Legal Issues

by Timothy Geigner


Filed Under:
critics, lawsuits, reviews, steam

Companies:
digital homicide



Digital Homicide Drops Its Lawsuit Against Steam Users, Says It's Shutting Down Completely

from the what-you-sow dept

While we'll try to keep the grave-dancing at a minimum, it wasn't difficult to see this coming. Game publisher Digital Homicide has something of a history of lashing out against any negative reviews it might receive, of which there are many. Whether it is more high profile targets like well-followed YouTube game reviewers, or merely lowly Steam customers that offered reviews of Digital Homicide games, the company has taken to simply suing everyone for all the things as its reaction. It seemed easy to recognize that this was not a winning business strategy in general, but when Steam reacted to the latest attempts at litigation by simply dropping all Digital Homicide games from its store, things clearly became dire for the company.

And now the story comes to a close with a conclusion pretty much everyone saw coming: Digital Homicide has filed a motion to dismiss its lawsuit against those Steam customers, declaring the company to be financially ruined and unable to move forward with the litigation.

Speaking with TechRaptor, Digital Homicide’s James Romine explained that Valve’s decision to remove all of the studio’s games from Steam is what did them in:

“The case dismissal was only due to financial reasons caused by the removal of our games. I believe the case was very solid. There were in excess of 140 false statements by the 11 Steam users, tens of thousands of posts harassing myself and my customers, three direct interference with written contracts with third parties by Steam users (some of which were competitors), and much more. A combined in excess of 25 reports were filed against the worst users of the 11 with no resolutions being found.”

Well, you know, maybe if you hadn't attacked Steam customers on the basis of leaving bad reviews for your games, this wouldn't have happened. It's important to recognize, as I mentioned in an earlier post, that even though Romine talks a great deal about the vile vitriol some folks have harried his company with, the lawsuits come down to bad reviews. Suing those that leave negative reviews of your product isn't so much a business strategy as it is an attempt at business suicide, a lesson that appears to have been taught to completion to Digital Homicide.

The filing itself claims not only that Romine's business is "destroyed", but that he had sought out a local sheriff initially for help building a criminal case against the Steam users. Also, Digital Homicide would like a refund on its court filing fee.

One can only hope that other businesses will learn from this and not react to negative reviews by torpedoing their businesses through similar litigation.


Reader Comments

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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 7 Oct 2016 @ 12:13am

    "Also, Digital Homicide would like a refund on its court filing fee."

    Funny that seems how many of their customers felt...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Starke (profile), 7 Oct 2016 @ 12:14am

    It might be worth poking the Jim Sterling case, and see what's going on there. Digital Homicide went after him over his reviews last year, and (as far as I know) the case is still ongoing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    vgiannell5 (profile), 7 Oct 2016 @ 12:43am

    "One can only hope that other businesses will learn from this and not react to negative reviews by torpedoing their businesses through similar litigation."

    Doubtful. They'll probably consider this as a betrayal. They'll never learn from this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2016 @ 1:20am

      Response to: vgiannell5 on Oct 7th, 2016 @ 12:43am

      It doesn't sound like Digital Homicide has learned this lesson, either.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2016 @ 1:25am

    More like Digital Suicide...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 7 Oct 2016 @ 3:01am

    I would bet every steam game I have they will just rename themselves and try their shady crap all over again.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 7 Oct 2016 @ 3:25am

      Re:

      Almost certainly, yeah, though unless they figure out just what screwed them so badly this time around(hint: it wasn't their customers) it's likely to end the same for the 'new' company.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 7 Oct 2016 @ 3:23am

    Cue the tiny violin solo for the crocodile tears

    Even now it's clear that they just refuse to grasp how their incredibly hostile stance towards critics is to blame(crap games didn't exactly help either).

    Maybe if they weren't so freakin' lawsuit happy then people would have been able to cut them some slack, but suing your customers over Steam reviews? What did they expect would happen from something like that?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Chryss (profile), 7 Oct 2016 @ 4:20am

      Re: Cue the tiny violin solo for the crocodile tears

      Maybe if they weren't so freakin' lawsuit happy then people would have been able to cut them some slack, but suing your customers over Steam reviews? What did they expect would happen from something like that?

      Probably the same thing Metallica thought would happen from suing their fans during the Napster era. Which was... uhhh... yeah, I got nuthin'.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2016 @ 3:58am

    Suing those that leave negative reviews of your product isn't so much a business strategy as it is an attempt at business suicide, a lesson that appears to have been taught to completion to Digital Homicide.

