Angered Game Developer Sues Critic Jim Sterling For US$10 Million

Angered Game Developer Sues Critic Jim Sterling For US$10 Million

If game critic and video-maker Jim Sterling has a nemesis, it’s game developer Digital Homicide. That name might not sound familiar, as they’re a small studio that has released a couple of games on Steam. But they may soon enter notoriety after this month’s unprecedented actions.

On March 16, Digital Homicide formally filed a lawsuit in Arizona District Court, accusing Sterling of “assault, libel, and slander” to the tune of US$10 million – that’s $13 million in AUD. (The only reason “assault” is listed is because libel is, legally speaking, part of a broader category when filing a lawsuit. Ignore that.) The lawsuit was filed by Digital Homicide co-founder James Romine.

Digital Homicide claims Sterling, whose real name is James Stanton, has “falsely accused [Digital Homicide] and caused damage” to the company. According to court documents, the company is asking for US$2.26 million in direct product damage; US$4.3 million in emotional, reputational and financial distress; and $US5 million in punitive damage requests. That adds up to US$10.76 million, and it’s nothing to scoff at.

Digital Homicide is representing themselves in the lawsuit, and do not have an attorney. They attempted to crowdfund support for additional help, saying all donations would be kept anonymous. However, Digital Homicide has since taken down its crowdfunding request “due to harassers donating amounts specifically to cause charges rather than donations and charge backs to cause financial fees…[W]e will be seeking another avenue for donations”.

Co-founder Robert Romine told me the lawsuit has been in the works for roughly four months, and that Sterling crossed a line with “continued coverage and harassment of every single title we have ever posted”. (Just yesterday, Sterling posted a six-minute video tearing apart their new games.) Romine also said he recently received a package full of faeces in the mail, despite “multiple requests private and public to the individual [Sterling] to inform his subscriber base to stop harassing me”.


Romine also said he recently received a package full of faeces in the mail


Romine said he’s been in discussions with “a premium online defamation law firm as they agree we have a case and are seeking funds to acquire their services.” Thus, the (aborted) crowdfunding.

Besides a humorous tweet that may or may not reference the lawsuit, Sterling hasn’t said much.

“It would be unwise to say much at this time,” he told me. “All I can tell you is that I am dealing with this situation and that I am fully confident about it.”

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about Sterling butting heads with a developer, but it’s the first time he’s been hit with a lawsuit over it.

The tumultuous relationship between Sterling and Digital Homicide is not new. A number of Sterling’s YouTube videos involve him playing through random games found on Steam, and many of them aren’t very good. This is part of Sterling’s bread-and-butter: making fun of bad games.

(It’s is not all he does, obviously. Sterling’s weekly Jimquisition video rants cover a number of other industry topics.)

The drama began when Sterling published a 10-minute video of Digital Homicide’s first-person shooter Slaughtering Grounds in November 2014, dubbing it the “new ‘worst game of 2014’ contender” and a game where “the awfulness just doesn’t stop”. The game did not get much attention outside of Sterling’s videos; in fact, one of Sterling’s critical videos is the second Google result for Slaughtering Grounds and the first result when you do a search on YouTube.

In response to this criticism, Digital Homicide published two videos — both removed, though archived on Sterling’s channel — where the developers call Sterling “a fucking idiot” and accuse him of not playing the game correctly.

In his video, Sterling had criticised the game for using generic art assets purchased online, which Digital Homicide defended as necessary from a production standpoint and part of the “cycle of cash flow that is the lifeblood of hardworking people in the indie community”. The developers described Sterling as a “leech” who profits “from the hardwork [sic] of other people” and said his criticism “reduces sales which in turn reduces money that can be used to purchase more indie development assets”. This impacts “the livelihood of many people with no risk or cost to yourself”.

This back-and-forth resulted in Digital Homicide issuing a DMCA takedown to have Sterling’s original video removed. The developers defended the move in a deleted Steam post that was archived here:

“The DMCA filed is not to censor review’s [sic]” wrote the developers. “There are countless negative review videos posted (including multiple sterling videos) and only one in particular with a DMCA filed on it. The reason is we have a legitimate claim, we can prove a violation of our copyright (fair use is not blanket immunity) and damages.”

In another — again, now deleted but archived here — post, Digital Homicide explained its position.

“In the sole instance of Jim Sterling’s ‘Squirty Play’ video,” said the developer, “We find the usage of the terms ‘WORST GAME OF 2014 CONTENDER!’ and ‘Absolute Failure’ to describe the entirety of our product while not actually evaluating it in its entirety unfair and unreasonable use of our copyright material. While the reader may disagree with our claim, we believe the unbiased perspective of a court will agree there has been a violation of our copyright and for this reason we will be pursuing an attorney and proceeding with our complaint.”

