe Newell only had only the following to say regarding the layoff rumors:

“We don’t usually talk about personnel matters for a number of reasons. There seems to be an unusual amount of speculation about some recent changes here, so I thought I’d take the unusual step of addressing them. No, we aren’t cancelling any projects. No, we aren’t changing any priorities or projects we’ve been discussing. No, this isn’t about Steam or Linux or hardware or [insert game name here]. We’re not going to discuss why anyone in particular is or isn’t working here.”

This leaves us only a vague suspicion about the cause of the reported layoffs. Perhaps the company is experiencing a financial slump they are keeping under tight wraps, or they have simply had second thoughts about the nature of their hardware aspirations. Whatever the case, I’m guessing we’ll be wondering for a while as I doubt anyone at Valve is going to spill the beans any time soon, if at all.