An indie developer is suing 100 Steam community members over abusive comments

By Jos ยท 27 replies
Sep 19, 2016
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  1. An independent game developer has subpoenaed Valve to learn the identities of 100 members of the Steam community, with the intention of suing them for personal injury to the tune of $18 million.

    Digital Homicide is no stranger to controversy. In March 2016, the game developer and publisher filed a $10-million lawsuit against British video game critic Jim Sterling for libel, slander and assault, after Sterling called out their work for being little more than asset flips, taking existing content created within the Unity engine, and placing it in their own games with only minor modifications.

    Until recently they had dozens of small games mostly available for a a few bucks each. However, after receiving the subpoena, Valve decided to pull Digital Homicide's content from the platform “for being hostile to Steam customers,” according to marketing VP Doug Lombardi.

    Digital Homicide boss James Romine defended the move in a blog post and accused Valve of failing to provide a safe environment for developers and showing "a reckless disregard for for the wellbeing of their community for profits." He also illustrates some of the personal attacks his team has received for up to 21 months on Steam, YouTube, Reddit and more.

    The company is nos seeking legal representation against Valve too.

    “By removing us they have taken the stance that users have the right to harass me, tell me I should kill myself, and insult my family . If I try to defend myself against said actions then I lose my family's income. If it wasn't for 2 years of experience of dealing with Steam on a regular basis, this disgusting stance would seem shocking to me. The only thing that prevented me seeking legal counsel for a long list of breach of contracts, interference with business, and anti-trust issues was the fear of losing my family's income. Since that has been taken away I am seeking legal representation.”

    Permalink to story.

  2. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 2,995   +1,316

    wastedkill, Wendig0 and MoeJoe like this.
  3. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,284   +900

    You can't really take sides on this one.

    On one side, if your content is on the internet... it is on the internet... you just have to be ready to what comes with it, not much more to say about it.

    On the other side, Steam should have a system to flag and remove harassment and inappropriate comments and posts.

    Now, getting to the point this developer has taken, I think it's a bit too much, it should've just asked to remove them and be done with it, this looks like an opportunist approach to a dumb situation.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2016
    Levi Sterling, Duckeenie and Reehahs like this.
  4. lipe123

    lipe123 TS Evangelist Posts: 718   +236

    There should be harassment penalties on steam yes.

    But also these developers are being pretty shady by selling tons of unity demo's as actual games. There is already 100's of these terrible flips on steam and they need to be taken down.
    wastedkill likes this.
  5. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    Weak and pathetic. If they can't handle mean internet comments, they have no business being on the internet. Not mature enough.

    Any Techspot reader who disagrees with me should die in a fire, btw. Just want to put that out there. (y)
  6. MoeJoe

    MoeJoe TS Guru Posts: 709   +379

    Conflicted much?
  7. Camikazi

    Camikazi TS Evangelist Posts: 925   +284

    OMG, even game developers need "safe spaces" now? Also, how can a game studio call Digital HOMICIDE really get upset over some stupid death threats? Going by the prior suits either this guy is a child who can't take any criticism or he is a con artist just looking to make money without doing much work.
  8. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,300   +427

    Since people usually won't be rude in public they do it in semi-private. You can only drag political correctness so far. Even the political correct folk don't like it
    wizardB likes this.
  9. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,069   +218

    Steam should have taken down comments and blocked the users from making more comments.
  10. ManuelV

    ManuelV TS Booster Posts: 101   +42

    Pathetic?, no wait, now imagine if this indie developer say anything, and I repeat, anything harsh to a buyer, just one single time, one, and the internet as a whole light the torches and try to crucify this developer (or he will loss his hard earn job if it is a persons working for a big company). But no, this developer can't complain about that, or about anything. We live on a society where consumers are victimized and the sellers are always the victimizers, like if the sellers doesn't have any right or are persons.
    Ranger1st and lipe123 like this.
  11. Marc Petersen

    Marc Petersen TS Rookie

    What a whiny little ***** if you can't handle the net turn your computer off... People are going to say **** get over it and get tough skin.
  12. Mithan

    Mithan TS Enthusiast Posts: 36   +29

    When I was a kid, we said something like "sticks and stones can break our bones but names will never hurt us".

    Today's kids seem to follow "and names abuse us".