The DMCA claim worked for a while, but Sterling eventually won and the video came back online.

These videos, tweets and posts culminated in a July 2015 conversation on Skype between Digital Homicide developer Robert Romine and Sterling that’s equal parts awkward and contentious.

Romine viewed Sterling’s video as an attack, while Sterling viewed it as criticism. Neither ever saw eye-to-eye. At one point, Romine mused on the idea of someone eventually suing Sterling.

“One day,” he said, “you’re gonna have enough subscribers, you’re gonna make enough money on your Patreon thing and somebody’s gonna get tired of your shit and they’re gonna sue you. I’m not saying we are, I’m saying somebody’s gonna have the money to do it and they’re going to win.”

Turns out that “somebody” was Romine himself, eight months later.

The lawsuit claims nine counts of “libel per se”.

Libel per se, according to, is “broadcast or written publication of a false statement about another which accuses him/her of a crime, immoral acts, inability to perform his/her profession, having a loathsome disease (like syphilis) or dishonesty in business”. In other words, lies.

In the lawsuit, Digital Homicide makes the following allegations:

In an article titled “Digital Homicide And The Case Of The Sockpuppet Developers,” Sterling remarked that another Digital Homicide game, Galactic Hitman, had artwork taken from elsewhere. Specifically, it may have been lifted from an artist on DeviantArt. Sterling later edited the piece to say it “may” have been purchased from Shutterstock, an online repository of media.

In the lawsuit, Digital Homicide presented a July 2015 receipt for a Shutterstock subscription.


Somebody’s gonna get tired of your shit and they’re gonna sue you.


  • As Sterling dug into other companies Digital Homicide was connected to, he discovered that the people behind the studio had also started a company called ECC Games, which seemed to take its name from a different game publisher in Poland. Digital Homicide points to a line in Sterling’s article where he argued it could lead to “potential legal trouble for folks who rebranded and accidentally defamed a completely different studio”. In the piece, Sterling spoke with the Polish publisher, who said it had “already taken legal actions”.
  • Digital Homicide then cites a line in which Sterling states that “apparently you don’t need to prove your company’s legitimacy or even existence, since it’s all based on usernames”. This references Digital Homicide publishing games under a different name, which Sterling perceived as disingenuous to players. Digital Homicide alleges that someone named Jim Stanton publishing videos under the name ‘Jim Sterling’ is no different. “[Sterling] makes the above statement in a negative way to make it seem to his audience that normal business practice is somehow being abused,” they argue.
  • When Sterling pointed out how the Polish ECC Games’ Twitter feed hadn’t referenced games published by the American ECC Games, Digital Homicide perceived this as “posted to purposely cause controversy, damage, and portray [Digital Homicide] as having done something illegal”. (It seems more likely Sterling was trying to bolster his theory that ECC Games was hiding its identity.)
A screen shot from Galactic Hitman, one of the games Sterling has criticised.

A screen shot from Galactic Hitman, one of the games Sterling has criticised.

  • Digital Homicide again piggybacks on the previous libel claims connected to ECC Games, citing a line where Sterling says “chicanery may lead it into very real legal trouble”. The developer says “this statement is false as there was no attempt to impersonate another company”.
  • The developer later takes issue with Sterling referring to Digital Homicide as “being as sly as the Wet Bandits”, a reference to the bumbling thieves featured in the movie Home Alone. They took similar offence to Sterling calling them the “Romino brothers”, alleging it was a criminal reference, attempting to link the developers — brothers James and Robert Romine — to a mafia family. (So far as I can tell, there’s no prominent criminal group called the “Romino brothers”.)
  • They also reference a tweet where Sterling links to his article about the “Digital Homicide / ECC Games weirdness”.
  • Then, another mention of the ECC Games incident. When Sterling tweeted about the legal action apparently being taken by the Polish developer, he joked there was “not enough popcorn on Earth”. Digital Homicide writes that this was another false statement about their intentions, and that Sterling bringing up these incidents was meant to court controversy to drive views. They also claim to have been unfairly targeted compared to “most of the triple A multi-million dollar game companies”.
  • Finally, the lawsuit discusses another tweet by Sterling, where he explains how the two ECC studios are not connected. Though it appears to be clarifying what’s going on, Digital Homicide wrote that this was a disingenuous reaction made to “seem as if [Sterling] has discovered something – when in fact not enough research has been performed and no attempt to contact [Digital Homicide] has been made”.

Digital Homicide says they view all of these incidents negatively, arguing “[Sterling will] post his material, the viewers see it and immediately form a riot/witch hunt where they go and attack the particular products page”.

