Jim Sterling, once reviews editor for Destructoid turned Youtube superstar, is being taken to court by indie developer Digital Homicide for libel. The suit is seeking up to $10 million in damages from Sterling for comments he’s made over the last year concerning Digital Homicide’s reputation and business practices. The feud between the two started when Sterling played through some of Digital Homicide’s The Slaughtering Ground, which he most certainly did not enjoy. Digital Homicide released a review of his review, and ever since then it’s been one big slap fight.
Over the last year, Sterling has claimed that Digital Homicide has been involved in greenlight vote-rigging, initially accused them of lifting artwork from DeviantArt – later corrected to Shutterstock (which court filings show a receipt for use) – and that Digital Homicide infringed upon ECC Game’s brand name by using it to publish games to Steam Greenlight under. The latter of these accusations came about after Sterling was contacted by the supposed actual ECC Games, who explained that the titles attributed to them on Steam are in fact not games they’ve developed. You can check out Sterling’s article about all of this here.
Also cited in court documents is an instance in which Jim Sterling compared the Romine brothers (sole proprietors and developers at Digital Homicide) to the Wet Bandits, which is then followed by a description on who and what the Wet Bandits are, and that’s maybe my favorite thing about all of this.
Digital Homicide refutes Sterling’s claims in court filings, stating that they were “posted to purposely cause controversy, damage, and portray [Digital Homicide] as having done something illegal,” and that there was “no attempt to impersonate another company.” The developer also feels that they are being targeted unfairly compared to AAA developers. In addition to the sought after $10 million in damages, Digital Homicide wants apologies posted within each of Sterling’s articles and videos concerning the developer for a period of no less than 5 years, and for an apology video to be featured prominently on the front of his youtube channel for 5 years.
In the end, the validity of Jim Sterling’s accusations is something to be determined in court. While he does state in his article about Digital Homicide that he “cannot present everything in this article as verified fact,” his points come off as very stern and accusatory. It’s up to Digital Homicide to prove that the accusations leveled at them by Sterling are false, have impacted their bottom line, and sullied their reputation.
All the information pulled for this article comes from the previously linked articles and videos published by Jim Sterling, and court documentation which has been made available online, which you can read here and here.