    To the developers here:

    Valve did the right thing.
  13. bmw95

    bmw95 TS Maniac Posts: 198   +163

    Hence why he said can't really take sides.
  14. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,069   +218

    I don't think there has ever been a dev forum that allowed users to insult the devs. Most forums in the 90s would ban you.
  15. wizardB

    wizardB TS Booster Posts: 121   +23

    Weak sauce does no one in this world have a spine anymore.
    wastedkill and SirChocula like this.
  16. batsdude

    batsdude TS Member Posts: 52   +16

    It's an ignorant lawsuit considering the game title/contents, but Steam does actually need to be knocked down quite a bit for it's overbearing pricing, semi monopolization of game distribution, and it's system invasiveness with what you pay for, including a lot of crap games that they know are hinky. Screw Steam.
  17. BlueDrake

    BlueDrake TS Evangelist Posts: 378   +112

    Valve has dealt with a lot of the crap for a while I'm sure, dealing with a lot of likely refunds among other things. They threw down the gauntlet, challenging Valve by demanding customer information with their "proof" of damages. Even showing things they purposely deleted and basically have hidden from view, simply as means of adding more ammo to their legal battle.

    For anyone following the whole back and forth between Digital Homicide and Jim Sterling, or basically any other channels who covered these "shovelware" titles, know how little is put into the development. When they have put multiple games up within weeks of each other, or simply don't wish to fix any problems pointed out it's sad. People are entitled to their comments, devs can delete them or what have you of course.

    Just when you're legally demanding user information, because people don't like something that's basically been slapped together? I think you're asking for a rather tall order, when you're going up against a giant company with little ground to stand on. This also sets a standard if things go through, because many devs don't always get such kind comments. Especially those that produce the garbage, that lines Greenlight's walls to the point of making everyone sick.

    There's a fine line for them to walk, and they had to push their boundaries a bit too far. You're always able to report things, and deal with Valve directly I'm sure. Save for the very likely slow response time, but they will go to bat for those they feel deserve representation. They might be a lumbering giant, but wake them up and expect a pretty serious response. The public statement they made, was simply after sifting through all the evidence I'm sure. Since they wanted to fully understand what's happening, and what they had to do for solving the issue.

    Honestly though why not try getting on Origin or Uplay guys? You might make the cut with some of the other games, or maybe some smaller sites that have basically no traffic at all.
  18. Can we sue when they stretch the truth on games? Of course not 'cause we are not in 'the community of profits', our wallets are only useful for them to Hoover the dollars out of
  19. SirChocula

    SirChocula TS Addict Posts: 110   +102

    Steam did put up with tons of crap when they first released though. The entire internet hated Steam for the first few years. They were smart and saw a vision in digital distribution where every other company were too ignorant and blind to the internet being a valid place to sell games. I do agree they do need to be pegged down but it's not their fault every other company is late to the party and can't compete on the same scale they can.

    On the competition end, I usually buy my games from other sites that sells cd keys which is a hell of a lot cheaper so that in itself is giving my money to the person who can offer me the best price. If Steam is able to offer the lowest price, I'll go to them, if not, I have other places to shop at. Money and value knows no loyalty.
  20. StefanG

    StefanG TS Rookie

    And given the fact that he now has to look elsewhere for 'bread and butter' is what? Nothing?
  21. Mike89

    Mike89 TS Booster Posts: 41   +13

    Please, somebody define personal injury that someone suffers from something another one said. This lawsuit is complete bogus. I can't stand sue happy people, they are total jerks. Wonder if one of them is going to sue me now for personal injury. I've read many many posts on Steam forums and not once have I read anything that I cringed and said, "whoa, somebody is going to get sued". Big *** crybabies.
    wastedkill likes this.
  22. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,284   +900

    He did the worst thing possible, he sued people and is requiring for steam to go against it's user base privacy protection. In other words, he went full retard on this one.
  23. wastedkill

    wastedkill TS Evangelist Posts: 1,423   +350

    Come on guys give the guy a break, he spent 4 hours of hard work to make that game. But on a serious note this guy is what gives us indie developers a really bad name... and he's milking it as well but looks like justice finally set in and hope he gets a fine for $18Million.
  24. KronikDM

    KronikDM TS Rookie

    This guys a joke. I hope lord gaben doesn't allow this guy back..who rips content, and gets offended when called out on it? The family should definitely not aknowledge him as blood, this ***** set himself up for me-me's for many years to come and there's nothing he can do.
    wastedkill likes this.
  25. Sum Guy

    Sum Guy TS Booster Posts: 51   +14

    Steam does have ways to remove comments and reviews.

    When GTA5 was released, I was banned for saying "Too bad pirates already own the game while us legit players are stuck with a preload." and the re's following it. Then they banned my review which can only be seen now with a link. So if steam can ban me for something as petty as this, they can ban anyone and remove anything. I guess if any of the users said Pirate their comment would been removed.

    To give you an idea how petty they are.
    wastedkill likes this.

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