The confusing punctuation is straight from the court document, by the way. As the developer is representing themselves, it might explain some of the sloppiness and unclear statements. This haphazard approach characterises much of Digital Homicide’s response since this drama began in 2014. Just last night, a reporter from another outlet contacted me about their own interaction with the studio. When that reporter asked Digital Homicide for comment about the lawsuit, the company forwarded them my email chain and told them to refer to that. In over 10 years of reporting, I’ve never seen that happen.

The developer also claims fallout with Valve over these repeated incidents with Sterling, reportedly prompting Valve to begin the process of removing all of Digital Homicide’s games from Steam:

“The Plaintiff [Digital Homicide] begged The Distributor [Steam] not to delete the Plaintiff income and that the Plaintiff would give all of the Plaintiff’s current future products on Greenlight up to avoid losing everything. The Plaintiff managed to convince The Steam Representative, Tom, that the Plaintiff had not done anything illegal and the Plaintiff was a victim of false statements. Tom Giardino accepted this sacrifice.”

Digital Homicide currently has a number of games being sold on Steam, including the aforementioned Slaughtering Grounds and Galactic Hitman.

Besides $US10.76 million in damages, Digital Homicide also wants “apologies in place of every offending article and video for a period of no less than 5 years”. They also want “an apology video in the primary youtube location on [Sterling’s] channel front for a period of no less than 5 years”.

Last year, Sterling was cited by YouTube as one of the creators it’s looking to protect while overhauling its draconian copyright policies. It’s unclear if that move will have any impact here, despite Digital Homicide resorting to DMCA takedowns. Digital Homicide’s filing does not necessarily mean the lawsuit will move forward. Sterling tweeted yesterday that he’s “in a very confident mood”.


  • Romine said he’s been in discussions with “a premium online defamation law firm as they agree we have a case and are seeking funds to acquire their services.”

    I seriously doubt he has a case here. I think the law firm are telling him what he wants to hear because they think they can rack up some billable hours out of it.

    • You forget that this is America. Having a case or not having a case is a secondary question. The main question is can you put together a superficial complaint and posture enough to (a) convince a jury; or (b) convince the other side that you could potentially convince a jury.

      • Being ‘Murica, all Sterling has to do is point to the First Amendment and present all of this as freedom of speech. He’s entitled to his opinion, and entitled to voice it under that Amendment.

        What Digital Homicide has to prove is that it was intentionally harmful and vindictive, or something like that, and taking it out of First Amendment territory.

        They arent going to be doing that representing themselves, no matter what some biased lawyer tells them.

        Not sure they are ever going to get the bling together they need to make this stick, and I’m fairly sure bigger groups will get involved if it gets to that point. Which could happen, you might find this ending up something like News Ltd v EFF, cases have a habit of doing that in the US system as the fight for groundbreaking results gets to the bigger courts.

        • I thought First Amendment only applies to preventing using governmental powers/resources against free speech and doesn’t apply when between private entities and on publicly accessible but privately owned platform.

          Digital Homicide still has to prove is that it was intentionally harmful and vindictive (and false since they are suing for slander) but Jim’s side can’t use the First Amendment as an ironclad defence.

          • Thats the basis, but the First Amendment goes way beyond that. Obviously this is only the short version, but it basically lets you speak your mind, and not get sued for slander, and so forth. The Govt cant stop you from voicing your beliefs, which has twisted and turned to the point we’re at today.

            Think Martin Luther King’s speech, or any fringe religion people may not agree with. You may not like what they say, but they have the right to say it regardless. Proving against the First Amendment has proven to be quite difficult.

            Its been through the courts numerous times, and in the end moves way past that original Govt powers ideal. Obviously in 1791, they wouldnt have had online blogs in mind when they penciled it, but court cases over the years show how serious the First Amendment is in the US.

          • Pretty sure if he’s making money out of it, then he won’t be covered.

            Otherwise every company in the US would be engaged in continual direct libel and slander against competitors.

          • Of course he’ll be covered. Outside of hate speech inciting, the First Amendment isn’t conditional. If it was, you could sue newspapers any time you disliked what they reported, because they’re for-profit institutions. I mean, you CAN still sue them, because in the U.S. you can sue for basically anything, but you’ll also be laughed out of court.

            The ONLY way they could possibly make it stick is if they proved that Sterling was intentionally and explicitly lying about them in order to damage their reputation. Libel and slander laws would then apply. But that will be damn near impossible, since he’s A.) part of the press, which is a protected class under the U.S. Constitution, and B.) very clearly giving his opinion in his capacity as a critic.

            So, basically, they’re going to be facing the “laughed out of court” scenario, is what I’m trying to say here.

          • He is covered, unless he’s lying. The reason that companies don’t engage in this continuously is that is can be a very expensive process, it can be thrown out with prejudice (You can’t try again later), and the judge can even issue punitive damages against the plaintive if they abuse it.