    The lesson has been taught, but the student (Romine) remains ignorant. He'll just go somewhere else and do it all again. Maybe next time it'll be presented a bit differently or dressed up in a different guise, but he won't change the playbook.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 7 Oct 2016 @ 4:28am

    This hasn't happened to some of the top companies in the gaming world simply because they are that, top. But we've seen some companies that showed utter contempt for their costumers to slowly vanish from the news and end up bought for a fraction of what they'd cost. So, yeah.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2016 @ 5:24am

    It is obvious that Digital Homicide had absolutely no idea how expensive a lawsuit, from inception to judgement, would be when they filed it. They ran out of money in weeks, and these suits last months or years.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rob, 7 Oct 2016 @ 5:25am

    Solid?

    If the case was so solid, why was it self representation instead of a lawyer on contingency?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ben S (profile), 7 Oct 2016 @ 9:42am

      Re: Solid?

      According to Romine himself, he was too poor to afford a lawyer. I haven't checked his website in the last couple weeks, but last time I was there he was asking for a pro-bono lawyer to represent him in suing Valve directly.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Killercool (profile), 7 Oct 2016 @ 10:04am

        Re: Re: Solid?

        I believe that "on contingency" means that the lawyers would take a cut of any winnings, instead of being paid up front.

        Usually done by lawyers who take "sure win" cases, like truck wrecks.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Rob, 7 Oct 2016 @ 4:08pm

        Re: Re: Solid?

        KillerCool has the right of it. "On Contingency" means "free until you win". "Pro-Bono" means "free no matter what"

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 7 Oct 2016 @ 5:47am

    Mass litigation is a sign of a failing company

    Not always, but often.

    Yes, even Hollywood. Just on a bigger, slower scale.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 7 Oct 2016 @ 9:12am

      Re: Mass litigation is a sign of a failing company

      Yep. With the first lawsuit, it's obvious a company is swirling the bowl, and it's time to sell before the final flush.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    wshuff (profile), 7 Oct 2016 @ 6:05am

    Anytime you get to the end of a 123-page complaint and see it signed pro se, you know that's a stamp of quality.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2016 @ 6:06am

    The lesson may have been taught but it sure wasn't learned. By Romine's own statement he shows he hasn't learned a single thing from all of this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2016 @ 6:46am

    Death
    by
    Digital Homicide


    This hardcover is only available for a limited time. Call the number on your screen now!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2016 @ 7:02am

    While we'll try to keep the grave-dancing at a minimum

    Nope... it's time to ratchet it all up about 1 notch or 20!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Norahc (profile), 7 Oct 2016 @ 7:30am

    Who ran the numbers?

    So less than a month after getting all of your games yanked from the platform whose users you were suing for leaving bad reviews, your company is "utterly destroyed"?

    What, did you really think people were going to keep giving you money and buy your games so you could sue them?

    Seems like fiscal planning wasn't a strong suit of the company, given that the loss of income was a foreseeable result to anyone whose been on the internet for more than two minutes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2016 @ 9:07am

    Steam now needs to block all Digital Homicide staff from ever putting games onto steam again, otherwise this bunch of assholes with rip-off half finished pieces of crap will just reform under a different name......

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2016 @ 10:19am

    Doesn't look like he has much help sueing people:
    https://www.gofundme.com/47uexn9c
    $450 of $75k goal
    Raised by 12 people in 6 months

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2016 @ 2:37pm

      Re:

      Buck up James, I'm sure the donations will pick up now that your business is swirling around in the big toilet bowl of bad practices.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DocGerbil100 (profile), 7 Oct 2016 @ 5:00pm

    I won't miss them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kronomex, 7 Oct 2016 @ 7:25pm

    They churned out crap and threw tantrums when people pointed out that it was crap. Talk about Trumpism...I mean thin skin.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Grave Dancer, 8 Oct 2016 @ 4:51am

    HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!!

    You can't fix STUPID... but you can damn sure laugh at it!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Oct 2016 @ 7:18pm

    Maybe if Digital Homicide hadn't put all of their video game eggs in the one Steam basket, they'd still have alternative sources of revenue. It's not as if Steam is the only digital distributor.

    Oh, and if someone had the foresight to think through the blindingly obvious: if you drag your distributor into a lawsuit, you can expect your distributor to drop you faster than a hot potato.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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