Gamers ranting at game developers is quite a common occurrence these days and nothing to write home about. But developers suing a hundred Steam users? Now that's something.
Digital Homicide Studios never ceases to amaze, not with its games but with its antics toward critics. In March 2016, the indie game developer/publisher filed a $10-million lawsuit against British video game critic Jim Sterling for libel, slander and assault.
The amount was later raised to $15 million, which Sterling specified in a tweet.
Correction for media mentioning my thing I don't talk about - they bumped it up to $15mil by my last count, it's not $10mil anymore.
— Jim Sterling (@JimSterling) September 16, 2016
Sterling is a known critic of Digital Homicide (DH) and the games it releases. The video game critic noted the various glitches, poor graphics and bad controls, among other problems, of The Slaughtering Grounds, a game that was developed and published by Digital Homicide Studios.
Sterling also accused the game developer of deleting negative user feedback on Steam and banning the users who posted criticisms for its content. DH filed a takedown notice for Sterling's game review video.
Suing 100 Anonymous Steam Users
Sterling's case is dwarfed by the studio's most recent court filing in which James Oliver Romine Jr., Digital Homicide cofounder, is suing 100 anonymous Steam users for $18 million as compensation for "personal injury."
According to documents that were uploaded by YouTuber SidAlpha, the anonymous users getting sued have used handles such as Toon Vlux, Nathos, Jon114 and Drackmore.
A snippet of Romine's complaint that was retrieved by Kotaku shows the DH cofounder's allegations that the listed users have repeatedly attacked him for up to 21 months and have amassed a total of 20,000 postings on Steam, YouTube and social media portals such as Reddit.
TechRaptor reports that Judge Eileen Willett, who is currently assigned to the case, granted Romine with a subpoena for "early discovery," which obliges Valve to identify and reveal the anonymous Steam users.
Valve Pulls Homicide Games Off Steam
Valve can choose to contest the subpoena, but the company is yet to make a statement regarding the matter. However, in response to Digital Homicide's behavior toward Steam users, the digital distribution company decided to remove DH's content from the platform.
"Valve has stopped doing business with Digital Homicide for being hostile to Steam customers," the company tells Kotaku.
Digital Homicide Responds to Valve, Possibly Another Lawsuit
After Valve released its statement and removed the studio's game, Romine responded by posting in Digital Homicide's landing page.
"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," says Romine. "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."
Romine claims that he has compiled two years' worth of documentation, emails and screenshots on over 100 infractions.
Since 2014, Digital Homicide has published over 20 games, which include Forsaken Uprising, Temper Tantrum, Devils Share, Galactic Hitman, Krog Wars, Starship: Nova Strike, Winged Knights: Penetration, Withering Kingdom: Arcane War, Wyatt Derp, The Decimation of Olarath, Withering Kingdom: Flurry of Arrows and Operation: Global Shield.
Below is a video showcasing Jim Sterling's critique on Digital Homicide's games.