          • He’s covered by the idea that he is producing critique and also that he is producing parody. He has been pretty diligent in making sure that he says only things that are opinion instead of accusation, and when he has gone over the line, he has always posted another video retracting what he has said. Also, Digital Homicide have admitted to him in writing that they are not legitimate developers. They slap together as minimal a product as possible, make a few bucks and then have the next one ready to go.

            This whole case rests on the idea that their livelihoods as legitimate content creators are being illegally hurt by his coverage, but they’ve made it clear that their livelihoods are based on fleecing unsuspecting customers.

            He’s fine. It probably won’t even get to court.

          • In a perfect world with a perfect system perhaps….

            There have been some fairly ludicrous cases that have gone to court in the US and been successful.

            Would it really be that hard to create a negative narrative from Jims own work? I think not.

          • @namiwakiru Too many inline replies, so I can’t answer you directly.

            You’d be totally correct if not for the fact that they are representing themselves and have served the court with papers riddled with spelling and grammar errors that don’t adequately state their case. These guys are hilariously inept.

  • Jim is pretty much protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution

    • Unless he’s found to have “broadcast or written publication of a false statement about another which accuses him/her of a crime, immoral acts, inability to perform his/her profession, having a loathsome disease (like syphilis) or dishonesty in business”

      Freedom of speech doesn’t apply to everything, and “false statements of fact” are one of the exceptions.

      • The best part of it is, he doesn’t need to broadcast anything fake or libellous about Digital Homicide, their lack of work ethic, lack of effort and utter disregard for real games development has led them to this situation. It’s all right there in the packages they put out…

        • Its a battle of the cretins. Hateful online scumbag vs inept (possibly corrupt) indie dev. Anyone who just tries to savagely tear others down, makes money off it and has zero creative input in their chosen field makes me ill and on the other hand devs (or anyone) that seem to spend more effort and $ on spamming the legal system and back n forth bitch sessions than their chosen craft should A: harden the fk up and B: Get gud n prove him wrong by putting out quality products. Shame the courts cant punish em both for being unrepentant arseholes n just drop em both in a rancor pit undet the courthouse.

          • The difference there of course is that Jim Sterling isn’t costing anyone money or conning them out of anything. These guys are, even if its only a few bucks. Cretins maybe, online bullying sure to some degree, but they do deserve to be called out on their bullshit in every instance.

          • Hateful online scumbag is a bit much.

            Sterling does plenty of positive coverage and gives pretty fair and even-handed criticism. He even goes to the trouble of giving actual advice on how to improve on a lot of his negative videos. He also does podcasts and a whole bunch of other stuff. You may not like the guy, but he’s a legit part of the online landscape.

      • however, when it isn’t a false statement, when it is simply a regular old statement denouncing DH over immoral acts (frivolous DMCA takedowns) and dishonesty in business (Shell companies named to mask the origin of a product thus allowing free reign on steam) among others, then there probably isn’t much of a case.

        Jim hasn’t exclusively been targeting DH, though they are used as the prime example of everything wrong with greenlight, I’m sure if they were to stop being the best, most clear example of all the way developers abused greenlight then a future video would likely not be using them as the yardstick.

        • Correct, I’m not suggesting otherwise. He’s free to say whatever he wants if those statements can be proved to be true. Which is what the whole court case will be about. Statements are true? Free speech applies. Statements are false / libellous? Free speech doesn’t apply.

          • Speaking as an American, I want to clarify this.

            The US actually has among the highest burdens of proof for libel in the world. A statement being false is enough to be libel in many other countries, but that is NOT ENOUGH to rise to the level of libel in the United States.

            Rather, the petitioner needs to prove that the statement was KNOWINGLY FALSE or both false and wildly reckless; were statements of fact rather than opinion; and which caused people to believe those statements and caused actual damages. (Yes, there is actually Supreme Court precedent where a lie about somebody having sex with their mother in an outhouse was not libelous because it was too ridiculous to be believed.)

            If that sounds like a tough hill to climb, it’s because it is. It’s very hard to win a libel case in the United States, which Digital Homicide is about to find out. I am not a lawyer, but looking at their list of complaints, the only one I think even MIGHT rise to the level of libel in the United States is the first: His statement that they ripped off assets from somebody else. Even then, I suspect “I believed it to be true when I wrote it and when doubt arose I amended my statement” will be enough of a defense.

            This case isn’t going anywhere.

          • Yeah? Well…. I’m Australian mate… so…………

            I’ve really got no point to make there, I was just sort of throwing my hat into the ring. Have a good one!

