When we last saw the game studio Digital Homicide, they were suing game critic Jim Sterling for $US10 million ($13 million), charging him with libel and slander for harshly criticising their games. Now they're pursuing legal action against 100 anonymous Steam users, calling them a "hate and harassment group" in recent court filings. A screenshot from Digital Homicide's video game The Slaughtering Grounds
In a new lawsuit filed in Arizona earlier this week, Digital Homicide co-founder James Romine asks for around $US18 million ($24 million) from 100 anonymous Steam users with handles like Demonsword and Nathos. The suit, which also asks the court to subpoena Valve for the identities of these 100 Steam users, lays out a large list of allegations against them: Stalking, harassment, criminal impersonation, tortious interference and so on. Also: Being mean.
Digital Homicide, the developer behind a number of poorly received Steam games including Dungeons of Kragmor and Krog Wars, has become better known for its litigation than for its products. The studio made headlines earlier this year when they sued Sterling, who had published several articles and videos slamming their games. That lawsuit is still ongoing.
In this week's lawsuit, Romine and his company point to a Steam group that was seemingly created to monitor Digital Homicide's actions. The group accuses Digital Homicide of spamming Steam Greenlight, among other things. The 100 defendants named in the lawsuit are mostly members of this group.
"Plaintiff is informed and believes and thereon alleges that, at all times herein mentioned, each of the defendants sued herein was during listed events and/or currently is a member of an organised hate and harassment group or assisted said hate and harassment group that specifically formed on [Steam] to financially destroy and harass The Plaintiff and other targeted developers," the lawsuit says. "This hate and harassment group, Digital Homicides Poop Games, was created from the name of The Plaintiff's company Digital Homicide Studios LLC."
Said Steam group is apparently now called Digital Homicides instead of Poop Games. The group's description characterises it as a "a dedicated consumer-advocacy group and censorship safe haven" that focuses on Steam and Steam Greenlight. Here is a selection of posts from their members, as exhibited in court filings:
The full lawsuit is long and meandering, digging deep into specific posts made by members of this Steam group. It puts a spotlight on 10 of the users, accusing them of spamming comments, making false accusations and posting negative reviews "to cause financial damage and emotional and mental anguish".
You can read it all here: