Valve Software is one of the more innovative video game companies around. After all, who else can pull off creating a game that involves two robots using portal guns to complete complex mazes, via Portal 2?
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The company’s employee handbook, released via the Flamehaus Forum this week, gives a peek inside the mechanics of working for Valve, which relies on a “flat” organizational structure in which there are no managers:
We want innovators, and that means maintaining an environment where they’ll flourish. That’s why Valve is flat. It’s our shorthand way of saying that we don’t have any management, and nobody “reports to” anybody else. We do have a founder/president, but even he isn’t your manager. This company is yours to steer—toward opportunities and away from risks.
Valve has maintained its vision in part because it is a privately owned company that owns its intellectual property. Other video game companies like Bioware were criticized for losing their artistic vision after being bought by the entertainment conglomerate Electronic Arts, which was named the worst company in America due to its business practices and “trading creativity for cash,” wrote Paul Tassi in Forbes.
Valve is looking to hire about 13 people currently, including an electronics engineer to “invent whole new gaming experiences” and develop hardware for a new platform.
Valve is based in Kirkland, Wash., and was founded in 1996 by Microsoft employees Gabe Newell and Mike Harrington. Valve is best known for the games Half-Life, Counter-Strike, Portal, Left for Dead and Alien Swarm.