          • Except the first statement about ripping off assets and selling as their own work is actually “true”

            Every asset flip has been documented and noted on all of Jim’s videos. So they can’t even use that either

          • Fairly sure the bar is lower and Sterling merely has to believe his statements were true. It’s a fuzzy line that varies state to state (willing to bet that Arizona is stricter).

          • My interpretation (not a lawyer) would be that “actual malice” queries would apply in the case of punitive damages but not necessarily to the direct product damage, or emotional, reputational, and financial distress requests.

      • I think I the US you can sue for slander and personally/financial distress. Here in Australia/New Zealand they would laugh you out of caught (so AU/NZ is the BEST place for trolls!)

        • Here in the U.S. they can sue for that… but they’ll also probably be laughed out of court. Freedom of the press is specifically protected in the U.S. Constitution, and as a long-time journalist and professional game critic Sterling definitely qualifies as press. Even if he wasn’t and was simply a private citizen, it would be very hard indeed for them to prove that Sterling was engaged in libel or slander.

        • I think you’ll find it’s much easier to win a defamation suit in Australia than in the US, our country’s libel laws are much more weighted in favour of the plaintiff in these cases

          For a recent example look at how Joe Hockey successfully sued Fairfaxover a newspaper headline because even though the related article did not slander or mislead, the headline could be taken out of context!

  • His last name isn’t even Sterling? What a Paul Giamatti this guy is. Bloody outrage.

    • The article got his name wrong too: it’s ‘Jim Fucking Sterling Son’ (as christened by Digital Homicide).

  • Isnt that the same people that made death threats against Sterling ?

    Also their abuse of DMCA takedowns to silence critics will just show they dont understand the laws… of which they are going to try and defend themselves. This will be fun.

    • also the same group that banned negative opinions on the games steam forums. they are shadier than ubisoft, activision and ea and bethesda put together

  • Reviews are really necessary with so many games coming out now, but reviewers should also not just shit all over games that may not deserve it, a lot of people’s work, lives and income depend on there at least being a fair review of their game done.

    • Yeah but the games came out, he reviewed them fairly, then DH decided to pick a fight with him, if you go through the entire history of it, Sterling wasn’t the one to start it all. Though he probably hasn’t acted in the best manner since, the dev could’ve brushed it off and said ‘eh whatever’ but instead chose to go an absolutely stupid route about it with threats, takedown notices etc.

      • Jim has been baiting these guys relentlessly. For me it became uncomfortable when he did his teleconference with the guy from Digital Homicide. Clearly the DH guy was of a ‘modest’ intelligence. Jim was basically toying with him during the whole interview. When you have such a disparity in both IQ and ability to articulate it becomes rather cringe-worthy and painful to listen to. I don’t have much sympathy for DH, but I think Jim has gone beyond fair criticism into taunting DH with their own failures.

        • But that interview was initiated by dh in an attempt to skewer sterling, with a weird tag team effort. Any blowback was clearly a risk they were willing to take.

          They’re representing themselves again in this lawsuit, and sterling will not be that stupid.

          • Oh yeah, I totally agree that DH were stupid in the extreme in how they’ve been conducting themselves, but Jim is so far above them intellectually there was no real challenge for him in belittling them. He could have swatted them like a fly, but instead he started pulling their wings off and got out his magnifying glass to burn them.

            Agree with you about representation. Any decent lawyer will run rings around unrepresented litigants in terms of organising and presenting a case in court.

          • Digital Homicide are scum. I’m serious, they are genuinely bad people. They deserve every humiliation Jim and anyone else can heap on them, and the best thing is they bring it all upon themselves. They are the worst developer in the entire world that isn’t actually making race-hate propaganda games, and I have not even the slightest trace of sympathy for them. Assuming something typical American doesn’t happen and they end up somehow WINNING their stupid fucking baseless insane case against Sterling, I look forward to seeing them annihilated and their garbage “work” destroyed forever.

          • I agree with you, neither party appears to be acting nobly in this case, but clearly Jim is much smarter than the DH bloke. I think you’re right that he’s now deliberately fucking with them, and it feels like a bit of a mismatch. Just because the midget challenged you to a fight doesn’t make it right to break his arm. I don’t think they have much of a case from the sound of it, and I don’t think they should either. I also think Jim is a loudmouth fuckhead and I don’t understand his appeal, so I’m a bit torn on this one haha.

          • But when that same midget tries to milk you for 11 million dollarydoos, you break his arm clean off then beat him senseless with said arm.

    • Sadly the reviews are pretty fair, it is ok to review a bad game and call it bad. One of the major issues is that between Digital Homicide, ECC and a few other names (all the same people mind you) they have been churning out half assed efforts to milk money from the steam greenlight system.
      A lot of people’s work lives and income dedicated to putting out 1 good, polished title with an original idea or 2 should get a fair review that errs toward understanding. What DH is doing however, is not that.

