Valve has announced a programme for getting schoolkids involved int the game development industry, dubbed 'Pipeline,' in the hope of getting an infusion of fresh blood into its ranks.
The aim, the company has explained, is to 'establish a connection to the world of teenagers that are asking many questions about getting into the gaming industry,
' providing answers to said questions and - not-coincidentally - giving the company a handle on which bright-burning stars of the future it may want to recruit following their graduation from academia.
'There are two main reasons that Valve is creating Pipeline,
' the company explains on the programme's website
. 'The first is that we are frequently asked questions by teenagers about the videogame industry. "What is it like to work on videogames? What should I study? What colleges are best for preparing me? How do I get a job in videogames?" Pipeline will be a place where those questions can be discussed.
'The second is that Valve is running an experiment. Traditionally Valve has been a very good place for very experienced videogame developers, and not so good at teaching people straight out of school. Pipeline is an experiment to see if we can take a group of high school students with minimal work experience and train them in the skills and methods necessary to be successful at a company like Valve.
The announcement of Pipeline comes at an interesting time for the company. Former Valve hardware hacker Jeri Ellsworth, part of a surprise round of layoffs which saw the company's ranks decimated
, has been vocal in her distaste for the company's supposedly meritocratic flat-hierarchy business structure. In an interview with Jenesee
, Ellsworth claimed the company was full of 'hidden management' cliques that resulted in infighting, paranoia and the inevitable 'witchhunt' in which the company rid itself of 'troublemakers' who failed to ingratiate themselves to the truly powerful.
With Valve's image of being a haven for developers sick of the bureaucracy of traditional software houses being tarnished in this way, the company may have to work harder to attract new talent - and Pipeline could well be prove to be a smart move for the company in that regard.