If you have ever wanted to see an indie video game developer commit PR suicide, then 2016 is your lucky year. In what appears to be an attempt to outdo Hello Games and their No Man’s Sky debacle, indie developer Digital Homicide has filed a personal injury lawsuit against 100 people on Steam for writing negative reviews and comments about their various games. As the 100 people listed in the lawsuit are identified only by their Steam usernames, Digital Homicide has also subpoenaed Valve, the company behind Steam, for the actual names of the 100 people that they are suing.
As if that wasn’t enough, Digital Homicide is allegedly considering another lawsuit directly against Valve in an attempt to create a digital “safe space” for developers on Steam. This effectively means that on top of the $18 million that Digital Homicide is seeking in damages in their original lawsuit against the 100 Jane and John Does, Digital Homicide wants Valve to create an environment on Steam where developers are safe from things like “harassment, verbal and written assault, libel, and slander.” Mr. Bob Lawsuitsfeedmyfamily, a retired legal advisor that specializes in the study of frivolous lawsuits, stated that the two cases will likely “force Digital Homicide to change their company’s name to Digital Suicide.” Even in a best case scenario where Digital Homicide somehow wins their lawsuits against Valve, “they will likely be ridiculed and hated for as long as the Internet can remember” Lawsuitsfeedmyfamily said.
While other developers have remained quiet on the situation, it is likely that they will try and ignore Digital Homicide as much as possible. After all, it doesn’t do any good to butt heads with a company that practically has a monopoly on the distribution of digital PC games (by trying to get them to potentially expose the private information of their clientele no less) because even if you win the lawsuit, you will lose the cultural battle. The rest of the Internet (Steam users in particular) on the other hand have opted for a more proactive response to Digital Homicide’s lawsuits, with no shortage of users claiming that they have set up a safe space for the indie developers in “[Digital Homicide’s founders’] mom’s basement.”
One such user, who goes by the Steam username of XxX69DankWeedSmoke420BlazeXxX, eloquently stated “If they didn’t want to see all these negative comments and reviews, maybe they should’ve made better games. Or they could just, you know, not be on the Internet, or better yet, not sue everyone on the planet.” She continued, “I mean, I’ve never even heard of them or seen their games before their lawsuits, but now that the word is getting around, all I can think of whenever someone mentions them is ‘With a name like Digital Homicide, they must be a bunch of super edgy pre-teens who just need to accept that not everyone will like them for who they are.'”