      • I think it was 10 games in 2 years or something. One of those games was about a giant ballbag that just kind of rolled around a map bought wholesale from the online store.

    • From the reviews I’ve seen of their games, these ones totally deserve it. Little (if any) content generation – just free/prefab assets cobbled together into whatever they think will qualify them to call it a ‘game’. Really, really awful stuff. The most fair reviews possible will most likely actively harm their income.

    • This. Too many bottom shelf “journalists” that just crap all over someones hard work.

      Just say that its not good. Do not rip their gizzards out and then expect you’re in the right, because you are thinking your doing a service to others.

      • But dh aren’t a struggling company of artists honing their craft, they are exploiting the system to sell cheap prefab assets at a profit by cobbling them into a “game”. They have no goals beyond that.

        They are actively hurting the whole indiestry, their games are disrespectfully bad, and they need to be stopped.

        • But its not the way to go about it, both parties can be at fault. No one is doing anything at all good.

          Sterling needs to chill out and be a bit more objective than baiting as it makes him look less the reputable.

          If he took a different route about it i would side with him, but all i see is a guy acting like someone on redditor trying to uncover anything dirty at any cost.

      • You mentioned something important that’s missing here- “hard work”.

        Digital Homicide shit out crappy repackaged store assets as “games” that could be made in less than an hour. They don’t DO any “hard work”. They’re frauds, cheats, thieves, and shysters and then they get aggressive when called out on their bullshit. Sterling is 100% in the right to “rip their gizzards out” because they are the worst so-called “developers” in the entire world that aren’t actually making race-hate propaganda games.

      • I agree with you in principle, but how it started was with a simple “this game is no good, bugs, asset mashup, no real point” Then it was escalated by DH when between working to have negative steam comments/reviews removed, incentivising good feedback with free products and a frivolous DMCA takedown of the review video in question, it exploded into the current shit show that it is.

        I agree that a review should be unbiased, and indeed the initial review was just that, not influenced by the aforementioned shit show that it would later become. However a great many of the articles, posts and videos haven’t been dealing with their products, they have been dealing with their practices.

        If you put out a product to the public and then ask people to pay for it, any reviewer would be doing a service to the public by letting them know the truth about a game, good and bad, but if a product is indeed bad from one end to the other then they shouldn’t be obligated to conjure up imaginative positives simply to balance the good and the bad.

      • Too many [not enough] bottom shelf [occasionally sensationalist but very much justifiably angry and on point] “journalists” [journalists minus the sarcastic quotation marks, regardless of personal taste Jim Sterling acts as a critic of problems surrounding games and a critic that dishes out both praise and criticism when both are deemed due] that just crap all over someones hard work [that wasn’t actually made by the so-called devs and was rather a collection of pre-made and assets intended to form the basis of an actual game resold as a new game].

        Sterling only ripped their gizzards out after he found out that some of their games were almost completely unaltered prefabricated games intended to form a basis for modification into something new (which Digital Homicide didn’t, or almost completely failed to, do before selling someone else’s work as their own) and the rest were games that basically didn’t work at all. They may not deserve to literally get shit in their letterbox (not that Jim Sterling himself can be blamed for the actions of an immature fan of his) but they certainly deserve the criticism he dished out.

  • Never been a real fan of this ‘Celebrity’ stuff in games media, it’s always going to attract the worst sort of fans at some point. But that’s on purpose.

    Similar stuff happening in superhero movie fandom right now. There’s mercenaries on social media with legions of fans who only want “scoops” on not yet released films. These people call themselves reporters and journalists but they only want to use the ‘hype’ factor (other people’s fervour and excitement) to make a buck. I think James Gunn was the last to call that practise for what it is.

    Sterling/others like him are in the business of crowd-sourcing bullying mobs, I’m not saying all of his targets are completely innocent at all times, but bloody hell. Ask yourselves, is this what we want from entertainment reporting?

    “I look after you, the consumer” my arse.

    • I agree that he has structured his content and on-screen persona to a certain section of the market. It’s his schtick, as they say. Much like certain comedians have a rather harsh or aggressive persona (and Jim is inspired a lot by comedy) Jim has used derogatory language as a part of his routine. I personally like it, but I think that with DH he has let it become personal and has become like a comedian going after a heckler – it’s ugly to watch and makes you cringe a bit. Jim should not, in my view, engaged with DH directly and should have restricted his commentary to the work he was criticising. I feel he’s crossed the line and now he risks being made to pay.

      • He himself has said that he will stop talking about the dodgy practices of DH et al. when they stop with their dodgy practices. DH then continues with said dodgy practices and even lashes out at the people spotlighting them for what they are doing. DH could have dropped this anytime, but they are the ones that keep escalating it with takedown attempts, gotcha interviews and now a lawsuit.

