Epic Games Addresses Developer Harassment With Open Letter - Prima Games

Epic Games Addresses Developer Harassment With Open Letter

by Liana Ruppert

The Epic Games Store has been a point of contention since it launched. For some, it’s a matter of perceived privacy violations whereas for others, they find it too difficult to download another free-to-use platform as an avenue for games. With the Epic Games Store taking care of developers in a way that Steam has failed to do through the years, it’s become a phenomenal resource for many devs – indie studios included. The ration of revenue allows freedom for more content and dissuades fear of failure, but that fair industry offer isn’t enough for many gamers. 

When Glumberland, the name behind Ooblets, started to receive literal death threats, which is never OK, in addition to harmful photoshop jobs in the name of libel over the decision to host Ooblets over on the Epic Games Store, the mega-company behind the PC gaming client finally stepped in: 

We at Epic Games have often shared our views about the game business and companies in it, and we support the entire game community’s right to speak freely and critically about these topics, including the topic of Epic, our products, and our store. When everyone shares their earnest views, the best ideas ultimately prevail.

The announcement of Ooblets highlighted a disturbing trend which is growing and undermining healthy public discourse, and that’s the coordinated and deliberate creation and promotion of false information, including fake screenshots, videos, and technical analysis, accompanied by harassment of partners, promotion of hateful themes, and intimidation of those with opposing views.

Epic is working together with many game developers and other partners to build what we believe will be a healthier and more competitive multi-store world for the future. We remain fully committed, and we will steadfastly support our partners throughout these challenges. Many thanks to all of you that continue to promote and advocate for healthy, truthful discussion about the games business and stand up to all manners of abuse.

Following Epic’s statement, the studio’s own Ben Wasser weighed in on a blog post on Medium to talk about the violent nature of the industry and the bigotry him and his family has received. “As new users streamed into our Discord — hurling insults, accusations, and demanding satisfaction over a game they’d never heard of — our community, with me leading the tone, wasn’t very welcoming to their behavior,” the developer detailed. “I very foolishly engaged with these people, sometimes just answering them, sometimes making jokes, and often saying things in exasperation. It was obviously a mistake to engage in that way. I unintentionally threw a lot of fuel on the fire because my messages were screenshotted without any of that context (and sometimes specifically rearranged to change the context or outrightly fabricated) and shared back amongst where the hate mobs were mobilizing.”

You can read the rest of his statement here, though it is important to note that this is not just limited to this one store. Every Epic Games announcement has been met with dated arguments, a cry of a lack of features (which they have already revealed are on the way with a detailed road map), and yes – even death threats. Though there are absolutely valid concerns over any sort of monopoly and privacy issues should always be addressed, those few critiques that are respectful and productive are lost in a sea of hate and trolls. 

Liana Ruppert

With an arguably unhealthy obsession with Dragon Age and Mass Effect, Liana is wildly passionate about all things in the gaming community. From shooters, to RPGs, if it's out - she's playing it. A medically retired US Sailor and now full-time hoarder of gaming collectibles, Liana's passion for everything in the gaming industry is palpable. Also, if you lose her in a crowd, just casually mention any BioWare game and the crazy pterodactyl screech will without a doubt follow. You can follow her on Twitter @DirtyEffinHippy or email her for editorial inquiries at [email protected]!