The Digital Homicide Saga – Taken Off Steam & Legal Action Towards Valve

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The studio Digital Homicide has had quite the reputation over the past year or so. From having public battles with Jim Sterling in addition to the many issues they created on Steam (poor quality games and bad response to buyers), the studio is one that many have a sour image of.
Recently the studio had two major events; firstly being there titles being removed from Steam’s storefront by Valve and secondly the studio taking legal action against Valve for removing there games off Steam. We will be talking about the studio and the current events surrounding the infamous studio.

Some Background

Digital Homicide is a studio producing games on Steam’s storefront and they have been accused of asset flipping (taking store-bought assets and not doing much to make ‘original’ games) and doing many shady actions on Steam. I think Jim Sterling covers this best, so will leave links to two Jimquisition episodes that sum-up the situation nicely.

The end result is that from being called out on these actions, Digital Homicide has taken aggressive action with suing Jim Sterling originally then later going after 100 Steam Users for low review scores and bad press (in addition to some users saying nasty things to the publisher).

Polygon Quote

Romine has brought a separate $10.7 million lawsuit against the gaming personality Jim Sterling over videos he has made slamming the studio’s games. Romine and his brother, Robert, allege that Sterling’s audience and supporters have also harassed them through the mail. Kotaku published a lengthy examination of that dispute and its origins back in March.
YouTube personality SidAlpha reported the subpoena developments in this video on Thursday, likewise making a strong condemnation of the Romines’ actions and games. All of the documents related to the subpoenas can be found here.

Taken off Steam

Valve saw these actions and like what they do with most indie studios and publishers on Steam, was hands off with the whole situation….until they sent Valve a subpoena to get information about a number of steam users. Then, the publisher & platform holder took action.

They removed all of the studios games off Steam for the following official reason: “Valve has stopped doing business with Digital Homicide for being hostile to Steam customers.” Considering they were taking legal action toward Steam users, that likely was the breaking point for Valve and pushed them to take action.

Valve vs. Digital Homicide? 

Now that Valve said ‘No’ to the actions Digital Homicide was taking, the developers are currently pursing legal action against Valve. The publisher/studio released the following statement regarding Valve’s takedown of their games.

First i’d like to briefly respond to Doug Lombardi’s official statement about Digital Homicide and its owners. I’d like to give some context to his official statement “Valve has stopped doing business with Digital Homicide for being hostile to Steam customers.” What has actually transpired was a lack of resolution from Steam in regards to moderation of their platform which might sound like a tough job to do, but coming from a company that brags its profitability per employee is higher than google, it just shows a reckless disregard for for the well being of their community for profits.

We submitted numerous reports and sent multiple emails in regards to individuals making personal attacks, harassment, and more on not only us but on other Steam customers who were actually interested in our products. The lawsuit that was submitted in regards to a handful of Steam users has been labeled by the media and now by Doug Lombardi’s(a Valve representative) statement as “being hostile to Steam users” in general which is incorrect. The lawsuit recently filed is solely in regards to individuals where no resolution was able to be obtained from Steam to provide a safe environment for us to conduct business.

A comment from a steam user who was reported and never taken care of that harassed ongoing.

When someone bothers you on say a platform like Facebook and you find the need to ban them, the Facebook response after you ban is “Sorry you had this experience” and then that person is removed from being able to post on your page. Steam’s stance is what just happened to us. 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. The case will benefit from a long list of organized documentation of events that have happened over the past 2 years including dates, screenshots, emails, and more on over 100 infractions in need of litigation.

So essentially, they are going to be taking legal action toward Valve and not unlike their on-going lawsuit with Jim Sterling for 15 Million and 100 Steam Users, they will going after Valve.

The studio is known for releasing low-quality titles and the current actions they are taking now seem to imply they are tired of people saying nasty comments about them.

But it is worth noting that they did release images of Jim Sterling’s personal home and address online in the past and this infamous interview between Jim Sterling & Digital Homicide (that Digital Homicide recorded and put on YouTube) can explain quite a lot with out they handle criticism. 

This turn of events over the past year or so has been very interesting to watch I must say. Sources for comments/quotes I cited will be below.

Sources: Iashman (via Twitter), NeoGaf via Digital Homicide Comment, Polygon, Jim Sterling via Jimquisition

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