Following their removal from Steam, development team Digital Homicide announced on their website that they will be pursuing legal action against Valve. Digital Homicide became the center of controversy after announcing that they were suing several Steam users to the tune of $18 million. Digital Homicide claims this was in response to threats and harassment, however, detractors said the lawsuits were aimed at anyone who was critical of their games. Digital Homicide has already made headlines after initiating a lawsuit against Jim Sterling, suing him for an increased $15 million for slander. The developer successfully submitted a subpoena to Steam demanding information about the accused users. Shortly after Digital Homicide announced their lawsuit against the one hundred Steam users accused of harassment, their games were removed from Steam and Valve officially stated they would no longer do business with the developer. Many of those listed in the lawsuit are moderators of a Steam consumer watch group called “Digital Homicides” which has been critical of the developer in the past, particularly their practices on Steam Greenlight.
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Digital Homicide has since responded to Valve (and specifically to Steam representative Doug Lombardi), reprimanding them for removing their games and saying they plan to seek legal consultation against the company. Digital Homicide lead and plaintiff James Romine states in their blog that the focus of their lawsuit are threats that were posed by Steam users, and emphasize that Steam supposedly did not remove those comments and says the lawsuit only targets “…individuals where no resolution was able to be obtained from Steam to provide a safe environment for us to conduct business”. The court documents that were submitted by Digital Homicide, however, focus almost exclusively on users who accused the studio of stealing assets, in the same vein as Jim Sterling. One of the screenshots used in the blog post by Mr. Romine does not seem to appear in any of the court documents.
Romine claims that they had considered suing Valve and Steam in the past, but decided not to avoid backlash, stating, “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”. With their games now removed from Steam, Romine seems to be moving forward with that threat.
Sterling and Steam users maintain that Digital Homicide has flipped assets directly from the Unity 3D store, particularly in their title The Slaughtering Grounds. Users on Reddit have also accused Digital Homicide of doxing Sterling, who has motioned to dismiss the lawsuit against him. Digital Homicide maintains Sterling caused the company and Romine harm when he mistakenly called some of their assets stolen when they were actually bought (though Sterling corrected this before the lawsuit was brought against him).
Clarification: Earlier today, TechRaptor published a satirical article which jokingly claimed that Digital Homicide was suing Steam. This was written prior to this blog by Digital Homicide being released.