        • I have a lot of sympathy for Jim. It is frustrating when someone so stupid keeps on having a go at you. It’s like having a small boy come up and throw punch after punch at you, while you effortlessly hold him at bay with a hand on his head. I just worry that Jim has slipped up and taken things a bit too far with his comments. Most of the stuff in the suit is rubbish, but you know how the axiom goes about flinging mud… Jim has given DH a lot of mud.

  • It’s interesting in that I think they may possibly (doubtful but maybe) have something of a case, and if they don’t, then maybe they should.

    Nono, hear me out… they’re utter ass-hats, it’s true. Their repeated abuse of DMCA is inexcusable and unconscionable. They’re charlatans who appear to have cobbled together ‘free’ assets, virtually unmodified, without bothering with anything hard like ‘content generation’, and released these excuses for games onto an unsuspecting public. And it is absolutely a good thing that their games be reviewed to adequately inform buyers about the dross they may be exposed to.

    But… singling them out as a developer to have every game reviewed because they’re an easy target? That’s starting to feel like harassment. Doing something negative but otherwise innocuous, repeatedly and exclusively toward one target… does actually fit many definitions of harassment.

    If, as a boss, for example, you excessively performance review one employee more than the others because you know those reviews will be bad, and allow it to be made very clear to others that they’re being reviewed (eg: by how many times you visibly interrupt what they’re doing to ask them to come into your office), that can actually be found to be a form of harassment.

    These guys might deserve their negative reviews, with not an untrue word being said ever… but the fact that they’re being targeted excessively might be worth looking at. I think the free speech considerations of the US probably protect this kind of harassment, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some limitations there, to protect against abuse.

    Also, if you find out your fans are using, there should probably be some unwritten, moral obligation to perhaps ask your fans to tone it down a bit.

    • Jim’s generally acted professionally towards these guys. If they release a game into the public domain they can’t complain when he reviews it. My concern is more about what he’s said in the content of those reviews and in other opinion pieces he’s done. He’s said a lot of derogatory stuff. Some of it (much of it) walks the line between defamation and opinion. He’s certainly implied that these guys are idiots and incompetent. For defamation per se they don’t apparently need to prove damage. That’s what worries me.

      Also… is a thing!?

  • So we should reward mediocrity? If these developers can not make a proper game then they should get out of the market. I have no issue with how Sterling has acted. his original video pointed out the flaws of a terribly awful game – only when they fired back with blatant abuse (with ‘Jim fucking sterling son’, the now famous phrase DH coined) did things go down hill to where we are today. From my persective, they should have taken the criticism on the chin and learnt from it, instead of trying to silence genuine criticism. I wish good luck too Jim, cant wait to see how this unfolds!

    • I don’t know. It’s funny how in school – reviews and other pieces of writing aren’t supposed to have loads of swearing, insults or generalisations in them but we handily and readily call and accept pieces of writing or literature full of this and almost nothing else “reviews” because it’s percieved as “fair” from an uneducated perspective doesn’t seem entirely right. It’s almost as if this is just based on people liking to shit on things and pretend it’s genuine criticism. It’s not, it’s a youtube video with Jim’s unique perspective, critique has form to support and inform its perspective; legitimacy isn’t just based on how much you agree with the assessment. I think Jim will win and would prefer him to but the amount of people claiming a series of hilarious insults (which i watch regularly and enjoy) amounts to “genuine criticism” is laughable. If that’s the case then everyone should just be awarded a lit degree right now. The suit is stupid and many people just shit on stuff as a part of their schtick (h3h3) but few claim legitimate critique.

      • You know why swear words are used and not other stuff. It is because swear words can’t are harder to use to prove libel and slander. That is why Penn and Teller use lots of swear words in their Bull Shit episodes.

      • I hear what your saying, but what Jim does is not binded by the ethical rules and regulations of a school environment. He can swear as much as he likes, just as you can choose not to listen to his work.

        In addition, i dont know if you realise or not, but many people (myself included) are not happy with the truckloads of trash called games inundating Steam and buring the small amount of good games that are on there by pushing good games down further away from the all important steam shop list. Ideally people would test their games before posting them on steam, but this is sadly not going to happen. If Valve had an evaluation process, perhaps this would not be an issue, but the fact is they let anyone post anything on their service, so its left up to people like Jim (who take it upon himself) to inform us, the consumer, about whats available out there. So for me, i dont want to just ‘shit on things’ at all, i want transparency, and accountability from games developers & im happy to call it out when i see it.

        Lastly i dont think Jim has ever argued that his criticism is anything but his opinion – and those wanting to pick a fight over the definition of this term are just straw manning the issue.

