Update 2: Valve has removed Art of Stealth from Steam for other reasons. You can read more about that here.
Original Story and first update below:
Some people are naturals at fanning the flames of controversy, and in the gaming industry controversy seems like the currency of the realm based on 2016. One of the bigger stories of last year was the end of the shouting match between YouTube personality Jim Sterling and indie game developer Digital Homicide. Several years worth of online back and forth between Sterling and Digital Homicide ended with the latter retiring from game development while the former has been going as strong as ever. Digital Homicide's story has now officially been concluded, but the next fight between Sterling and an indie developer is already underway.
The story is a familiar one for those who paid attention to the Digital Homicide: Sterling released a video of him playing and commenting negatively Art of Stealth, a first person shooter that got Greenlit on Steam a while back. The developers were, unsurprisingly, not at all enamored with the game's assessment by Sterling. Here's the video in question:
As you can hear in the video above, Sterling wasn't all that impressed by the Art of Stealth, citing the game's lack of proper pathfinding and the somewhat hilarious contrast between the game's title and the rather unsubtle use of violence in the gameplay. Sterling also notes that this game has been getting a bit of traction on Steam due to the developer allegedly flagging any and all negative comments players posted on the game's page.
The developer took to the Steam Community page for Art of Stealth flat-out stating that the team is in contact with YouTube to try and take the video down.
Jim Sterling has no respect to software engineers who learned programming in university for 5 years and work hard to create a good game.The first 2 reasons given aren't particularly reasons you can base any sort of legal action on, and that last bit isn't really an argument you can use - certainly not in this instance. You do not need to have a full understanding of the inner workings of any product in order to be able to criticize it. As to what happens now is anyone's guess.
Jim Sterling has no self-respect. He is going against Youtube rules and trying to damage a small team which is new in the industry. A pathetic bully.
Jim Sterling calls our work "Load of Crap". He doesn't respect our attempts to make a good game. He simply makes money by discredit other people's works. I wonder if this worm can actually write a single line of code!
UPDATE: We reached out to the developer for a comment. Read on for his response:
Like every beginner in the industry, I have made a few mistakes. One mistake I’ve made was to release my game too early. When I released my game, it contained some issues and many player did not like the game, which is a typical thing that happens to many beginners. I didn’t want to let my customers down so I promised them that a few game-updates will come out shortly and fix every single issue with the game.
However, one of our customers who didn’t like the game decided to go much further and asked Jim Sterling to make a negative review about Art of Stealth. Jim Sterling did not ask our permission before doing this review. He simply uploaded his video and called it “ART OF STEALTH - More Like Art Of Being A Load Of Crap”. This mocking title and the video imply that he simply wants to finish off my career before it even started. At that point things went out of control.
In the reply, developer Matan Cohen explains why he thinks Jim Sterling has wrongly assessed his game. According to the developer, the rumor Sterling alluded to in the video regarding him false flagging negative comments as abuse is untrue. He says that the comments and reviews he removed were removed as per the Steam guidelines.
I would expect a famous journalist like Jim Sterling to be professional and not to use false rumours as an axiom for throwing mud on me and damage my reputation.
He goes on to say that Sterling's review, which isn't so much of a review as part of a first impressions series called 'Jimpressions', wasn't a fair one because Sterling only focussed on the game's bugs and "problems" of the game. Cohen says that Sterling has only covered a small amount of the game before giving his audience his conclusion, with Cohen saying that Sterling has not covered all of the game before making his judgment.
He covered only 10% of the game in his review. Many levels and environments were not in included in his review (Maybe because they were good and could contradict his claims).
Cohen says that he warned Sterling about the alleged copyright infringement in addition to his video not complying with the Art of Stealth's EULA.
When asked if he feels like the DMCA issued against Sterling's video has any chance of succeeding, he responded with this:
What do you think of this news? Let us know in the comment section down below!
My intuition says that the chances are not high. At the end of the day, Youtube knows the law better than me and they will decide what to do with my DMCA takedown request. It's in their hands now.
in the event YouTube does not comply with my request, I will continue to work on Art of Stealth and make it a great game. Eventually, when Art of Stealth becomes a great game, Jim’s review will be considered not relevant. So I am optimistic that this drama will end up good for me.