Last month developer Digital Homicide Studios' games were removed from Steam after the company decided to sue 100 Steam customers for around $18m after leaving negative reviews. At the time Valve diplomatically called the developer's action "being hostile to Steam customers."
As reported by Techraptor, the case has now been dropped by Digital Homicide, who claimed to not have enough money to follow through on this legal battle.
Last week the developer filed a motion to get the case dismissed without prejudice, meaning that Digital Homicide would recoup its court fees. Barring that, it would like to have a 90-day extension to come up with more money so it can go through with its initial plan.
Digital Homicide's James Romine offered Techraptor the following statement regarding his perspective on the matter, in which he claims that the negative reviews were full of false information, effectively making them slanderous and financially damaging to the company.
"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."
Romine further lashed out at Valve, wherein he likened its poor moderation to that of a mall charging rent for a store, then offering no security.
"Insufficient harassment control mechanism's is definitely the other problem. A review should be enough of a open area to discuss displeasure of actual customers. When I ban someone who isn't even a customer that's been harassing me for 18+ months after reporting them 3-12 times, for a false statement or harassing me or a customer - I don't expect to have to listen to them insult me for two-to-three days afterwards in a direct communication line. If I do - it's a problem with moderation controls," Romine railed.
"Why is 30 per cent of my sales a proper cut without supplying security that would be expected in any business environment. It's like a mall charging you rent for a shop and mall security staying at the donut shop all day while you get mobbed and looted. Then I get competitors leaving bad reviews on my launches, putting false statements in my reviews and running the game on unsupported platforms to make it look broken, and when I complain I am ignored. This would be like the next shop over in the mall coming next door and posting signs on my business with false information on them. How is that logically allowable?"
According to the motion Digital Homicide filed, the company first spoke to a sheriff about its situation, citing Arizona State Law 13-2921 which defines harassment as "Conduct that is directed at a specific person and that would cause a reasonable person to be seriously alarmed, annoyed or harassed and the conduct in fact seriously alarms, annoys or harasses the person." Digital Homicide claimed that the sheriff was unable to assist in the matter, but advised the developer sue instead.