        In my opinion this developer deserves to be shat on, they have displayed a serious lack of what it takes to make a good game. If he is so concerned about his livelihood perhaps he should stop making games and do as all a favor by changing career and getting out of the games industry.

  • Counter sue them with a class action for anyone who bought their crappy games and for mental trauma for anyone who actually played them.

  • The judge and jury should be asked to play the games as evidence… that will end the casr quickly.

  • So the worst, most retarded developers (and I use the term so loosely you could stretch it between two trees and use it as a hammock) on Earth are finally taking on the man who has run rings around them and shown them for the cheap, lazy, fraudulent, dirty, dishonest charlatans they are.

    This’ll be good. Unless America happens and they manage to WIN.

  • Since they are representing themselves i can only imagine that no lawyers wanted to take their case, which is a pretty big red flag, but these guys seem to be completely delusional.

    • If there’s money in it (and sometimes even when there isn’t), there’s always going to be a lawyer who will take the case. That said, I don’t think there’s going to be too much publicity in this one.

  • Jim is protected by Youtube. They’ll go to fight for Jim’s right to say whatever he wants.

  • I always wondered whether these Digital Homicide guys were legitimate trolls and charlatans or if they just had delusions of adequacy. I think the evidence is now pointing towards the latter.

  • If they don’t want bad reviews maybe they should stop making AWFUL games. They can sue me too for saying that.

  • Surely there’s more of a case for libel from the videos they made insulting Jim “F-bomb” Stirling, Son.

    I would love to be a fly on the courtroom wall when they are presented as evidence.

    • I can’t remember offhand if any of the videos feature the purple dildo but if so, I too would join you on the wall

      • Ah yes, the famous bat sized dildo. I am fairly sure that at least one video in this case features it. Jim will probably bring it into the courtroom for his victory pose

  • Love or hate his style, gamers cant really complain that Jim Sterling doesnt do brilliant things for the gaming industry, One of the few who want to hold such questionable devs/publishers to account. I find it laughable that anyone could possible want (or think) gamers would give money to such a woeful games *ah hem* developer as oppose to Jim.

  • Isn’t Jim still part of Maker Studios? A lawsuit against Disney, good luck with that.

  • Not these chucklefucks again. I swear, they should be forced to disband and never ATTEMPT to create a shitty game again.

  • Been seeing this unfold as it happens for years now. I am totally on Jim’s side. He hasn’t done anything more than hold a trash dev/con artist accountable (like many others) for the trash that litters Steam to PC Gamings detriment.
    The guys should be shunned and Jim has not only been very fair but when Digital Homicide went after him out of spite Jim still kept his shit together and was fair.

  • Both parties are being kinda silly. But I think it’s clear the journalist has an online rep to ‘uphold’ and an agenda. IMO the media, even the lowly indie media like to hide behind free speech so they can spew whatever toxic bullshit they want. Anyone who gets in the way is collateral damage and simply has to endure the damage caused regardless of how ethically dubious the ‘story’ might be. It’s awfully punk to just go fuck everything and rant stream of consciousness thoughts but there are real world consequences for the developer and almost none for the journalism whom modern society deems beyond reproach because ‘free speech reasons’. The same thing occurs in tabloid journalism and left/right extremist editorials. And it’s grubby bottom of the barrel stuff.

  • well these guys dont have a lawyer and jim sterling is part of the polaris group/maker tv/disney

    first rule of lawsuits do not screw with the mouse. they will end up with the rights to your first born who will be sacrificed to keep walt disney’s frozen corpse alive

  • Isn’t that the trick LBJ used, when he spread a rumour that an opponent had sex with his pigs? It was absurd and unbelievable, so LBJ couldn’t be sued, but it also had to be denied, meaning that all the people who hadn’t heard the rumour had to wonder ‘why did that guy have to deny he has sex with pigs? What has he been doing with pigs?”

    It looks like they’re pushing for recklessness, with the ‘JS didn’t do his research’ claims, but not contacting DH doesn’t count as not doing research – he looked elsewhere and decided not to trust a group who he has no reason to trust, which is fair enough.

  • So how do they come to the $10million? They could maybe at best sure for a few $1000 if they are lucky. These are games they make no one actually buys other then out of curiosity of how awful the game they make really are.

    • Because ‘murica. Damages aren’t calculated like they are here when it’s based on potential loss.

  • Holy crap. So this is the big thing I heard was brewing. In a recent podcast, (Podquisition #70: Real Oddworld Farts) he said there was a big thing that had happened that he was not at liberty to talk about on the podcast, but that it was probably on NeoGaf already. Well, I guess the full story’s out now.

    Digital Homicide are freaking mental. I would recommend watching the interview between them embedded in the page, it is some of the funniest shit I’ve ever heard.

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