A game developer, after venting their frustration with Steam, made a death threat targeting managing director at Valve, Gabe Newell. Paranautical Activity, a horror themed FPS, has had a rocky history with Steam already, clashing over the function of the Steam Greenlight system. Eventually, the game was greenlit and it continued on with that process. That is, until today.
Mike Maulbeck, the developer mentioned above, started complaining on Twitter about Steam claiming it was misinforming possible consumers and that the whole process was painful. But it wasn’t until this tweet came in (since deleted) that a problem arose:
Obviously, that does not look to be in any sort of jesting manner. The tweets leading up to this one are still on his Twitter feed, which won’t be linked to here. Maulbeck claimed in those tweets though that Steam was hurting the release and potential media surrounding his game, Paranautical Activity. That the incompetence of Steam led to misinformation about the status of the game.
This is an understandable frustration (though venting/reacting the way Maulbeck did is inexcusable). Paranautical Activity is likely something Maulbeck has given hundreds of hours of his life to and many years of effort. Anything jeopardizing its exposure to others is something that would get a reaction from anyone. This was obviously one of Maulbecks darker moments, but how he reacts in the coming days should truly tell of his character. Again, this is not excusing his actions, but remind us all again that we make mistakes.
He’s already beginning to see the consequences of those mistakes as well. Maulbeck forward the email to Eurogamer Steam sent him in reply to the tweets:
On your Twitter account today there were a series of messages where you expressed your frustration with Steam. We are generally comfortable with partners expressing this type of frustration or any other viewpoint directly with us or publicly through social media and the press. But one of your tweets this morning was a threat to kill one of our colleagues. Death threats cross a line. We have therefore decided to end our business relationship with you and Code Avarice
We’ve closed down your Steam admin accounts and we’re removing the game from purchase on Steam. We will leave make Community Hub available so that existing customers will continue to have a place to discuss the game. Our understanding is that you’re done developing the game, but if you need to ship an update to Steam customers, get in touch with us and we can help ship the update out for you